Living in Germany, I was lucky to approach the Airventure even twice. One time I even sat on the pilot’s seat of the Mooney M20E (N9303M), which gave my logbook the famous entry “KOSH”. That means much for me. In 2020 my brother in law, who now owns a Mooney Eagle (N131MA), lives quite close to KOSH, so would have been a perfect fit for me flying to Chicago and get ready to rock. As we all know, things changed this year and we didn’t hear the “rock your wings” on 120.7. And this is sadly the end of the story. Really?
Not for me. I wanted Oshkosh, I got Oshkosh. So what did I do? Staying in Germany it turns out, I just can do it in a virtual way, means with a flight simulator. Some of you pilots might know a sim from the IFR trainings. They suck to be honest. It’s ok to have some training, but that’s it. Best thing is, they are certified and you may be able to log some hours. Don’t expect too much fun there. Private sims might be underestimated and put off as toys. There are whole (real) planes in some cellars rebuilt as sims and software like X-Plane 11 together with some good plugins and add ons as also a good hardware like my Brunner yoke (yes, costly, but worth it) gives an immersion that is quite good.
So I read about a virtual Airventure for 2020 and checked in. Reading the NOTAMs is the same as in reality. Checking ATIS 125.9, circle around Green Lake, trying to stay with 1800 ft and 90 knots (I even needed flaps for this), when flying via RIPON to FISK (on your own discretion if you are spaced half a mile to your plane in front) you switch to FISK Approach 120.7. I was assigned runway 27 and needed to switch to the north tower 118.5. Landing on one of the dots is not that easy as with a Cessna which you just let drop on any point. A Mooney simply wants to stay in the air.
Even after landing it’s not over, I felt the bumpy taxiways (due to my Buttkicker, really named like this) and got an endless taxi but could look around, see the famous worlds busiest tower, all the other planes on the ground, but also some in the air just landing. Oshkosh is not known to be quiet – even in a simulator.
Since text cannot really give an imagination on how this felt, I made a short video of less than 3 minutes with my iPhone. Video quality is not that good but you might get what I mean.
I really liked it, even when it was just a virtual visit. It almost felt real after some minutes of being in the air and looking out for other planes.