The Fisk Arrival

Good spring weather brings the Cubs out. Here’s Dave’s India Delta in from Cumbernauld:

Good weather also means that we can get up high without freezing to death:
The last time we were up at 6300 feet was over Glenshee in the depths of winter with the windows open. That was COLD.
Looking at the gaps between the clouds you can see what John Gillespie Magee Jr. was on about in his poem High Flight when he wrote about “footless halls of air”…
On the way back in we got into a bit of a traffic jam…it was the Perth Airport “Festival of Flight” open day the next day and lots of people were inbound. It was so busy that the slow Cub was getting in the way of everybody else so we decided to climb out of the circuit pattern and hold off to the west of the airfield for a bit. Give the traffic a chance to die down. We were there for about 20 minutes just loitering about…every time we decided to commit inbound somebody else would call on the radio for rejoin. We just let them get on with it. The radio operator in the tower was working like the proverbial and didn’t need our slow Cub cluttering up that place.

Eventually the airwaves quietened down and we were able to get in to land. I was reminded of the Oshkosh Fisk Arrival. Well, not reminded, because I’ve never flown it, but it’s famous. EAA Airventure is the annual convention held by the Experimental Aircraft Association at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It’s massive. There are usually about 10,000 visiting aircraft…TEN THOUSAND!

Getting all these aircraft in safely requires a bit of forward planning. The “Special Flight Procedures” NOTAM regularly runs to over 30 pages. Most of the traffic comes via the Fisk arrival from the southwest.

Fly to the town of Ripon, fly at a certain height and speed, follow the railroad tracks northeast to Fisk, stay in line, no overtaking, listen on the radio and do as you are told. There are giant coloured circles marked on the runway to aim for. Apparently it’s not uncommon to have three aircraft touching down simultaneously on the purple, red and yellow dots. It’s organised chaos, and it works.

Here’s a traffic display on one of the quieter days, showing the stream of traffic routing northeast up the tracks towards Fisk:

It all looks very organised, compared with the mad scramble into Perth from all points of the compass. I want to have a go.

Also check out two of the airfields to the north of Berlin in the top left corner…one called “Broken Prop” and one called “Objectionable” – There are some stories to be told..!