For many of us, heading to Oshkosh, Wis., in July is a yearly ritual. It certainly is for Judy Birchler of Indianapolis, Ind. Judy and her niece Kate departed Indiana Sunday in Judy’s Rans, looking forward to a week of fun at EAA AirVenture.
The trip went great until Judy realized that she had left her wallet at her first fuel stop–White County Airport in Monticello, Ind. She didn’t discover the missing wallet until they stopped at East Troy in Wisconsin for more fuel. No wallet–no credit cards–no money! And niece Kate hadn’t brought along any scratch, either.
You’d think that would have been a showstopper, but it wasn’t. A Luscombe pilot named Bill Coleman topped off the Rans’ tanks at East Troy.
At that same fuel stop, Judy also discovered that the Rans’ exhaust pipe extension had fallen off. She flew around the pattern at East Troy, and decided continuing to Oshkosh without it wouldn’t be prudent.
To the rescue came another pilot–”a cool guy named Lucas,” Judy said—who created another exhaust pipe for her Experimental aircraft. And off they went. They landed uneventfully at Wittman Field.
Judy, who runs the LadiesLoveTaildraggers website, had been steadfastly tweeting and blogging her trip. She put it out on social media that she was flying without funds, and people here at Oshkosh have given her cash to tide them over until they can get back to Indianapolis. (Another pilot friend has since retrieved Judy’s wallet.)
I’ve always known the aviation community is a special one–and when you include Oshkosh in the mix, you’re talking about something really special.