View Full Version : Oshkosh Airshow Help!

07-20-2005, 11:24 PM
Hi folks,

I'm planning on going to Oshkosh this coming week. I've never been before and need some help, I'm guessing someone here has been before.

What is the best day to go?
Where is a good spot to observe?
What kind of activities should I expect? Other than what's on their website.

Thanks for any suggestions/help

07-21-2005, 11:29 AM
friday i believe is the warbird show, which is by far the best. not sure what else. GLACIER girl will be their along with many many other ww2 planes

07-21-2005, 01:09 PM
I€ve been going for many years, so hopefully I can help with some of the main aspects of it.

Think of it as sort of a very big county fair-type setting...very informal and everyone there is very friendly and helpful...staff as well as visitors.

Overall it€s a family oriented sort of thing with events occurring all the time all over the grounds: lectures or speeches by famous folks, clinics for kids, helicopter rides, etc. These are posted on the AirVenture forum, so if there€s a particular sort of thing you want to see or do, you€ll know when & where it will take place.

Where to Stay
To stay overnight somewhere can be a problem if you€re looking for a hotel room€¦€¦they all reserve rooms for EAA personnel and are completely booked. That said, camping is always available, so that would be the way to go if you intend to stay overnight.

This year€s show goes on for a week. As such, not all planes are there on all days although most stay for the majority of the time. During the week, you€ll see planes constantly coming and going. You€ll also see the vast majority of them in flight at different times and on different days....this really varies. No matter what day you go, you€ll see just about every type of plane you can imagine. With respect to private planes (most warbirds) there€s really no way to know which planes will be there on what day, but special planes are usually denoted on the website. No matter, I guarantee, you won€t be disappointed in what you€ll find on any day...hundreds and hundreds of them every day.

The place is huge€¦€¦. In this regard, if you have multiple interests, you won€t be able to see and do all the different sorts of things available in a single day. As well, be prepared to do A LOT of walking!!

Weather also plays a major part in this and it€s usually (mid to high 80€s and even 90€s is common) VERY, VERY hot!! As such, there€s little shade available in between the main areas of the grounds, so be prepared by dressing properly: sunscreen is essential, sunglasses, hats, etc. Food and drink is available on the grounds, but since these areas are spread out, you might not be near one when you want/need something. Also, it€s not outrageously expensive, but it€s not cheap either....I always carry a back pack with some food and above all else....water. Another aspect of the weather is rain. In the Midwest, when temperatures are soaring, strong summer storms are common and can occur unexpectedly. Check the weather reports daily for this. Also, be prepared for this especially if you€re camping.

There is ample parking most everywhere. The difference is price...the closer you are to the grounds, the more expensive it is.

Areas of Interest:
EAA Main Building
The first thing you€ll see as you enter the grounds is the main building of the EAA. It€s much like a museum and is the main building from which shuttle busses come and go to take you to the various sites around the grounds....very helpful, but be prepared for long lines and give yourself plenty of time to get from one area to another if you€re trying to be at a specific place at a specific time.

Pioneer Hanger (I think this is the name€¦.)
Across the field from the main building are a set of hangars which contain many historical planes: mostly early stuff...late 1900€s, up to about 1940. This is also the area where helicopter rides are given.

Plane Parking
There are several huge areas where planes park. Most are only accessible after you enter the main gate, and others, before it. In these areas, (especially beyond the main gates) they€re fairly well divided into types...warbirds, experimental, private ones of all kinds. Incidentally, you€ll see just about every kind of plane imaginable. You can walk around and up to all of them and almost all the owners are very good about letting you approach them and will readily discuss them with you. You can easily spend a full day in this area alone just looking and talking to the owners/pilots.

Main Area:
To get to this area, you have to go through the main gates and pay the admission fee. This year, there€s a daily and weekly pass rate. The daily charge is $40.00 per day per person...check the website for exact charges & more info. (They also vary depending upon if you€re an EAA member.)

Once through the gates, you€ll see a sort of hogde podge of planes all around...no particular separation of them by type or year; current military aircraft, to vintage, to new. You can spend quite a bit of time here, but beyond this area, planes are then divided into types, along with exhibits, demonstrations, etc.

Flight Line
The main flight line is on the far end of the grounds. This is where all the air shows are done and it€s first come, first served seating. Air shows usually begin everyday at about 3:00PM, so if there€s a particular event you want to see...up close...you€ll need to be in that area early.

This is about all I can think of off the top of my head. As I think of other things, I€ll post them. Feel free to ask any other specific questions and I€ll do my best to answer them.

Oh...a word about the Warbirds airshow.....
On this day, they coordinate them all for formations, fly-bys and even some one on one racing and mock D/F's, ground attacks. I can tell you that one of the most spectacular things I have EVER seen is this.......dozens and dozens of them all formed up doing fly-bys. Absolutely unbelievable.....

That said, if you can't make it on that day, you'll still see many of them flying on and off throughout the week everyday.

As mentioned, you'll need the daily entrance fee. If you don't bring any food or drink with you, you'll need money for that as well. The costs for this are about the same as at any ballpark if that helps to give you an idea.

Parking is anywhere from $5.00 a day for the further out lots, up to I think $15.00 (tops) for the closer lots.

Most are free. However, like anywhere, several exhibits may charge a few dollars for miscellaneous things, and of course, they will commonly sell items like T-Shirts, books, etc. Most of the more famous planes also charge a small fee (usually $2.00 to $5.00 to go through them. I'd recommend doing at least a B-17 or B-25....they're vastly different in real life than what you imagine from any pictures or even movies.....much more cramped and even dangerous just to get around in (bombay doors when open, gun turrets, etc.) with space being at a premium.

Lastly in this regard, the small donations they request per plane generally goes for maintenance to keep them flying....WELL worth the few measly dollars they ask.

For the thrill of a lifetime, if you can afford it, you can take about a half an hour ride on a B-17...(it's usually Fuddy Duddy since Aluminum Overcast is temporarily out of commission.) I believe the cost is (non-EAA member) $400.00, but you have to make reservations in advance. Another nice thing about this is that they generally tour the country and there are several cities where you can do this. Check the EAA website for more info.

For a more affordable experience, helicoptor rides are also available, although considerably shorter. If I recall correctly, it costs about $50.00 for about 12 minutes. The big upside to this is that you can see the entire EAA grounds from above, which during the show, is a pretty awesome sight.

07-21-2005, 01:34 PM
Excellent post there Capt Pepper http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

07-21-2005, 04:17 PM
I guess i am not invited, right Mutt http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Make some pictures http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

07-21-2005, 06:02 PM
Nice post Capt. Pepper, although you may have talked me out of going. It's gonna be a scorcher here next week, I just spent last weekend in 90+ degree sun for 2 days about 9 hours each day. I don't think I could handle it again.

Thanks for the info. though.

07-21-2005, 08:04 PM
You're welcome, Sir.

I would only add this before you make your final decision....

If WWII Warbird-era planes are your primary interest for wanting to attend, the main reason to go is this: every year, there are fewer and fewer of these aircraft. Although there are still hundreds that come in, I can't begin to tell you how few there are now, compared to when I first started going in the early 70's. Still, you will see more of them at one time at this show than you will anywhere else. To the best of my knowledge, it's the biggest in the country.

With this in mind, it appears that time is allegedly running out for the older planes. I'm not an authority on the subject and there are surely others on this forum who know more about it, but the following is my understanding of it. There are new FAA regulations which will soon serve to further limit the number of these planes from being able to make the trip: it has to do with their new definition of a "flyable" condition, coupled with the overall age. This ties into insurance which effects every owner, but will obviously hit the Warbirds the hardest. Sadly, unless something has changed about which I am unaware, this will greatly take a toll on every event of this kind.

As for Oshkosh, yes, the sun can certainly be a factor and I hate that kind of heat as well. But for a day or two, if you come prepared, I find it's pretty easy to minimize the problems.

To me and my kids, it's worth it, but I sure do understand how you feel about the heat. Whatever your decision, I hope as many of us can make it as possible. I'll try and post as many pictures as I can.

07-21-2005, 08:23 PM
Dont let a little bit of heat turn ya off from going. Have gone for the past 4 years and even though it was hot it didnt take anything away from the experience.

Seeing and hearing the engines in the warbirds has got to be one of the highlights and the airshow at the end of the day is outstanding.

With that said ill be there thursday

07-21-2005, 09:52 PM
from some1 who got a mild case of heat stroke in 89 at the CAF show at HArlengin tx, get in the shade if possible during airshow routines that youre not particularly interested in, and wear a HAT, take plenty of water, and use strong sunscreen. ive been doing this for aobut 20 yrs, photographing everything that i was interested in. also, take some toilet paper in your pocket for obvious reasons...ive yet to find one of those god-awful porta-potties that had any toilet paper, which is the most useful invention of mankind next to airplanes and firearms (and cameras).

and TAKE A GOOD CAMERA with the biggerst lens possible and take some pics, with the sun behind you...that takes a little work sometimes. Dont waste your film/memory card on stuff youre not that interested in.

i got sick from the heat/sun during my first trip to Harlingen in 89, thougt i had to have a front line seat, stood in the sun for no less than 8 hrs (Loooong shows the CAF had back then). i got sick and missed the last day of the show in my lousy hotel room.

the next yr, i dindt try to get up front...you dont need to, since you can get back a ways from the main crowd and get equal results, since they are flying above the crowd. if you want to see stuff taxi past, go the day befoer everything starts.

when an civilian display that i wasnt that fascinated with started, i got in the shade of an aircraft, usually an EC-135 AWACS wing. then id come out and photograph/watch what i wanted. i was just fine, no problems.

just some experiences wiht airshows in general, especially big ones.