Checking Out EAA AirVenture—Day 0

By Scott Spangler on July 28th, 2010

For the decade I’ve lived just outside of Oshkosh, my favorite excursion of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh always takes place on Day 0. Otherwise known as setup up day, this year was little different, all because of the weather.

To say we’ve had a little rain is an understatement. In just July more than  10 inches has fallen, breaking a record set in 1912. Water has always been a problem during the 30-plus years I’ve been tramping around the grounds, but the subterranean system EAA installed in and around the exhibit areas worked great!

That doesn’t help the outlying areas where 10,000 airplanes park and campers numbering into five figures live for the week. The mass arrivals of Cessna, Bonanzas, Mooneys, and Cherokees didn’t happen, and the North 40 was barren on Day 0, aside from a few campers on the high ground at the west end.

But the sun was out all day, and EAA was doing its best to dry things out, so why don’t you take a (silent) walk with me…and end up at the Sonex Aircraft open house for a look at the Hornet’s Nest updates on the SubSonex jet,  now a three-wheeler, and the single-seat Sonex, the Onex.  If you’d like to take a photographic stroll with me, click more…

AV0-20 In deference to what once was, I start at the Brown Arch, the primary portal to the magical creations on the flight line on my first trip to Oshkosh in 1978.

AV0-4 From the main gate I took off down the walkway to forums. Passing the Cessna outdoor exhibit, it was dry, meaning the subterranean drainage system EAA installed works.

AV0-9 With their higher weight and narrow tires, the warbirds were right to wait before moving into Fightertown.

AV0-10 Here’s a group hoping for dry weather. Set up since Thursday, they were just about dried out. The CAP helps set up general purpose tents in the background.


AV0-19 This Bell 47 spent the better part of an hour at 12 to 18 inches as it tried to dry the turf ramp where the EAA Ford Tri-Motor loads and unloads its paying passengers.

AV0-7 The homebuilt parking and camping area was almost empty, with a lone RV and some campers back on higher ground.


Beware of the Canada Geese! With few neighbors in vintage camping, all should be safe for a while.

AV0-22Seeking the source of what sounded like a turbojet getting ready to launch, I found not and airplane but this puddle sucker,

AV0-27 Despite the soggy conditions, camper spirits are strong and happy. After skipping his way across this muddy access to Camp Scholler, this guy celebrated not slipping with a happy yee-haw!

AV0-35 Out of the frame, the small pickup is stuck in the mud. On flipped-up back window of its shell is "OSH or Bust!" Neighbors from the next campsite helped the couple wrestle their popup camper into position.

AV0-40 The AirVenture flight lines and aircraft camping areas were mostly empty. I found the flying machines and their campers set up in every nook, cranny, and open space around Wittman Regional Airport’s two FBOs, Basler and Orion.

AV0-41 Attending my inaugural Sonex Aircraft Open House, I had no reference for a good turnout. But there were a number of well-built airplanes and a bunch of happy people there!

AV0-45 A new three-wheeler, the SubSonex jet will soon be ready to resume its flight test program.

AV0-51 The prototype Onex, a single-seat Sonex, is approaching its first flight. Peeking in the cockpit, it seems that I might fit, which is something designer John Monnett promised. After AirVenture, I’ll have to stop by for a fitting.

AV0-36 PS: Technology is sometimes grand, sometimes it’s like wallowing in the mug. This post was supposed to be up Monday morning, with a nice slide show. That didn’t work, nor did the video conversion of the slideshow. After our inability to solve the problem, we punted. But not trying something new was something we never considered. –Scott Spangler

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