Cessnas 2 Oshkosh 2019 attendees at base camp.

As July and EAA AirVenture Oshkosh inch closer, pilots all over the country are making their plans to attend the annual (well, mostly annual) event. For Cessna Owner Organization members who plan to attend, one option for flying in is to join up with the mass arrival group Cessnas 2 Oshkosh, which departs from Dodge County Airport (KUNU) on July 24.

Cessnas 2 Oshkosh held its first mass arrival in 2006 after a group of owners led by Fred Johnson and Rodney Swanson met in the North 40 at AirVenture 2005 to figure out how they could have a more shared Oshkosh experience.

“These friends, all experienced pilots, concluded that the only sure way to accomplish these goals was to organize a mass arrival as it had been done by other groups like the Bonanzas to Oshkosh, the pioneers of the mass arrival movement, and the Mooney Caravan,” the Cessnas 2 Oshkosh website states.

Since 2006, Cessnas 2 Oshkosh organized a mass arrival to the event every year it’s been held and, after the break in 2020, Cessnas 2 Oshkosh 2021 will be a return to form and Gil Velez, head of communications for the organization, said they’re expecting more than 125 participants.

In order to participate in the mass arrival, pilots must pre-register at www.cessnas2oshkosh.com.

“The registration process is simple, it starts by … answering a few straightforward questions about yourself, your passenger(s), and your aircraft,” Gil said. “Pilots who have registered to fly the mass arrival in the past, whether they flew the arrival or not, can save some time by reviewing their information retrieved from our database and prefilled on the form. The absolute deadline to register is June 10.”

Pilots interested in participating also must participate in a formation flying clinic held by Cessnas 2 Oshkosh.

“No formation flying experience is … required to register,” Gil said. “Participating pilots must participate in at least one formation flight training clinic in 2021 conducted by Cessnas 2 Oshkosh. In 2021 we scheduled 17 clinics across the nation. You must be fully aware of the requirement to participate in at least one formation training clinic during 2021 to be able to fly the mass arrival. You must register while there is still a clinic on the 2021 schedule that you can attend to obtain formation flight training and meet this requirement. Registered pilots have until this deadline to withdraw from participation in the mass arrival and obtain a refund of the registration fee.”

The Cessnas 2 Oshkosh clinics end on June 26, 2021. 

Pilots must also arrive at the departure airport, Dodge County Airport (KUNU) in Juneau, Wisconsin, no later than 11 a.m. CDT on the day of the flight for the final preflight briefing held at noon.

Sunday dinner at the Cessnas 2 Oshkosh tent in 2019.

“Depending on the day of arrival of each pilot, the gathering … is the expression of one to three days of camaraderie getting to know fellow pilots and their family from all over the country,” Gil said. “Formally, we have a group dinner on Friday night sponsored by Cessnas 2 Oshkosh and a group breakfast on Saturday morning offered by the local EAA chapter. On the Saturday of the arrival flight, starting sharply at noon we have lunch and the group-wide preflight brief, conducted by our Director of Training and Operations Rodney Swanson. After we land at Oshkosh and tie down our planes, we have a reception get together right at our campsite on the North 40. On the Sunday after the mass arrival at 5 p.m. we have our annual barbecue dinner, catered by a local Oshkosh caterer. During the barbecue dinner we have our annual raffle of gifts donated by our sponsors. Some of these gifts include avionics worth thousands of dollars. Every day, starting on the Sunday after the arrival, we have group breakfast. The tradition is that each day some of the pilots in our group take charge of grocery shopping and cooking breakfast for the entire group. This is a pitch-in activity where the group spirit fully manifests. Our event is family-oriented, children are welcome and usually well attended. Over the past 16 years, we have seen our children grow and become pilots in their own right. The best part of the whole thing is the development of lasting friendships which, frankly, are the main reason for some of us to come back every year.

“The most important thing for first timers to know is that flying our mass arrival into Oshkosh is safe, probably the safest way to get to Oshkosh during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh,” Gil said. “It is definitely the most fun a group of pilots, relatives, and friends can have during the days leading to the flight and the week after in the North 40 campground at Oshkosh.

There is a registration fee of $65 for each participant (including co-pilots and passengers), which covers an embroidered Cessnas 2 Oshkosh polo shirt, dinner on the day before the departure, lunch the day of the departure, and the barbecue at Cessna Base Camp in Oshkosh. There’s no charge for children ages 12 and younger.