January Social Hour Presentation CPT Dave Mihalic USA and SGT Will Deschamps USMC of “Will and Dave’s Excellent AirVenture”.
At dawn on July 19 the boys took off in Dave’s Bonanza for the Oshkosh Air Show. They had a normal and uneventful flight and as Dave entered the approach formation at Oshkosh he lowered the gear, they heard a grinding noise and the gear stopped ¼ of the way down. Will tried manual extension but to no avail. Dave departed the Oshkosh pattern and headed toward Madison which was a safer option. On the way the gear motor shorted and they electrical and radio was lost. Will scrambled and contacted center on his cell. Center could hear him but with the cockpit noise he could not hear them. Will explained their issue and their intent to land at Madison. Dave calmly briefed the emergency plan and Will coordinated the approach with the tower at Madison. Dave flew a perfect partial gear landing on the centerline. The crash truck was on scene immediately but there were no issues or injuries. The plane was carted off the runway and our heros spent time at the bar “debriefing”. They got to Oshkosh and spent a fun week as volunteers at the Wright Flyer exhibit and enjoying the air show. At the show’s end they were able to hitch a ride home on the Miss Montana that was also at Oshkosh. That’s Montana Hospitality! A serious aviation situation was well handled by two very skilled pilots in a very professional manner. Bravo Zulu Will and Dave!