North Texas pilots prepare for world's largest aviation convention

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GRAYSON COUNTY, TX - Preparations are underway for the worlds largest aviation convention, Airventure, held in Oshkosh Wisconsin the last week of July. News 12 spent Sunday with a North Texas group of pilots who are perfecting their formation flight right here in Texoma.

One week, more than 10,000 airplanes.

"For five days it's the busiest airport in the world," said Wayne Collins of the Experimental Aviation Academy's AirVenture convention at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It's the world's largest aviation celebration.

Collins started the group "Bonanzas to Oshkos" in 1990.

"There's camping on the field, and the way you get your spot is as you land, you get a camping spot," said Collins.

First come, first serve. Collins and his friends wanted to camp together, so they flew in in a loose formation.

"We landed together and we camped together," he said.

In 2001, B-2-Osh started nation-wide formation training clinics.

"There was no way to get formation training for covered airplanes. The only formation training was in war birds, so we found a way to get several people trained in formation flying," said Collins.

Now, each year, nearly 100 pilots fly their bonanzas to meet in Rockford, Illinois, and then fly in to Oshkosh together, creating the worlds largest civilian aircraft formation.

The North Texas group started training at NTRA-Perrin Field in 2001.

"The runway here is almost the same dimensions as the runway at the Oshkosh convention," said Michael Parrish.

Parrish organized this weekend's formation clinic. He says the North Texas Regional Airport is the perfect place to practice.

"It's far enough away from the metropolitan area, they've got a control tower here--the control tower guys are wonderful to work with, and then plenty of flight area around here," said Parrish.

After briefing, the B-2-Osh group of 13 planes participated in an Oshkosh simulation.

Parish says they will hold an advanced formation clinic later this week.

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