Popular Parking Area '95 Percent' Usable
by ANN Correspondent Franklin Porath
ANN REALTIME UPDATE 07.27.08 1600 EDT: It's not
that bad. That's the word from EAA's Dick Knapinski, who
told ANN that steady breezes and seasonably pleasant temperatures
have aided in drying out the rain-soaked grounds in the "North
Forty" plane parking area at Wittman Field.
Knapinski says the area is "95 percent" usable, with remaining
soggy patches drying out nicely. The situation should continue to
improve, too, with the forecast calling for a pleasant week ahead
with only a slight chance of rain predicted Tuesday.
Fourteen inches of rain in June plus the usual July Wisconsin
thunderstorms have literally swamped the North Forty aircraft
parking areas at the Experimental Aircraft Association Airventure
2008 convention at Wittman Field in Oshkosh. As recently as
last Sunday, parts of the popular General Aviation aircraft camping
and parking areas were ankle-deep in water, according to Steve
Owen, Assistant Chairman of Parking Operations.
Normally, arriving pilots only see the Flight Line and Parking
Operations flag-people for a few minutes just after they land and
are marshalled to their tie-down spots, and then the crew moves on
as more aircraft arrive. This year the situation is far more
Where there is usually enough area to site over 2,500 airplanes,
as of two weeks ago, only one-quarter to one-third of the North
Forty camping and parking spaces flanking runway 9-27 were usable,
said Sandy Strebel, 21 year volunteer and Co-Chairman of Flight
Line Operations. The choice areas (to some) near the red shower
building, are still saturated, and impassable.
Carol Garceau, Flight Line Operations chairman, said the small
respite on Friday -- when four hours of predicted rainstorms did
not materialize -- allowed more spaces to become usable, and if the
fair weather continues, perhaps 75% of the North Forty may be
available by Wednesday. The situation is handled on a day-today
basis, sometimes hourly, as they continuously scout the grounds to
make sure that people can get in and out, without being stranded in
muck and mud. This still means that many pilots will need to divert
to the surrounding airfields such as Appleton, Fond–du-Lac,
and Green Bay.
The handicapped area, by the Camping Registration is clear,
though. As a reminder, for those pilots who wish to use the
handicapped area, don’t leave your automobile handicapped
parking pass back in the car. Bring it with you for
So for those pilots who may feel disappointed at not being able
to park in their usual Oshkosh spots, please consider, that if you
are fortunate enough to be able to park in the North Forty, that
you are on the high ground.