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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedAlways Familiar, Ever Changing: AirVenture 2010 Kicks Off Amid Improvement and Challenges
By Dave Higdon
 

Photo by Jim Koepnick

"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." - John Wooden (1910-2010) legendary UCLA basketball coach

EAA President Tom Poberezny used this apropos quote Saturday as swarms of volunteers and staff worked to overcome the challenges of setting up and launching AirVenture Oshkosh 2010 after the deluge of storms that DUMPED rain exceeding 10 inches this month-a record for July.

There was good news: The sun emerged mid-morning Saturday, winds were aiding the drying process, and with opening day still two days out, prospects remained excellent for AirVenture to fulfill its annual promise of flying fun and the camaraderie of the hundreds of thousands who attend.

Still, the water forced some changes beyond the many changes that improved the AirVenture grounds.

"The rain has altered what we're doing and how we're doing it to welcome the world to Oshkosh," explained Dick Knapinski, EAA director of communications.

For example, planned mass arrivals of various aircraft groups fell victim to the conditions. Camp Scholler remained open to tents, but RVs were routed to a variety of parking lots in the vicinity of Wittman Regional Airport.

He noted other temporary alterations as of Saturday: All aircraft camping and parking areas-transient, homebuilt, vintage, and ultralight, alike-were temporarily closed.

"Protecting the airplanes and the grounds are the top priorities," Knapinski stressed.

Consequently, ground operations were restricted to hard surfaces. But officials continued to assess when to resume normal Oshkosh activities.

Even without weather-enforced changes, the grounds look and feel different in many different ways.

Steve Taylor: It's all for the better…

As the facilities guy in charge of planning and executing ground preparations for AirVenture, Steve Taylor seldom has a slow day for 48 of 52 weeks in a year.

For the remaining four weeks he never seems to have a slow moment.

The inventory of grounds changes serve as graphic testimony to the efforts of Taylor, EAA staff, and the hundreds of energetic, optimistic volunteers.

For example, the  new Scotts Warbird Alley creates an updated venue for the old warriors, the people speaking for them, and the throngs who crowd in to listen.

There's a new bike trail connecting North 40 aircraft camping to the main entrance gate, eliminating miles of pedaling.

The North 40 also sports a new permanent shower near the check-in building to augment an older shower more than a half-mile to the west.

Other new touches include more flushing toilets, more access roads through exhibits, and chip sealing the gravel roads paved to reduce dust and discomfort.

And there's more than planes alone…

People and planes underpin AirVenture, and this year Oshkosh still plans to play host to a number of notable events:

  • The 75th anniversary of both the Douglas DC-3 and the Boeing B-17;
  • "Salute to Veterans," with special programs to honor veterans throughout the week;
  • Night air show Saturday evening;
  •  The EAA Fly-In Theater's debut of the movie Pearl about a real-life woman pilot pioneer;
    Live music, from the opening-night Chicago concert to the Lt. Dan Band (Friday), Asleep at the Wheel (Saturday), the Flying Musicians Association, and daily lunchtime entertainment at the Brown Arch;
  • KidVenture, which returns with more aviation-oriented activities for the soon-to-be aviators among us;
  • A demo of cluster ballooning amid the 50th anniversary of modern hot-air ballooning.
 

FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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