(Lead Photo Courtesy of Connor Madison)
As the topic for my Editor’s Briefing a few years ago, I penned a piece called “10 Reasons Why You Should Go to Oshkosh This Year.” Being perennially passionate about general aviation’s biggest celebration, the article was inspired by my efforts to convince my spouse to make the trek to Wisconsin.
This being my 26th year since my first journey to AirVenture Oshkosh, I’d like to offer up an alternative list. Here are my 10 reasons why you should NOT attend AirVenture Oshkosh 2018.
The Fisk Arrival. The starting point of the AirVenture Oshkosh VFR arrival can be a hair-raising experience for the uninitiated. If you were not lucky enough to obtain an IFR arrival, you may find yourself in the queue with a variety of aircraft types with vastly different performance profiles. Most important point: download and carefully review the NOTAM. Even if you arrive IFR, Oshkosh is a beehive when conditions are VFR and you will find yourself in the mix aiming for your assigned colored dot. Successfully navigate the Fisk Arrival and you will have the honor of being able to say you did it. And have a story to tell for the next seven days at the show.
Watching OSH arrivals makes you nervous. Once you are on the ground, one of the most entertaining and best-kept secrets at AirVenture is watching arrivals. Take a walk to the flight line Monday morning and you will find droves of nice people sitting in their chairs, fresh coffee in hand, watching as dozens of aircraft stream in to the airfield. Watching the arrivals while listening to the tower frequency doubles the fun. Sometimes a landing gets sporty or there is a go-around. Everyone prays that no one gets hurt and nothing gets bent. Still, it’s the best bonus entertainment your wristband can buy.
My future airplane might spot me. And start singing its siren song to me. For those interested in checking out the offerings from Textron Aviation, Piper, Daher, Embraer, Pilatus and every other manufacturer under the sun, AirVenture Oshkosh is the place to sit in the pilot’s seat of the newest aircraft on the market. I love my current aircraft and have no intention of trading up, so I’m not listening. Really, I’m not.
Too many opportunities to spend money. Everywhere you turn, there are newer, nicer, faster gadgets, gizmos, tools and toys. In fact, there are four hangars’ full plus acres of exhibits. Like offering heroine to an addict, it’s hard to say no. Ask me, I know. Last year, I was resolute to NOT spend money, and somehow came home with a new tug from Best Tugs. Is it the best tug I’ve ever owned? Of course, but that’s beside the point.
All that walking. For a girl with a hip replacement and the other needing replacement, this is no stroll in the park. The length of the massive convention site is at least 20 miles. I’m exaggerating – it’s actually more like 5.2 miles. Fortunately, it is the most entertaining walk on earth with so many aircraft to view, from vintage to warbirds to experiementals and everything in between. Plus, you’ll have major bragging rights when you review your Fitbit results at the end of the day.
Airshow overload. The daily air show at AirVenture Oshkosh features many of the world’s outstanding aerobatic performers, including my favorites Sean Tucker, Kirby Chambliss, Mike Goulian and Patty Wagstaff. Their jaw-dropping performances never get old, and result in hours of neck-craning at the skies above Oshkosh. It’s hard to get my shopping, talking and walking done when I’m constantly having to stop and watch the airshow.
Too many friendly people. AirVenture attracts more than a half-million people over its seven-day run. Many of them are owner-pilots, just like you. And most of them are nice, just like you. You may find yourself engrossed in conversation with any one of them while sitting in the new M600, drooling over Garmin’s new flat-panel offerings or shopping for a new tug. The bad news is that the great conversation with your new friends may drown out the siren song of your new aircraft calling you. But one thing it won’t drown out: the Jet Waco “Screamin’ Sasquatch.” Nothing drowns that out.
SOS Brothers Beer Tent. What’s a person to do after a long day of walking, shopping, and neck-craning? Oftentimes it involves a trip to the SOS Brothers Beer Tent for a cold refreshment and a fresh, roasted corn-on-the-cob. You’ll most likely meet old friends and the new ones you made at the Garmin and Piper booth. Oftentimes that results in missing your ride back to the hotel and making you late to dinner. It can be a stressful choice, but thankfully only comes around once a year at AirVenture Oshkosh.
The weather. With Wisconsin weather, you know what you’re going to get: heat, sun, humidity, clouds, cold, rain and wind. You just don’t know in what order and when. (We’d all like to forget Sloshkosh 2010.) But hey, it’s summertime in Oshkosh! More often than not, Oshkosh offers up temperatures in the low 80s and sunny weather – 2017 was a prime example with near-perfect conditions six out of seven days. The best strategy is to roll with it and be prepared for whatever Mother Nature serves up.
Too much to see in too little time. Unlike Vegas, three days is never enough. There is so much to see and experience that it’s easy to devote the entire week to this huge airshow. Even then, it’s nearly impossible to see everything. But there’s always next year.
Despite this list, will you be at Oshkosh this year? If so, come say hello and tell me about all the gizmos you resisted purchasing. I’ll be hanging out at the MMOPA tent near Piper. See you there!