EAA AirVenture Oshkosh - The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration

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Story and Photos by Meghan Plummer and Katie Wainfan

Barbara and Steve Colby from Salt Lake City, Utah.

Forrest Klies with his “crew” Mark and Pam from Basin, MT.

As aircraft and visitors spill in, everyone has a story to share about navigating the wet weather. Now that the sun is shining, spirits are high as visitors look forward to the week ahead. We went around the field asking people two questions: How are you coping with the Wisconsin weather? And… What are you looking forward to this week? We received a variety of responses.

Volunteer Al Hartline navigates the Warbirds area in his homebuilt Jeep. Hartline arrived last Monday, so he experienced the week’s weather firsthand. “It’s a swamp,” Hartline said. “I’ve got water in my tent, but everyone is taking it in stride.” For the week ahead, Hartline said he is looking forward to seeing all the different types of aircraft, especially the B-51s. “It’s the big, round engines that, to me, make the show.”

Also in the Warbirds area, J.D. Daniel is in from Texas with his T-34 Mentor for the 20th year. Like many visitors, Daniel is hoping the rain holds off. “This whole rain thing—I can’t believe it,” Daniel said. “It could turn into a disaster with one more rain.” But he’s coping as well as most. And looking ahead, Daniel said he is looking forward to formation flying and seeing Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band.

Jon Angell made his way from Florida in his Focke-Wulf 149. “We got grounded in Pontiac, Illinois, because you guys were getting hammered,” Angell said. Once they got to Oshkosh, Angell said he was taken in by some people in the North 40.

After contemplating whether to fly in, Erin Shuttleworth arrived Saturday in a Yak-52TW, one of only 33 with a tail wheel. “We were afraid about not having someplace to park,” Shuttleworth said. “When we landed, we asked if this was the Seaplane Base.” Camping, despite all the water, however, wasn’t an issue for Shuttleworth; she said her camper came in Wednesday—with no problems. For the week ahead, Shuttleworth said she was most looking forward to seeing all her friends. “This is the one spot you see everybody,” Shuttleworth said.

Getting here Saturday, Joe Smith hauled an electric helicopter from Virginia. “The helicopter came out of the shop at 3:30 and they said, ‘Go.’” Smith said he hit a storm on the way that made driving the tractor-trailer difficult. “It was picking the whole darn tractor-trailer up,” Smith said. “I was thinking, ‘They’re going to be upset if this thing goes on its side.’” In his week at EAA AirVenture, Smith has his days packed. “I’m looking forward to seeing the whole thing,” he said. “I want to see everything.”

In the Homebuilders area, Chuck Moore from Houston, Texas, said he “waded in” Saturday afternoon. On the flight in, Moore decided to stop for fuel in Iowa in case he couldn’t get into Oshkosh. Once things cleared up, Moore said he marveled at the views in Wisconsin. “This is just the most beautiful country in the summertime,” Moore said.

Moore, who comes to EAA AirVenture every year, said he’s looking forward to talking to other visitors. “The fun thing about coming to Oshkosh is the assemblage of all people of the same mind,” Moore said. He also said he likes to think about improvements to his own aircraft while here.

Also in Homebuilders, Mike Hilger came in Sunday afternoon from South St. Paul, Minnesota. He originally planned to come in yesterday, but the field conditions delayed his trip. Hilger said he is impressed with the volunteers, and he hopes everyone appreciates their hard work. Most of all, Hilger said he was looking forward to the night air show on Saturday.

After flying his homebuilt with a group of four through the storms, Harry Crosby arrived at Oshkosh Friday afternoon. “We saw a brief break in the weather here and made a run for it,” Crosby said. Overall, Crosby said he is most looking forward to the Oshkosh adventure.

Steve and Barbara Colby said that the volunteers at AirVenture meant that there was “no coping involved” because of the weather. Volunteers helped them move their tent and plane to the aircraft camping area after they arrived in their Cessna 172 from Salt Lake City, Utah. They are looking forward to relaxing for the week and seeing the planes that are finally being parked along the flightline.

Jordan Rosen and Cammi and Brandon Haines flew in together from Oklahoma in a Cessna 310 and an AC-100. Their trip on Thursday was “tail winds and clear skies”—until, that is, they reached Oshkosh…and the weather came in. The weather meant that they had to park across the field at Basler and bring their camping gear over to the Vintage camping area. They are looking forward to nearly everything, from getting airplanes together to the air shows, forums, and the entertainment at Theater in the Woods.

Forrest Klies’ Noorduyn Norseman is parked next to the Hangar Café where it’s been since Wednesday, after waiting at Basler since last Saturday. The flight from Basin, Montana, was clear all the way, getting him to Oshkosh before the storms rolled in. Then his plane sat parked on the other side of the field for four days because of the soggy conditions. Now, some planks of plywood sit under the wheels to keep them from sinking in. Forrest says he is looking forward to Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band performance at Theater in the Woods and the Harrier performance. “I’m almost deaf,” Forrest said, “so I like hearing the noise.”

Dave Williams’ bright yellow Dyke Delta sits tied down in front of the Homebuilders registration. His weather coping includes staying in a friend’s motor home, instead of camping in the tent he brought. He is excited at the prospect of meeting old friends and looking for new ideas.

Shona Hirota says that she comes to EAA AirVenture knowing the weather can do anything. She flew her Glasair from Vancouver, Canada, on Friday—after having to wait a day for the weather to clear. She is looking forward to the fields drying out. “Then the airplanes can come back,” Hirota said.

A group of seven Wittman Tailwinds flew in Sunday morning, making Jim Clement’s goal of sitting and talking to friends an easy one to achieve. The group has a friend in Oshkosh who checked the weather for them—first-hand. The Tailwinds had to dodge some clouds on the way here, but all seven arrived safely.

Keith McQueen landed his Cessna 182 Saturday evening after leaving Utah at first light that morning. He said things were going pretty well, considering the conditions. They were not planning on parking in the Vintage area, but the rain meant that it was the easiest place to get to. This is his first EAA AirVenture, so he says he is looking forward to the “Oshkosh experience.”

In the Ultralight area, Tim Johnson flew in from Omro, Wisconsin on Sunday morning in his Challenger. He said the weather didn’t cause any problems and the trip was a “beautiful flight.” He is looking forward to the forums, especially those on the repair and maintenance of Rotax engines—the type that he has in his ultralight.

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