Last Day at Oshkosh – loud stuff leaving!

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The last day of work, which was today, was up in the tower and not very eventful.  So we walked down next to the runway and filmed some of the departures.  It’s always a rush to stand out there and wonder how many ear cells I’m killing with the loudness taxiing by.

We decided, after I quit filming, that the loud jet that took off was an EA-6.  They can land and take off of a carrier.  So that’s cool.

Here ya go. As usual, no charge:



The SeaPlane Base

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They’re a wacky, crazy bunch over there at the privately operated seaplane base.  I took a little bit of video, but there weren’t many airplanes flying, so it is, as usual, riveting video.

Three entire minutes of your life. Is it worth it?

Planes Flying Around at FLD

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At Fond Du Lac airport, about 15 miles south of Oshkosh.  Lots of times, pilots don’t want to fight the volume of traffic that comes in and out of Oshkosh, so they just go to this field.  There is a shuttle bus that runs back and forth to the airshow, and they can camp here as well.

One of the cool things that happens at FLD (Fond Du Lac) is that 2 P-51 Mustangs and 1 T-6 give rides all day.  The P-51 rides cost $1400 dollars for about 10-15 minutes.  Yes, that’s american money!  We didn’t go, but I took some video of them doing their typical fly-by and overhead maneuver back to land.  There’s a UH-60 Blackhawk that took off, too.  You can hear the controllers on my team talking back and forth with each other and with pilots, too.

We worked at FLD until the end of our shift at 9, then we went to a mexican place for dinner – hottest monster burrito ever!

Wednesday is dollar off day at the laundromat

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But I didn’t KNOW THAT until I pulled up early yesterday morning to wash all my pink shirts and other junk.  Believe me, my day off from work was a THRILL A MINUTE!

Yeah, first, I had to choose what laundry detergent I should buy.  Liquid? Powder? Oh, no, I settled on “Tide Pods”.  They are a little dissovable bag of detergent, whitener, and something else.  Just chuck ’em in the washer and they do the job.

THEN, I had to decide whether to use the “#20 pound washers” or the #30 pound washers”.  That was no picnic, believe me.  But as I mentioned in the title, it was dollar off day, but only for the #30 pound and #80 pound washers.  I went with 2 #30’s, because those pink shirts run.

Two of us went out to the airshow and walked the grounds, visited exhibitors, bought some stuff, watched some planes fly around.  We had a group pizza party here at the hotel last night – that was fun.  Two high-level FAA guys were at the tower and the pizza party; kinda fun to talk with them a little bit.

Can’t WAIT to get back to work in a few hours!  It’s just not right to NOT be talking to airplanes.

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I finally remembered to take a few minutes of video from our two days in the tower at Oshkosh.  We worked a day out by the runway, but the ‘rule’ is no cameras out by the runway, so I don’t have any video of that.

I’m not sure that the 4 1/2 minutes of video that I took is RIVETING, but it might be cool to see what happens, what the noise level is, how many airplanes are parked on the field, that kind of stuff.

I will also say that each year they put 4 of us together for the entire week – and it always takes a few days for the group to gel and work together efficiently and to each other’s strengths.

Kind of like, back at Wichita, I’m very little help on the clearance delivery position.  Oh, I give it a good TRY, but seriously, there are lots of people on the team who are stronger at clearance than I.  So I graciously volunteer to NOT work clearance.  It’s for the good of the National Airspace Program.  I’m a giver, that’s all.  But, I digress.

Here’s the video – hope it’s fun for you.


Shoulda been busy, and the traffic count

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This morning we worked our first shift that was actually IN the tower.  Yesterday we went to the tower to get equipment to go work by the runway – at the MOOCOW, which stands for Mobile Operations Communications something-something…  probably workstation in there somewhere. I could look it up in our training book, but really, who seriously wants to know what the acronym stands for?

K, that’s what I thought.

The tower – that’s where I started.  We calculated that today should be a barnburner of a day, with TONS of campers flying in for the first airshow of the week.  It’s been great weather (a little hotter than normal), but nice and dry for both camp set up and taxiing through the grass off the runways.  We started working runways 36L and R and I got to talk right off the bat!  So that was really fun – a steady flow of airplanes to the runways, with a few military (old and new) planes in for an overhead approach to land.  They LOVE to fly the overheads, and we LOVE to watch them do it.  (even if it makes a tiny bit more work for us to make other planes follow them)

Oh, by the way, I looked at the traffic count for the day.  They (the FLM’s and OM’s add up traffic count from several sources: South LC, North LC, both MOOCOW’s, Fisk arrival, and IFR count).

The average hourly count today was around 150.  Split 4 or 5 ways, it really wasn’t that crazy.  But it adds up quickly.

I MEANT to go back up to the tower today and video just a little bit of how it looks and sounds, but I forgot.  So I’ll do that tomorrow – I already got the ok from the Ops Mgr.  I’ll just stay out of the way back in a corner, and not take TOO long of video.  It’s fascinating, and it works really well together.

No Mayhem at Fisk, but still…

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There were a few times when it almost got totally out of hand! The airplanes did a great job of lining themselves up along the railroad tracks and spacing themselves out about 1/2 mile apart.  At one point, though, the airport closed to arrivals – for no more than 20-30 minutes, and we told all the inbound airplanes to hold and wait for us to bring them in.

Once we said, “come on in”, they all got a little compressed together and excited to get to the airport.  So… at one point we had 5-6 airplanes right in a line, NOT a flight, all headed to the airport and unsortoutable.  We just said, “follow each other and monitor the tower” (while mumbling ‘good luck’ under our breath.).

It was a total rush to get to talk!  It’s just FUN to guess the aircraft type, ask them which runway they’d prefer, and unpry the airplanes that are too close together – often by giving each of them a different runway, and alternating them.

Here’s the almost 9 minutes of video from the day – from a time when I was sitting on the deck right below the communicator and several of us were using binoculars to spot the planes.

I tried, at the end of the video, to zoom in a little on one particular plane so you could see him longer, but it’s still fuzzy.  It was far enough away that the camera had a little trouble focusing.

We worked at Fisk for our 8 hour shift; lookin for planes and sortin em out, over and over. Awesome time!

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