Each year at the end of July, 100-150 Beechcraft Bonanzas and Barons gather and fly in the world’s largest civil aircraft formation, for the world’s greatest 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 arrive together. The arrival of the Bonanzas training in Oshkosh was born. Nine aircraft 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 Bonanzas nickname for Oshkosh, and its abbreviation, “B2OSH”, and the group grew rapidly. They set the official NAA world record for a civilian aircraft formation in 1995. 132 Beechcraft Bonanzas and Barons. The official record of 132 still stands, although B2OSH has surpassed it more than once. 150 planes flew in the formation in 2018, but the sanction for a new world record was not requested.
Over the past 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 flying, and regional events are additional layers of the social fabric.
Today, B2OSH’s goal remains firmly fixed: pilots flying the best general aviation aircraft ever made, camping together, at the world’s greatest aviation event. The arrival of training is the means. Friendship and fellowship are the ends.
After 30 years, Bonanzas to Oshkosh has found a new home and will launch 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, above all, with open arms.
The most exciting moments for Bonanzas to Oshkosh actually happen on the field. Each plane lines up on the runway at the same time, 3 abreast, with a nose-to-tail separation of 10 feet. Over 150 high-performance jet engines growling with propellers spinning and passengers standing on the wings taking pictures until Bonanza Tail snaps into place. It is a magnificent sight, reminiscent of squadrons of British and American warplanes taking off to defeat fascism.
Bonanza Tail will call “In!”, the control tower will clear the formation for takeoff, and the Colgan Air Ramp Boss will begin flagging planes in waves of 3 every 15 seconds.
Taxiing will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday July 24. The lead element of 3 aircraft will begin its take-off run at 11:45 a.m. Anyone interested in watching can park in the cell phone lot next to the La Crosse Regional Airport terminal and watch the world’s largest formation of civilian aircraft take off for Oshkosh.
Kelly Colgan – President, Colgan Air Services
608-783-8359 – Office