Each year at the end of July, 100 to 150 Beechcraft Bonanzas and Barons gather and fly in the world’s largest formation of civilian aircraft, at the world’s largest celebration of aviation – EAA AirVenture, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
Bonanzas to Oshkosh began in 1990 when Wayne Collins and a few friends decided to camp together in Oshkosh. The only way to camp together is to come together. The arrival of the Bonanzas formation in Oshkosh was born. Nine planes participated in the first year. They had a great time and the word got out. 38 planes flew together in 1991. Liz Campbell coined the nickname Bonanzas to Oshkosh, and its abbreviation, “B2OSH”, and the group grew rapidly. They set the official NAA world record for civilian aircraft formation in 1995. 132 Beechcraft Bonanzas and Barons. The official record of 132 still stands, although B2OSH has exceeded it more than once. 150 planes flew in the formation in 2018, but the sanction for a new world record was not requested.
Over a period of 30 years, B2OSH has grown to include formation flight clinics in more than a dozen locations across the country. Quality training leads to mastery of the art of formation flight, and regional events are additional layers of the social fabric.
Today, B2OSH’s goal remains firmly anchored: pilots flying the best general aviation aircraft ever built, camping together at the world’s largest aviation event. The arrival in formation is the means. Friendship and fellowship are the goals.
After 30 years, Bonanzas to Oshkosh has found a new home and will be launched from La Crosse Regional Airport. B2OSH cannot happen without enthusiastic support. Colgan Air Services welcomed the Bonanza Group with excellent facilities, well-trained staff and, most importantly, open arms.
The most exciting times for Bonanzas at Oshkosh are actually happening on the pitch. Each aircraft lines up on the runway at the same time, 3 abreast, with a nose-to-tail separation of 10 feet. Over 150 high-performance aircraft engines rumble with spinning propellers and passengers standing on wings take photos until Bonanza Tail snaps into place. It’s a magnificent sight, reminiscent of the squadrons of British and American warplanes taking off to defeat fascism.
Bonanza Tail will call âIn! â, The control tower will clear the formation for take-off, and the Colgan Air Ramp Boss will begin reporting planes in waves of 3 every 15 seconds.
Taxiing will begin at 11:30 am on Saturday July 24. The lead element of 3 planes will begin its take-off run at 11:45 a.m. Anyone interested can park in the cell phone parking lot next to the La Crosse Regional Airport terminal and watch the world’s largest formation of civilian planes take off for Oshkosh.
Kelly Colgan – President, Colgan Air Services
608-783-8359 – Office