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Question of the day
By Katie Wainfan
AirVenture veterans know to expect the unexpected when it comes to their week in Oshkosh. After so many years, it can be difficult to be surprised.

On the other hand, newcomers can often be so overwhelmed by the experience that it can be difficult to pick out any single thing. Nonetheless, we went out and asked people the newest question of the day:

What were you surprised by this week?

This is Betsy Haley’s first year at AirVenture, and she traveled from Montvale, New Jersey. She was surprised by how well everything was organized.

“It’s so big, and there are so many people,” she said, “but they manage to have everything run on time, and keep the visitors informed.”

Dave Viviano has been coming to Oshkosh for the past eight years, and the Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, resident said he’s always surprised by EAA’s ability to organize.

Jim Matthews from Seattle, Washington, hasn’t been able to come to Oshkosh for the past few years. He was surprised by the upgrades to the field. “We really like the Internet hot spots,” he said.

Of course, all of the planes at AirVenture are always fun to see. Jim and Brody Clark and Patrick McEligott immediately started to list off their favorite aircraft. They enjoyed seeing the DC-7 take off, walking through the DC-2, and all of the “big iron” parked in AeroShell Square.

The question often received knowing chuckles, followed by a word about the weather. “We were coming here expecting Oshkosh,” said Glenn Cruz from San Diego, California, “and instead we got Sploshkosh.”

This year was the first time Bill Willyard, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, is camping. He said that with the weather improving, he has been able to stay “fairly dry” this week.

Even if it wasn’t the weather itself, many people were surprised by all of the changes that had to happen because of the rain.

“The North 40 was bare,” said Dave Landis from Amarillo, Texas. He’s been coming to Oshkosh for more than 20 years and said that he’s never seen anything like it. “Normally they’re parked wingtip to wingtip.”

The rain also brought unwelcome guests: mosquitoes.

Ben and Cliff Northrop from North Carolina said the pests have been particularly bad this year. Rick Sullivan from San Diego has also been working to battle the pesky insects.

On the other hand, things were not as bad as they could have been. “I’m surprised by how good a condition the field is in, considering the weather,” said Jim Clark.

The weather also brought some pleasant surprises. Many felt that the way that the volunteers and staff along the flightline rallied to overcome the conditions deserved recognition.

Steve and Katie McGreevy from Plainfield, Illinois, arrived on Sunday and parked along Taxiway Papa before moving to the Antique/Classic camping area on Monday. “We were amazed by how well everyone handled everything.”

Finally, some surprises came from being happily mistaken.

After hearing about all of the weather issues Wisconsin has been having, Kurt Landis was expecting a poor turnout. “But there are still people coming,” he said.

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