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Thread: Airventure - Bigger is not better

  1. #1

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    Airventure - Bigger is not better

    I cringe when EAA leaders say they are looking for ways to make Airventure bigger and better. Growth for growth’s sake is counterproductive. It creates an even more competitive aspect to actually getting on the grounds.

    If everything and everyone is thrown into a tizzy when bad weather happens or there is an incident at the airport, the infrastructure or the system to get onto the airport both in the air and on the ground is already overloaded even though the grounds seem to be able to handle the crowds on foot. The movers and shakers at EAA need to experience the competition to get there first-hand to understand it. It reminds me of life in a big city where it seems most everyone has their special deal to ease life’s angst.

    Here’s a case is point. On another forum website, in recounting his OSH experience, one pilot bragged about being able to fly into and out of OSH several times during the event without any problems. The accompanying photo of a T-28 said it all. He had his special deal as he didn’t have to compete to find a time to fly the Fisk arrival when he could reasonably expect to land at OSH without being diverted or delayed by someone with a higher priority like mass arrivals, early starting airshows, or overly long airshows.

    Also, with the proximity of the warbird campground, he likely didn’t need to worry about slogging through Camp Scholler to get to his campsite and could camp with friends who drove in and then, as a bonus, have his plane parked nearby. He had his deal.

    Other issues where the average attendee have to compete are:

    1. Booking a hotel or dorm room a year or more in advance at triple the normal rate and risk financial loss if they can’t follow through.
    2. If you drive in, you’d best plan to get to the blue lot by 0730 or you’re in for at least a 1/2 mile walk just to get to an admission gate from other lots.

    The added stress of the competitive aspect of just getting onsite is beginning to eclipse the onsite enjoyment, because it has become such a pain in the rear to get there. Because of the Wittman Airport layout, it's basically one way in and one way out both in the air and on the ground. EAA leaders need to address those competitive aspects because bigger is not necessarily better and the stress of dealing with those issues doesn’t make for very good vacation no matter how much your enjoy aviation.

    As a builder of an RV-7A in 2005, I don’t feel any more welcome at the event than your average Cessna pilot. In times past, showplanes had some priority. But, no more. The attitude is “Let’s make room for everybody!” There isn’t room for everybody.
    Last edited by hunter; 08-01-2019 at 06:44 PM.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter View Post
    As a builder of an RV-7A in 2005, I don’t feel any more welcome at the event than your average Cessna pilot. In times past, showplanes had some priority. But, no more. The attitude is “Let’s make room for everybody!” There isn’t room for everybody.[/FONT][/COLOR]
    Did you notice that homebuilt parking and homebuilt camping were both open Sunday afternoon and Monday, whereas a lot of the vintage and GA stuff wasn't? I'm guessing that was a version of off-the-record priority. I appreciated it when I landed my RV-6 at about 7:40 on Sunday evening.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Boatright View Post
    Did you notice that homebuilt parking and homebuilt camping were both open Sunday afternoon and Monday, whereas a lot of the vintage and GA stuff wasn't? I'm guessing that was a version of off-the-record priority. I appreciated it when I landed my RV-6 at about 7:40 on Sunday evening.
    no, those areas had restrictions because they were swamps from the Friday & Saturday rains. No big conspiracy unless it was God

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Boatright View Post
    Did you notice that homebuilt parking and homebuilt camping were both open Sunday afternoon and Monday, whereas a lot of the vintage and GA stuff wasn't? I'm guessing that was a version of off-the-record priority. I appreciated it when I landed my RV-6 at about 7:40 on Sunday evening.
    Having flown into ATW and driven into OSH on Sunday, vast areas of vintage and the north 40 south of runway 27 were waterlogged and therefore, unused. Only 1 of the 4 mass arrivals got in on Saturday. If homebuilt was waterlogged and unusable, I highly doubt you would have been given any priority over other "GA stuff". Sounds like you got lucky by getting in just before closing time. Luck is not a planning strategy.

  5. #5
    Jeff Point's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle Boatright View Post
    Did you notice that homebuilt parking and homebuilt camping were both open Sunday afternoon and Monday, whereas a lot of the vintage and GA stuff wasn't? I'm guessing that was a version of off-the-record priority. I appreciated it when I landed my RV-6 at about 7:40 on Sunday evening.
    If it makes you feel better Kyle, then yes it was. Actually, the reality is that the ground in most of Homebuilt parking and camping is some of the highest, driest ground on the airport and we are in better shape the most after significant rain events. We actually could have taken a few hundred aircraft on Saturday/ early Sunday, and while it was frustrating, I understand and support the decision not to open the field to anyone until other areas were open.
    Jeff Point
    RV-6 and RLU-1 built & flying
    Tech Counselor, Flight Advisor & President, EAA Chapter 18
    Milwaukee, WI
    "It All Started Here!"

  6. #6
    DaleB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mc20 View Post
    no, those areas had restrictions because they were swamps from the Friday & Saturday rains. No big conspiracy unless it was God
    It's just proof that God loves Experimentals.
    Measure twice, cut once...
    scratch head, shrug, shim to fit.

    Flying an RV-12. Building a Fisher Celebrity.

  7. #7

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    Jul 2012
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    With GA shrinking rapidly, we should welcome any attempt to get more people interested. It will be challenging to plan and implement the infrastructure on the grounds, but well worth it if new people coming to Oshkosh decide to start taking flight lessons or decide to start a home-built. I continuously recruit people to come to Oshkosh. I can usually get 2-3 new ones to come each year. We've been coming for the last 21 years. We don't get any deals. For that one week of the year, I am fine with some headaches in camping/walking/waiting/sloshing.

    As a side note, a guy in a Cessna 180 parked next to me in the North 40 flew out and back at least 4 times during the week to retrieve more food/camping supplies. If the field is "full" when you return, will the controllers let you in if you have already been there?

  8. #8

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    Aug 2017
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    While it does bug me that special aircraft like war planes get priority handling, it's just the fact of life in aviation. Same goes for flying IFR, if you are flying a Cessna 150 you will be the last on the list to get where you want if it conflicts with airplanes that are faster and burning more fuel.

    It is TOTALLY RIDICULOUS that there are 10 acres of campers behind vintage in prime aircraft parking. They are turning away people for parking on Tuesday and yet you have campers parked in the infield.

  9. #9
    Low Pass's Avatar
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    Jul 2014
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    Oshkosh is a big general aviation festival. The days of it being an experimental fly in are long gone. And I'm just fine with that. With the larger scale, we get more and different entertainment. Attract more potential pilots, manufacturers and vendors. I can't see the show growing a whole lot more physically. There is an improvement opportunity on the larger scale with moving people. This would be an interesting project to study.
    Bryan

    Houston

  10. #10
    Lucky best describes my experience arriving to HBC on the Thursday before the skies opened up. The turf was in great shape before the rain and surprisingly after... just a little soft. My wife and I felt for everyone who wasn't as fortunate and had to hold in limbo at area fields just waiting for good news so they could fire up and make a run for Fiske. North 40 filled completely up when we went to dinner... so many planes and the EAA grounds crews just hung in there and got people into their tiedowns as quickly as possible. Tireless individuals those ground guys.. Warbirds on the other hand... T-6's taking liberty with their status throughout the show just coming and going... the noise alone got old on day 2 and I'm an airplane guy! I like the yoedler waking me up everyday in HBC. That tradition (if it is one), should never stop.

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