Though aviation enthusiasts are the focus of each annual Oshkosh AirVenture, there’s also a big commercial and and industrial component. This year, for example, Ford, GE and Honda each had a significant presence on the grounds, largely for what seems to be exposure.
As part of the festivities, Southwest also brought one of their Boeing 737s to display at the show, and they chocked the airplane full of volunteers, employees and media for a special shuttle flight from Chicago‘s Midway into the heart of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. And since Gadling Labs is based out of Chicago, we hitched along for the ride.
Departure from Midway was at an eye-rubbing 7AM, and once on the ground in Oshkosh we had full range to wander wherever and photograph whatever we wanted. And just as the clouds rolled in at 5PM, we gathered back together to make the journey home.
First officer JC was standing on the airstairs as we watched the clouds roll in, and somehow we got onto the topic of cockpit jumpseat availability. Asked if we could take an open slot, he shrugged in affirmation — since this wasn’t a commercially operated Southwest flight the rules on passengers in the cockpit weren’t as strict, so after checking with the captain of the flight we came up front.
Above, you’ll see the perspective of the Southwest crew during the taxi and takeoff from Oshkosh AirVenture. With spectators lining the parallel taxi way and a festive atmosphere all about it was truly a unique experience — we hope you enjoy the perspective.