Looking Up at the Sounds & Sights of Spring

By Scott Spangler on April 20th, 2015

As aviators, the sky is where we’d rather be. While many factors conspire against the fulfillment of this desire, being attuned to and looking up at the inhabitants in the ocean of air above us sustains our connection to it, which is why spring is special, especially here in Wisconsin, where winter attenuates aeronautical activity.

Muted honking positional cues from high-flying formations over Omro begin the migration of Canada geese to the surrounding bodies of water, Oshkosh’s Lake Winnebago and Lake Butte des Morts and the rivers that feed them.  They are vast armadas of aerial pathfinders easy to see. Locating the source of prehistoric clacks issued by his and her flights of returning sandhill cranes is more challenging, which makes visual contact more rewarding.

When the threat of hypothermia melts with the remaining snow, song birds serenade from naked limbed trees growing knobby with buds. Unseen mourning doves moan. Skyhawks, many of them flying classrooms for Fox Valley Tech’s aviation program pirouette in the practice area west of town. When they suddenly go silent, their flight path reveals a simulated engine failure or a stall of some variety.

As the builders gathered outside the warehouse hangar before the workshop began each day, Sonex Aircraft CEO Jeremy Monnett made fly-bys in the company's different airplanes.During the weekends a high-pitched whine will draw my eye to a little bright yellow airplane, and I imagine Joe Norris is introducing a pilot to homebuilt flight through the Sonex T-Flight program. I wave, but they never respond. The angry, full throated snarl of a Cessna quickly clawing its way skyward gets my attention even when indoors. And when sitting on the deck, the rustling snap of nylon draws my eyes to the jumpers maneuvering for a touchdown at Skydive Adventures east of town.

As the summer matures, the four-engine thrum of the EAA B-17 is a precursor to endless streams of airplanes following prescribed flyways that lead to and from EAA AirVenture at Wittman Regional Airport. Their coming and going is separated by an empty sky, but in the distance I can hear the aerobatic arrangement of staccato power changes and the visceral roar of jet fuel becoming thrust.

Not long after the visiting airplanes depart for home, the birds follow, and soon the only thing flying will be rain, snow, and the occasional business jet bound for Oshkosh or, when the wind howls from the north, a regional jet bound for Appleton. And then my connection to the sky becomes a window-framed picture on my office wall, but the reverberating thrum of a National Guard H-60 Blackhawk on its way to practice approaches at Wittman, or the distinctive buzz of a medevac helo still gets me out of my chair and sustains my connection to the sky. – Scott Spangler, Editor

Related Posts:

One Response to “Looking Up at the Sounds & Sights of Spring”

  1. Jordan Says:

    Lovely piece here. As the weather warms, the blue skies are always a wonderful sight. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Subscribe without commenting