May 30, 2016

Chelsea’s First Oshkosh – Day 8

Oshkosh Comes to a Close

Sunday, August 3, 2008


We’d come to the end of the flying for Team Oracle and The Collaborators but that didn’t mean that we were quite finished with our responsibilities. Although we did get to sleep in for a bit and could take our time getting over to the show from the Weeks Hangar, we did have one family coming as Oracle Guests. Once we arrived Sean had some autographs to sign, so I hopped into his car with him and off we went.

Today was different than the other days. Sean was able to relax a bit, as much as he can ever relax.  Although still moving at a million miles a minute, he got to walk around a bit. And of course we got to talk about life and work and I soaked in all the words of wisdom he had to offer.

From sponsor to sponsor and tent to tent we zipped around with exuberant Sean leaving everyone in his wake with a smile. I have so much to learn from Sean and all of my coaches and mentors that it is unbelievable. From flying to business to interacting with current sponsors, potential sponsors and fans, the opportunities are endless.

The show was great, as is expected of Oshkosh, yet there was almost a touch of sadness looming over the entire airport. It was the last day of Oshkosh. Airplanes had begun departing a day or two before and as we drove through the warbird area it looked bare and lonely. Tents began to come down and people were packing their things.

Could it be that it had gone by that fast? Absolutely! They say that time flies when you’re having fun, no pun intended. I guess they’re right!

As we hurried back across the airport towards the hangar after the show, the sky began to get darker and darker. After doing some things we raced back over to the show side to drop off the golf cart and it was a good thing we went when we went. No sooner had Ian hopped in the car that I drove over than the sky opened up and thunder began to clap. It rained pretty much non-stop with thunderstorms rolling through off and on the rest of the night.

We all headed back to the house for an amazing dinner prepared by Kureha, Ben’s girlfriend. And let me tell you, this girl can cook! I’m not just saying that…it was an awesome dinner and a perfect ending to a long hard week of work and fun. After a night of laughter and camaraderie it was time for bed. Then next morning we would all be heading home; different places for each us of, but only for a little while. The airshow schedule will be calling everyone back together  soon enough.

My final thoughts on Oshkosh…it is a MUST for anyone who loves flying or just loves a good time. I could never have imagined that my first Oshkosh experience would be so amazing. From making new friends, seeing old ones to growing as a member of my new flying family, it is something for which I will be forever grateful. It just supports my belief that you should always dream big and never stop working hard for what you want. You never know what might come of it!

Chelsea’s First Oshkosh – Day 7

Oracle Day at Oshkosh

Saturday August 2, 2008

Today was a little different than the rest of the week. The Collaborators were done with their performances at Oshkosh 2008 and this was Sean and Team Oracle’s last performance day. With this came hosting some of Oracle’s employees and customers in what ended up being one of the nicest “chalets” that I have ever seen!

Ian and I both work as hospitality representatives for Team Oracle and our job is to make sure that our guests have an outstanding time the whole day through. From eating to sunscreen, watching the show and meeting the Team, we are there to make sure that they experience the airshow in the most amazing way possible.

Once we set up the catering and gift/sign-in table I snuck around taking a few shots of the setting just to make sure to show people how great this “rig” was. We were told it actually is used most often at racing events, but I definitely say that if you are ever looking for something like this, you should contact this company!

Our guests enjoyed a quiet spot to relax in the truck, air conditioned seating in the tent area and the best seats in the house right on the show line once the planes took to the sky. It was fun for all as always.

Once the show had ended it was time to head back to the Charlie Hillard Building for the Performers’ Party. This was an experience that I am so thankful to have had and something that I will definitely never forget. The evening was filled with good food, good discussions and good people. And to hear the speeches from many different people, some of whom have no idea how influential and influencial I think they are, was truly amazing to me.

Sean also pulled the whole team together to say thank you and to reiterate that we are all a family. Of course being there pretty much a team full of guys I could not let on that my eyes were a bit watery by the end of the whole thing…but it really was a big deal for me. I can’t believe I am doing what I’m doing and flying what I’m flying. All I can say is, dreams do come true.

Chelsea’s First Oshkosh – Day 3

Oshkosh From the Sky!




I don’t think that most people realize the amount of work that is put into running an airshow let alone OSHKOSH!! This place is amazing. It truly is its own little city, but more than that it is a community of like-minded people (read aviation nuts). So the routine, at least for me has been to get home around 9pm, eat and work until 11pm or so and then go to bed. Then Ben and I get up in the morning at 6am for a jog then get back shower and leave the house with Bill at 7:30am. Go to the airport, start working and then do it all over again.


Chelsea's first Oshkosh photo flight!


Today, though, was a little different. Today we got to the hangar at 8am for a photo flight and lucky me, Eric’s Extra 300 had an empty seat. So, I went flying. This was, of course, not my first flight with the team but my first photo flight which was very interesting. Flying in formation with the Seneca  setting up for some of The Collaborator’s famous shots for a USA Today photographer all the while maintaining the right set up with the sunlight with Oshkosh in the background was pretty darn cool! After that we broke up and ran through some of the team’s figures and portions of the airshow sequence. There’s nothing like a little negative G to start the morning! After that we broke apart and I got to do some flying with Eric. Loops, slow rolls, REALLY slow rolls, tumbles, barrel roles…we did them all and it was great to be up flying here. The text my mother received after I landed was “Dude, I flew at Oshkosh!”

Today was Sean’s solo day so it was nice for the rest of the guys to get a little time off to do other things like add decals to the airplanes.  I did lots of different things as is how it goes at an airshow. I went to Sean’s autograph signing session at the Lycoming Tent which was fun and then we stopped by the Extra display to say hello and check out the new Extra 330SC. All I can say is…DUDE! Very very cool! I hope I can fly one some day.

This evening was the Lycoming Dinner and a party at Ms. Dorrine Hillard’s house which, as always, was a blast! Lots of air show people descended upon the house on the lake to eat, celebrate and enjoy the gathering of so many longtime friends at Oshkosh 2008. It is also Sean O’Leary’s (better known to everyone as Shamus as we cannot have TWO Sean’s on the team) birthday. He is here with the team for his second year for a few months before heading back to his homeland, Ireland. We absolutely love him! So Kevin Coleman and I went to the store and picked up a cake for him and once everyone gathered together after dinner at both places we had a little surprise waiting for him at the Coleman’s house.

Tomorrow we do it again, it’s the Collaborators’ turn tomorrow. As always it should be fun!