Caravan XIX, July 24, 2016
By Chuck "Cowboy" Crinnian
Caravan XIX was a great operational test of the planning and flexibility of our leadership and pilots. We had 43 aircraft staged on the ramp in Madison. Some had weather challenges to got to Madison, but all arrived safely and ready to embark Sunday morning into Oshkosh. Mooney Lead was Chuck ‘Cowboy’ Crinnian and deputy lead was Larry ‘Joker’ Brennan.
However, we had a significant weather challenge for our departure, it was IMC conditions. Additionally, the winds were favoring runway 18-a single runway. In order to accommodate our now planned arrival to RWY 18, we re-configured into 2-ship elements in leu of our standard 3 ship ‘vic’ element formations. When the ceilings improved, we were set for an 18 arrival.
We waited most of the day at our MSN base camp in Wisconsin Aviation. The weather finally got above our Go-No Go minimums, time to get permission to launch. But things changed in OSH, winds changed for a north flow. ATC is having flow come into RWY 36 L and R. We negotiated with OSH tower to get a slot to arrive, if we did it now. So, we stayed in the 2-ship element configuration and gave up the use of Rwy 36R to warbird arrivals. Aircraft were on hold across the region due to the weather, so our negotiation allowed ATC to get additional aircraft in. We all were winners.
Of interest, although we had Chris ‘Toro’ Shopperly as our Mooney Tail we acquired a very famous tail in trail; the B-29 FiFi. A bad day turned into a successful mission with the cooperation and communications between the Mooney Caravan, ATC, ground based weather observers, and the warbirds. It was a very long day, but a great day.