EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is an overdose of aviation happiness. To avoid the pain (sunburn, swollen feet, and locked-up brain caused by information overload) of trying to do and see it all, a week before I make plans, keeping track of everything in Outlook and then printing out daily schedules.
Being a long-time denizen of aviation publishing, I’m on a lot of media lists, so I start there. It may be my imagination, but in our current economic smack down it seems the number of debut announcements is down. One I won’t miss, however, is the arrival of the Icon A5 LSA at 1030 on Monday, 7.27, and its Seaplane Base demonstration between 1000 and 1200 on Friday, 7.31.
EAA’s website makes planning a snap. Browsing schedule, I add eye-catching press conferences, like the Aircraft Diesel Manufacturers Association at 1400 on Thursday, 7.30, to my schedule. I do the same with the forum and workshop schedule. Always curious about Aerial Firefighting, I’ll be at the Honda Forum 7 main stage at 1430 on Tuesday, 7.28. I haven’t missed the FAA Administrator session in decades, so it’s on the schedule for 1130 on Thursday, 7.30.
Along the way I add daily events, like the arrivals and demos of flying machines not often seen, like the Airbus A380, Erickson Skycrane, and White Knight II, aka Eve. Also part of the plan is catching up with friends I see here once a year, like Hal Weekley, a World War II B-17 pilot who flew the EAA’s Flying Fortress into the 21st century. He’s the author of an excellent book, Last of the Combat B-17 Drivers, and I’ll find him at the WearHouse’s author corner.
Investing the better part of day to decide what I want to see, do, and learn about at AirVenture gives me the feeling of control, even through I know better. I always remember the words of Dwight David Eisenhower (who never attended AirVenture, but who learned to fly while stationed in Philippines before World War II): “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
In other words, stuff happens. I’ll stumble over something interesting and follow it instead of my plan. So far, this has always worked out for the best. For example, last year my friends and I discovered that my favorite brewpub, Appleton’s Stone Cellar, serves savory, succulent $1 burgers on Wednesday nights. This year we’ll know to save time by ordering three or four right off the bat. At least that’s the plan, if my wife will again agree to drive. — Scott Spangler
PS: We all be hanging out at the JetWhine/MyTransponder Social Media get together at 2000 Thursday, 7.30, in the (ground-bound) RV parking area. Either Rob Mark or I will post more details once the land yacht is moored.