Oshkosh-What a Goat Rodeo!

Lastly, there is the Goat Rodeo. The worst of the three, it is beyond even profanity. It describes a situation that involves many individuals’ screw ups, and implies that the fuck up is already well underway meaning that there is no hope in stopping the mess. Usually said with a defeated tone.

Source: Urban Dictionary

Yep, that about sums it up. I flew to Oshkosh. For anyone who made the trek to Oshkosh this year, you know what I mean. The weather was horrible on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The winds were gusting, it was raining and low ceilings pervaded. ATC shut down runways 9/27 so all traffic was directed to runways 36 L/R. Many people had to divert, and many never made it into Oshkosh. It was one of the most dangerous situations I’ve ever seen (well, flying into Destin, FL would have ranked up there until they finally instituted a tower there).

We had a plan. The weather forecast was bad for Saturday but forecast to be good in western WI. I was meeting a friend and his son. They weren’t instrument rated, so we decided to meet up in Prairie Du Chien, WI on Saturday, stay the night there and then ease in OSH first thing the next morning. To say this plan didn’t work out is a vast understatement!

The weather at PDC was clear but extremely gusty. I arrived early afternoon and hitched a ride to the worst Motel 6 I’ve ever seen. After eating lunch and checking on my friends, who were at that time just into MO, the weather forecast changed and VFR was not forecast until well into Sunday, but a window of VFR weather was forecast for Saturday evening at about 6PM.

After considering the depressing thought of spending the night in that dump of a hotel, I decided “the hell with it, I’ll just leave and see if I can get into OSH tonight”. Failing that, I’d just come back and spend the night.  So, I got a taxi ride to the airport (no UBER or LYFT in Prairie Du Chien!), filled up with gas and took off.

As you can see from my Flightaware track above, it wasn’t a straight shot. Lots of low hanging clouds and rain. Barely VFR and flying in the mist and scud with 1000 other people. My ADS-B screen was lit up like a Christmas tree. I had to zoom into the 2 mile view to make sense of anything. The drill to flying in to OSH is that everyone crosses RIPON intersection at 1800 ft and 90 KIAS. To say the least, it was a wasp nest at RIPON and I had to break it off and restart at RIPON 3 or 4 times before I finally got into a stable line of planes. Even as it was, I had to slow fly at 65 KIAS to avoid gaining on the Cessna ahead of me.

My friends tried getting in, but decided to spend the night at the Wautoma, WI airport (Y50). Wautoma is an excellent place to stage for OSH and is only about 30 miles west. They and about 50 other planes spent the night on the field there. Rumors abounded that pizza and beer were consumed there and all in all, it wasn’t a bad experience. They ended up getting into OSH on Sunday.

I ended up getting into OSH that Saturday evening around 6:30 just as the rain started. I was lucky. Many never got in, some flew around all day on Sunday and never got in. Some who have flown in for decades on an annual basis said it was the worst they had ever seen. I believe them.

At the end of it all, I got parked in Homebuilt Camping, got my tent up, grabbed a pre-fab ham sandwich and a bottle of lemonade for dinner and then crawled into my tent and listened to the wind and rain much of the night.