Dreaming of Oshkosh
Dreaming of Oshkosh – The dream, the (small) nightmares, and the awesome realities that make Oshkosh what it is.
With the annual Mecca of aviation only a few weeks away, I’m compelled to share some of my dreams of Oshkosh, on the event and to tug at your sensibilities if you aren’t planning in going this year (or in the near future).
First, let me address the only negatives that I have heard that seems to keep people from coming:
The crowds and the air traffic.
Because of the popularity of the event it brings in close to 800,00 people. The good news is the event is spread over 7 days and the venue is so large that it’s easy to take a break from the mobs. Personally I don’t like crowds, but when you are there you quickly realize that everyone is like-minded and totally swept up in the spirit of aviation. These aren’t really strangers they are just friends you haven’t met yet.
There are numerous stories of wallets or other valuables that people inevitably misplace that find their way to the lost and found unscathed. It is truly a “Wellsville” of the best of Americana. Clean grounds, honest and polite people all in the backdrop of thousands of amazing airplanes. It is one of the best events in the world whether you like airplanes or not.
If you don’t like to camp, you can stay at the dorms at the University of Wisconsin or arrange for temporary housing through many of the locals that vacate during the event. I don’t know of anyone who has had issues with find a roof to sleep under, in spite of the number of folks that attend and don’t camp. And there are loads of buses that take people to and from the airport from about any location.
Let’s talk about the air traffic. Not only is the traffic manageable, due to the elegantly simple and effective procedures, but I feel completely safe coming and going into OSH. If you read the NOTAM and stick to the script you are in less danger than going to an uncontrolled airport fly-in on a nice spring day with planes going every which way.
Now let’s talk about the good.
The venue offers such a depth and breath of aviation that no one can possibly experience everything in a single week. It’s not just marketing banter when they say there is something for everyone. It simple doesn’t matter what kind of flying you are into, you’ll find it there.
Between the workshops, the forums, the presentations, the museum, the seaplane base, the ultralight farm and the warbirds area – to name a few – you’ll be busier than a one armed paper hanger. Best to do some research and go in with a plan or else risk being overwhelmed.
The operation is almost 100% volunteer ran and it works like a well oiled machine. Many of the volunteers are long-term and their experience giving back to the aviation community is what keeps them coming back year after year. It’s not unusual to talk to folks that have been working the grounds for 20+ years and loving every minute of it!
If you look at the Google Maps link below and zoom around, it gives you a sense of 15,000 airplanes will literally cover the grounds at AirVenture Oshkosh. If all you did was go to see the airplanes on the field that would be well worth your trouble.
So what’s stopping you? Have you been dreaming of Oshkosh? Time to make a trip to Mecca and join the hundreds of thousands that vow they’ll never miss another year.
If you plan to keep dreaming of Oshkosh for next year and want more information? Go to this link: http://www.eaa.org/en/airventure
Hope to see you there!
By Brent Owens
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