EAA AirVenture

AirVenture Gets Off to a Stormy Start

 - July 22, 2019, 6:16 AM
Tower controllers at EAA AirVenture had a more leisurely duty time in the days ramping up to the big show. Storms kept many arrivals at bay, and rain-soaked parking areas had to dry out before the airport could begin to accept the bulk of arrivals. (Photo: Mark Phelps AIN)

The "World’s Busiest Control Tower" at Wittman Field in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was a little slow yesterday, compared with the usual frenetic EAA AirVenture pace. A sequence of severe lines of thunderstorms blitzed on Saturday, causing much of the usual incoming traffic to hunker down en route. The torrential rains also saturated the acres of grass parking grounds to the point that Sunday’s arrivals were limited to aircraft with hard-surface parking slots and those with oversize "tundra" tires. In addition, scores of campers were left waiting at the entrance gates until their reserved campsites dried out on Sunday.

Late yesterday afternoon, EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski told AIN those responsible for reopening the event site were pleasantly surprised with how quickly the post-frontal winds and sunshine were drying everything out. Indeed, the field re-opened for limited arrivals around 4:30 p.m. CDT yesterday, and today, the official opening day of AirVenture, promises busy traffic. More good news: the forecast for the remainder of AirVenture is among the best in recent memory—typical Wisconsin summer fare of temperatures in the mid-80s, low humidity, and smooth, clear skies as far as the eye can see.

Attendance figures are expected to set records. So now that the celestial floodgates have closed, the tsunami of antiques, warbirds, homebuilts, and other aircraft is set to take over.