Offers Respite From Heat And Noise At Wittman Regional
The AirVenture Seaplane base has always remained one of the
quietest and most secluded parts of AirVenture, and is often
referred to as the "best kept secret" of Oshkosh. In a sheltered
bay on Lake Winnebago, some of the most unique and beautiful
seaplanes are found floating serenely in the summer sunlight.
Accessible by bus from Wittman field, or by driving the back
roads of Winnebago County, the seaplane base offers a cooler,
quieter respite from the crowded hot ramp at the airport.
The seaplane base typically hosts more than 100 aircraft
during the week of AirVenture, and on any given day various
aircraft may be seen operating. When Aero-News was on site for this
story, a Beaver shared the lagoon with two Piper Cubs on floats -
all headed out on a sunny morning.
The seaplane base has its roots as far back as 1973, when
floatplane pilots coming to Oshkosh landed on the lake and shuttled
over to Wittman Field. Paul Poberezny negotiated with several local
pilots to establish a location for amphibious and straight float
aircraft to arrive and dock for the annual EAA convention and
fly-in. Since the land surrounding the lagoon was largely the
property of the Vette family, the lagoon became known as the Vette
When visitors arrive, the first sign that things are very
different here is the walk from the parking lot. A gravel trail
leads through a canopy of trees to a shaded, secluded lagoon full
of wonderful airplanes. The atmosphere is more laid back, and the
setting is much more intimate. If you are a photographer, be sure
to bring your long lens - there are some opportunities for photos
at the seaplane base that are hard to find elsewhere.
Several small pontoon boats are used to shuttle visitors around
the lagoon to get a closer view of the aircraft and operations at
the base. This proved to be a fantastic opportunity for photos,
especially early in the day. It also provided a unique view of the
seaplane operations and mooring stations.
Lake Winnebago is adjacent to the lagoon, and the city of
Oshkosh is visible in the distance. As you watch aircraft come and
go from the lagoon, it is easy to lose track of time and forget
where you are for just a few moments. The idyllic feel of the
seaplane base was just what the doctor ordered after a few days at
For those seeking a change from the heat, dust, and noise at the
airport, several hours at the seaplane base can prove to be badly
needed therapy. There are plenty of shaded places to sit, vendors
with food and drink, and various aircraft vendors set up around the
lagoon. If you make it to Oshkosh, don't miss a trip to the
AirVenture seaplane base.