Looking At Oshkosh In The Calm Before The Storm
By Tom Patton
The bad news is, it has been raining. The good news is, for the
moment, it has stopped, and the forecast is for better weather for
the early part of next week in central Wisconsin, and only a chance
of showers and thundershowers later on. Of course, weather
forecasting in the Midwest in the summertime seems to be almost as
much art as science, but we've got our hopes high for an
improvement in the weather.
Still, this has already become one of
the iconic pictures of AirVenture 2010 as the early arrivals move
their airplanes into position and set up their tents. While it may
seem trite to put a "No Wake" sign in the middle of the road, it
certainly is a courtesy for those who may be nearby. With the ANN
Headquarters in Florida, the only thing that's missing is the
"Manatee Protection Zone" sign.
Because the grounds have been so soggy, many of the
early-arriving aircraft are lined up along the main taxiway which
parallels runway 18-36 at Wittman Regional Airport. EAA spokesman
Dick Knapinski told us in a casual conversation Saturday morning
that it's "something you won't see every year." Unfortunately, many
of the mass arrivals of aircraft have not been able to take place,
including the Piper Cherokees, which are celebrating the 50th
anniversary of that venerable airplane.
Still, the show must go on, and go on it will. The work of
setting up the tents and displays is well underway all over the
grounds of the airport. Most are just about completed by now, with
the show officially opening Monday morning, but some are just
The airplanes, too, are being prepped for the show. Some, like
this Flight Design CTLS, are in "some assembly required" mode.
Some are coming in on trailers, like this Icon A5 which turned a
lot of heads, and picked up some advance orders, at last year's
show. Pull it to the lake like a boat on a trailer, but it might be
a challenge to pull a water-skier once it became airborne. Let's
not give any ideas to the kite surfers.
As other airplanes land at Wittman Regional, they need to be
moved into place by hand by some of the hundreds of volunteers
around the airport. This sight is a common one in the days leading
up to the show, and there is a ballet that goes on in AeroShell
Square during the course of the week, as airshow airplanes are
moved from their parking places to the active taxiway. For now,
though, they are all being moved into place.
So, as the water from several days of rain recedes, preparations
for AirVenture 2010 are proceeding as they would in any year. The
staff has made accommodations as best they can to work around the
weather, and things may just dry out and cooperate. Hope we'll see