Oshkosh 2013 "Return to Glory"
I joked to my wife at to Oshkosh that I think the theme should be "Return to Glory" for 2013. This was based mainly upon a weather forecast that resembled the conditions I recalled when I attended as a child in the 70's when sweatshirts outsold T-shirts. Also we secured a camping spot on 55th street which is where we always camped back then, not on 12th as we were in 2010 and 2011.
We arrived on Saturday the 27th, and left on Saturday the 3rd, and in my opinion this was one of the best conventions I have attended, and this was my 38th.
The lack of modern military did not hinder the show at all; in fact it may have helped. It was great to see FiFi as the main attraction, as she was in the 70's and 80's. I did not miss the noise of jets, and the Harrier provided plenty. I am curious to see what impact this had on the attendance…it ‘felt’ down to me but at an event this large it is hard to tell. The food options were impressive, especially since many of the vendors were on their first run of it. The ultralight area had fewer vendors, but the pattern stayed busy. The new electric options seemed to breathe some new energy into the area. HQ listened and adjusted the things we all complained the most about, chalets, speaker stacks, and food and beverage.
As I rode the tram to the ultralights one morning I was pondering if this was as good as "the good ol days". I then recalled that in those days we did not have trams, or the food options we have now. There were many years that the daily Airventure Today" newspaper did not exist either, which is a morning staple for me. Now we can get text alerts with up to the minute details. Additionally the Warbirds in Review, warbird tram tour, re-enactors have made the warbird area come to life. Homebuilts may be a little off the path now, but the workshops have more sponsorship help and the hombuilders hanger is much nicer than it was 20 years ago. As a second generation attendee now bringing my own children, I am really impressed with the effort that has gone into Kidventure. I am almost jealous of the fun my kids get to have!
The daily airshows are not the main draw to me. I hit two of them to see the acts I want to see. The Texas Flying Legends, Tora Tora Tora, and EAA Warbirds bomber formation on Friday were fantastic. These reminded me of the 1995 “Return to Valor” shows which were the best ever done on that field. Please, please make the Texas Flying Legends an annual part of the show.
The cherry on top for me this year was hearing the Bill Ricketts yodel every morning, even though it is a recording it stirs the childhood memories of beating a path from Camp Scholler to the Warbirds with hopes to get there before the yodeler yelled "Let's Go Get EM!". Jerry Sleger was there again, and I can only hope that when the day comes that he does retire that there is a recording and a memorial to him as well. Walking through the gate and hearing his music are part of what makes Oshkosh Oshkosh.
I still do not like the policy change that it is acceptable to drop your chairs on the flightline at 6:00am and leave them there unattended all day. I keep telling myself to do the same rather than complain, but somehow it just seems so wrong that I cannot bring myself to do it.
Thank you Jack Pelton, EAA staff, volunteers, sponsors, and Hal Bryan for the daily updates. I know the theme was “Only in Oshkosh”, but to me it was Return to Glory, and it felt like the good old days…only better.
I was really impressed by the Sunday airshow! Great to see all of the excellent acts on the last day.
I did see signs on the flightline saying chairs etc. could not be left unattended. I think the people on the scooters patrolling the flightline should remove any unattended items. If official policy allows people to stake out places and leave things unattended, that policy needs to be changed. In addition to being rude, it's a hazard to aviation.
One thing that I think REALLY needs to be done is to ban smoking ANYWHERE on the grounds. I saw numerous cigarette butts on the flightline. If someone wants/needs to smoke, step outside the grounds and indulge; it's not like the grounds are so wide that you can't find an exit fairly close by. And pick up your cigarette butts for crying out loud. I pick up litter when I find it, but I'm not picking up cigarette butts.
Following up on the cigarettes...
There are LOTS of planes (in case you didn't notice.) They mostly use AVGAS. Airplanes fueled up at dusk will demonstrate functioning vent systems by 1 pm the next day. Who is watching things so that people with lit cigarrettes do not move from areas where smoking is allowed to stand next to an airplane venting fuel?
My airplane was in such a state when it was being judged. The fueler left NO room for expansion (when I checked the fuel, it sprayed out of the filler neck as I turned my fuel cap. I would have said "exploded out" which is more descriptive, but an unfortunate choice or words when talking about Avgas.) One judge told me my plane was leaking fuel. When I pointed out it was coming from the vent, he spoke as if it were my fault and noted that although people aren't supposed to smoke near the planes, they might anyway. This indicates that there might be a problem with smoking at AirVenture.
(I am not complaining about the fuel handler. He apparently watched the Mythbusters episode where they "proved" that gasoline does not significantly expand with a rise in ambient temperature.)
But to the point of the thread, AirVenture 2013 was GREAT. Food: MUCH BETTER, Trams: MUCH BETTER -- the only confusion is at the hub by the control tower and at the transportations center, Toilet cleanliness: Better (there was a problem with running out of toilet paper), Entertainment: GREAT; Disney Planes promotion/preview AWESOME idea, although could have been better executed (but that is more likely Disney's fault, not EAA's), College Park: GREAT and I understand will be better yet next year. All in all, I can't think of anything that was not improved from previous years.
One improvement I haven't seen mentioned here was the Pre-/Post-Tram Busing. In prior years it's been hit or miss after the trams quit running, this year the buses ran well. Thanks to whoever got that right.
I agree with others about many other improvements: the new food arrangement was great (the ice cream place near the old soft serve seller was even better), the trams ran well, college park was a good idea, more flush toilets (and I never had a problem finding a grey box when necessary), cheaper water, less obstruction of the flightline with special tents; all these things seem to represent EAA management listening and making the right moves.
My one complaint is about the Jumbotrons and the announcers' constant references to them. At Oshkosh not everybody's at show center and can see the things, but the announcers made you feel like you were missing all the action if you weren't watching it on TV. They shouldn't be necessary in a well designed airshow act anyway. The only time they were really necessary was for Jetman because that was the only way to actually see that lame excuse for an airshow act.
All told, many improvements, my opinion is it was the best Oshkosh show in years.
Agreed. I almost got lynched by an angry crowd at the Hangar cafe stop last year when I was using a six seat golf cart to shuttle the night airshow volunteers to their briefing. The buses/trams were definitely improved.
They definitely could us a sign that says something like "BLUE TRAM SOUTH BOARDS HERE" with a list of places it goes "Ultralights, Amphibs, xfer to Seaplane base" rather than just saying "PIPER TRAM STOP."
RE: trams, I wasn't there, but wondered, did they only have 1 gathering place at the different tram stops, and was hit or miss as to whether it was a north bound or south bound stop?
If so, why not define 2 tram stop lines at each stop. One for southbound, the other for northbound, and clearly marked.
You want to go south, get in a southbound line, and wait for a southbound tram, borthbound, same thing.
Just a thought.
In most places, there are separate spots for each direction. The only place I can think of that there isn't is the far south turn around point of the blue tram.
Originally Posted by I_FLY_LOW
The problem is that in many places, it's not obvious which way the tram is going. While the trams are predominately a north/south thing, there are places where they travel east and west and unless you've got the route memorized, it's not exactly obvious. Then there's the loops they make at the Hangar Cafe terminal and the one at the Control Tower.
Like I said, I wasn't there, so was just curious, thanks!
Jim... I'll be happy to provide more "cherries" for you in years to come... It was my job for many years to get up early and hand Bill Ricketts the microphone and "Crank 'er up!" for him. I have recorded many of his early morning wake-up calls and will be bringing them back to Oshkosh. I'm glad you had a great time! We really have been hard at work keeping Airventure as the "Oshkosh" everyone has known and loved. McGyver
Any chance of making one or some of the recordings available for personal use? Maybe use it awaken the kids?