Large Cessna Group Launches From Juneau En Route To EAA AirVenture

(Juneau) Eighty-seven Cessna aircraft briefly called the Dodge County Airport home on Saturday as the group Cessna’s Two Oshkosh converged on the small airfield in Juneau before making a group journey to the EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh.  Rodney Swanson, co-founder and leader of Cessnas 2 Oshkosh said weather impacted their numbers this year.

“We had 17 planes that couldn’t make it due to the weather we had, they are stranded some place or headed back home,” Swanson says, “We have 87 planes launching today, which’ tied for a record”

Another pilot and co-founder present was Fred Johnson, piloting his Cessna 206 Stationair, who gave a brief overview of the planes involved and the planning that goes into a successful mass arrival.

“As long as you’re a Cessna aircraft you can fly with us, we will figure out a place for you in our formation,” Johnson says, “We launch the slower aircraft and we hold the more powerful aircraft in the back.  We have separation times so when everyone lands they land one right after each other.  We may take half an hour to launch from Juneau, but we’ll land in Oshkosh in a very short window.”

Johnson explained the history behind the Cessna’s 2 Oshkosh team and what it has evolved to become.

“A couple of us went back in 2004, 2005 and we kind of met up and flew in together to park together but it’s really crazy flying a normal arrival,” Johnson says, “At that point there were two other mass arrivals the Bonanzas and the Mooneys, so we said why doesn’t Cessna have a mass arrival?  So, we all got together, and we started the Cessna mass arrival.”

Inclement weather had a significant impact on the group’s planned flight from Juneau to Oshkosh as the weather delayed their departure from the Dodge County Airport for several hours. In addition, planes from another mass arrival group known as Bonanza were turned away from Oshkosh and directed to Juneau to wait out the adverse weather conditions.