|Lane Esswein, Farmington,
Illinois, has been an EAA volunteer for 33 years; Kevin Smerling,
Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for 29 years, and Dave Zera, Naperville, Illinois
for 27 years. The flightline safety volunteers arrived in Camp Scholler
on opening day.
|Spring rain and warm
sunshine have created lush green grass for campers. AirVenture grounds
are in great shape for the July 28 start date. This recent photo looks
south from Schaick Road in Camp Scholler.
|A blue AirVenture arrival
dot has been painted on Runway 18-36 at Wittman Regional Airport (OSH).
Soon, thousands of aircraft will use the blue dot as a landing target
|The original Oshkosh
control tower is framed by the airport's new tower. At 120 feet eye
level, the new tower provides complete views of all airport surfaces,
along with state-of-the-art equipment for air traffic controllers.
|Dozens of exhibition tents
are being erected in preparation for the World's Greatest Aviation
With less than four weeks to go before the start
of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008, the Wittman Regional Airport (OSH) runway
reconstruction projects are complete, and operations out of the airport's new
control tower have begun. Adding to the excitement are the hundreds of
volunteers scouring the AirVenture grounds, readying it for your visit.
AirVenture campers began arriving last week, and exhibitors are already
erecting their tents.
Meanwhile, members from around the nation have
contacted EAA to ask about media reports of the tragic tornadoes and
thunderstorms which have affected many areas of Wisconsin, including flooding
in Oshkosh several weeks ago. Some EAA volunteers, staff, and area members
suffered from the series of late spring storms, however, we can report that the
AirVenture grounds are in great condition; virtually unscathed by Mother
EAA volunteers aren't the only ones who have
been working hard preparing for AirVenture. On Tuesday, July 1 at Wittman, the
Runway 9/27 reconstruction and related projects were completed, and operations
commenced out of the airport's new air traffic control tower. It was an
exciting day for managers, users, and air traffic controllers at the airport.
"It's all state-of-the art equipment, it's
pretty neat," said Mark "Chip" Dyni, an air traffic controller
at Wittman. "We have a great view; it will make things better for the
controllers and pilots alike. Our eye level is about 50 feet higher than the
original tower, which may not sound like a lot, but I'm seeing things that I
didn't know existed at the airport."
The tower, which will become the world's busiest
air traffic control tower during AirVenture, is 120-feet high at eye level,
about double that of the original tower-and both will be in use during
convention. Construction began in spring of 2007, and improvements are
numerous. Steve Wendt, air traffic manager at Oshkosh, is pleased with the
"We have much nicer equipment; everything
is upgraded with all the bells and whistles. It's beautiful, and we can see all
runways with no blind spots," he said. "It's a real asset to the
airport and community. We can see EAA's Pioneer Airport, across the lake, and
all airport surface areas - it's just fantastic."
Thousands of visitors will use Wittman Regional
Airport in just a few weeks when the World's Greatest Aviation Celebration
begins on July 28. The $7.3 million runway reconstruction project was completed
on schedule. Constructed in two phases, the western 4,700 feet was completed on
November 12, 2007. Phase two began on March 31; the reconstruction of the
eastern portion of the runway, along with portions of Runways 4/22 and 13/31.
The entire pavement was grooved, and surfaces were lighted and painted,
including the colorful AirVenture arrival dots.
Peter Moll, director of Wittman Regional
Airport, expressed appreciation for the team members involved in the projects.
"We're appreciative of the support of the Federal Aviation Administration,
the Wisconsin Bureau of Aeronautics, project management from OMNNI Associates,
Miron Construction for the tower, and LaLonde Contractors, the general
contractor for the runway reconstruction," he said.