Should I fly into Oshkosh?

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Flying into Airventure

Should I fly into Oshkosh?

This is a question that many aviators ask themselves.

Airventure Oshkosh is an amazing experience that should be on every pilot’s bucket list and for thousands it is the one event every year they WILL NOT miss.

But for some there is a risk versus reward question. Sometimes the answer to that question leaves them seeking other methods of getting Oshkosh or worse, not going at all.

Assuming we are familiar with all of the rewards, lets focus on the risks.


So what are the risks with flying into Oshkosh?

Long Cross Country
I’ll be traveling vast distances over less than hospitable terrain. What if something happens? I rarely leave the traffic pattern most of the year.

  • Out of all the risks this one is the most valid; we have seen accidents from people en route to or from OSH in the past. Proper planning, maintenance, and judgement are the keys and also knowing your limitations. Most of the accidents I’m familiar with are related to a mechanical issue, not weather.

Everyone thinks there is a dizzying amount of traffic that can only be equated with navigating an asteroid belt at Mach 17. Survival of which will surely leave you with acute post traumatic stress syndrome negating any enjoyment in the subsequent show.

  • I have never heard of a midair as a result of arrivals or departures at OSH; it’s the big Sasquatch that everyone worries about, but is never seen. Certainly you need to follow established procedure and you will see some traffic, but it’s not unmanageable. I flew in early on Sunday morning  and saw two other airplanes, the one I was following and one that was following me – piece of cake; that’s been pretty typical for me over the years. Maybe I have bad eyesight. Honestly, local fly-ins with no procedures are scarier.

Ground Damage
If you survive the arrival my precious airplane will be subject to the elements for the duration of the show.

  • Storms seem to threaten the grounds every year, but statistically it is very unlikely your aircraft will see damage, although it does occur. Just think about all those priceless warbirds, that helps me put it in perspective. Besides that’s what insurance is for.

Mechanical Failure
What if my airplane breaks on the way or on the way home.  How will I get my baby back to the barn without going through undue financial and psychological stress?

  • It has been my experience that this isn’t likely and if it does occur people will come out of the woodwork to help you in ways you can’t image. The power of our fraternity really shows up when a fellow aviator is in need.

Ego Damage
What if I screw up something? That arrival looks complicated and I’ll likely become task saturated. I don’t want to embarrass myself or worse bend my airplane in front of 500,000 fellow birdmen!

  • The most primal of fears, this one paralyzes many pilots. If you are really insecure about it, make sure you are proficient. Don’t come out of long-term storage to fly to OSH, you do need to be on your game. If you are proficient to PPL or LSA standards you can do it no problem.

In Conclusion
Somehow thousands of pilots make the pilgrimage each year with virtually no loss of life or property.

So if you are brave enough to be among the 15,000+ airplanes that will decorate the ground at Whitman Field, you won’t be disappointed.

See you at Oshkosh, I’ll be parked in homebuilts camping (HBC)!

Camping with your airplane

by Brent

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