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Oshkosh 2024: Advice for a first timer?


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I have always wanted to go but never have. This year, I am determined to make the trip. Even if I have to fly commercially. I don't know if I'll have the PPL done by then, but know I don't want to fly into there directly.

 

Any advice for a first timer? Recommended hotels nearby to stay at? Anyone passing through North Georgia on the way up want to swing by 18A for a 180lb expense share?

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Fly in with the Mooney Caravan.  Camp beside your aircraft.  Spend at least 4+ days and take it all in.  Flying in yourself and staying on the grounds will be a WAY different (WAY BETTER) experience than flying commercially and staying in a hotel.

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Here's a version of my packing list.  A couple things I'd recommend: walk through all the vendor warehouses and around the major booths at some point; come with a list of anything you might need to purchase or update (Garmin/AOPA/Foreflight offer a discounts for renewal, Aircraft Spruce offers free shipping no matter the size of the order, Gallagher always has a booth with Whelen goods on sale, etc.); take the Warbird tram through the aircraft and plan to stay on for a bit to listen to the free ride commentary and education; bring lots of sunscreen and a camelback pack is best for on the go hydration (osh has tons of water stations to fill up); if you can stay though Wednesday night you can experience the awesome night show on Wed.

Osh_packing_list.pdf

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I’ve stayed in Fon Du Lac, Appleton even Green Bay. Check Expedia. If you come in Sunday and stay the first couple days it’s easier than trying to get a room the next Fri-Sat-Sun. I’ve gone in commercially to Appleton. I think United goes in from O’Hare and Delta goes in from Minneapolis and maybe Detroit. I’ve landed in Fon Du Lac and caught a shuttle bus over - still a zoo landing though - 2 at at time.

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Commercially there’s Appleton or GreenBay. Both have direct flights from Atlanta via Delta. Both usually have a shuttle available to the airventure grounds.


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It has been a long time since went, but I used the Airventure Lodging service to find a family that was renting out a couple of rooms.  Pastries, coffee and juice in the morning was included.  Air conditioned.

Second year, husband came out to pick me up (was solo that year) and when we got to the house, he tossed me keys to his truck and said he didn't need it for the time I was there and to enjoy.  VERY nice family. 

You do miss out on the evening camping gatherings though

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Done the camping, got soaked once or twice, land in Milwaukee at Timmerman field now, get hotel and rental car there away from the hustle, drive to air venture in one hour in the morning

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On 6/8/2024 at 7:22 AM, Pinecone said:

Second year, husband came out to pick me up (was solo that year) and when we got to the house, he tossed me keys to his truck and said he didn't need it for the time I was there and to enjoy.  VERY nice family. 

Wow!  If I was going every year, I would make next year's reservation with that guy on the spot.

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Be prepared to walk A LOT, I mean really a lot.  I went last year and averaged 8+ miles per day.  Even being there all week, I didn't see it all so don't expect to it's much bigger than you realize, the scale can't really be described.  If there's any way you can get a bike or a scooter to use there, do it.

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13 hours ago, Fly Boomer said:

Wow!  If I was going every year, I would make next year's reservation with that guy on the spot.

I did.  But due to some issues, I did not go back.  Not by choice.

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We've been to AirVenture every year since 1999 except Covid year when they didn't have it and last year.  We've flown in with the Caravan a few times and they were all good experiences.   Very professionally handled!  For ease of entry and exit we fly into Madison and rent a car for the hour and fifteen minute drive to Oshkosh through beautiful farm country.  We've rented the same house for all the years we've attended.  I think the lead was originally gotten through the Tourist Bureau.  If you buy a lifetime EAA Membership you get the perk of using the Oasis, an air-conditioned building on the front line that supplies free drinks, candy, ice cream, tables for sitting, and other goodies to members only.  I wish I had known about it 20 years ago.  I had purchased the lifetime membership a few years earlier, but only accidentally found out about the Oasis last year.

Learn the Tram System, if you want to save yourself miles of walking.  Traffic getting in in the morning is terrible, so plan accordingly.  Some of the discounts could just about pay for your trip, if you were planning on buying stuff like avionics anyway.  I saved thousands on Garmin products when I did my upgrade.  They were giving great rebates when buying multiple products at the time.  I think I got a 20% discount on my Jeppesen subscriptions last time there.

A lot of great dinners or breakfasts from AOPA, SAFE, NAFI, and others.  Hangars A, B, C, D are usually packed, and the Flymart has interesting products.  Of course there's all the airplane exhibits.  Anybody whose anybody in GA displays their products there.

Then there are the many, many seminars given by leading experts in the industry.  They're all listed in the EAA app that's updated yearly.  And don't forget the daily airshows with top performers starting in the early afternoon and the night airshow a couple of nights during the week..

I miss MAPA and Mooney.  We always had a great time meeting Mooney people and sitting around and talking.

Not to be forgotten is the journey itself.  Planning and executing a long cross country trip in our magic Mooney carpet is a good part of the adventure of AirVenture.

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8 hours ago, donkaye said:

We've been to AirVenture every year since 1999 except Covid year when they didn't have it and last year.  

If you were there in 99, did you see the opening day 63 aircraft T-34 formation?

I was flying in that formation.

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7 hours ago, Pinecone said:

If you were there in 99, did you see the opening day 63 aircraft T-34 formation?

I was flying in that formation.

I'm sorry, but I don't remember; too many AirVentures in between.

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I strongly urge the total immersion, camp with the plane experience. Been doing that for 48 years (not every year). So much to take in. I predict  2 things will happen: after 3-4 days you won’t want to leave and return to reality and when you do you will first notice the days just beginning to shorten as summer slides away, you will already be looking forward to next year’s OSH.

On a useful note, I noted last year that the taxi paths were alarmingly not smooth and my empty Mooney was difficult to keep from porpoising. Hadn’t experienced that before.

Fisk arrival: keep the railroad tracks between your legs, mind your altitude and, of course, eyes and ears open.

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1 hour ago, BDPetersen said:

I strongly urge the total immersion, camp with the plane experience. Been doing that for 48 years (not every year). So much to take in. I predict  2 things will happen: after 3-4 days you won’t want to leave and return to reality and when you do you will first notice the days just beginning to shorten as summer slides away, you will already be looking forward to next year’s OSH.

On a useful note, I noted last year that the taxi paths were alarmingly not smooth and my empty Mooney was difficult to keep from porpoising. Hadn’t experienced that before.

Fisk arrival: keep the railroad tracks between your legs, mind your altitude and, of course, eyes and ears open.

 

I have noticed that as well.  I think, and they probably won't do it because the cost would be astronomical I am sure, that they need to regrade the grassy areas that planes taxi on and park and then replant grass.  Over the years with rain and taxiing on softer ground and parking on softer ground, I think the ruts have set in and need to be removed.  Maybe they could just use a steam roller or a heavy roller to try to smooth out the ruts.  But I am sure it is not something the EAA or the airport is willing to spend any money on.

But Oshkosh sure is a heck of a lot of fun and a great experience to be had many times.  I think this will be my 9th or 10th time, not sure.  I used to go into Fond Du Lac and drive over.  That was nice because it is just far enough out to not be too crazy.  I have flown the Fisk arrival a couple of times and that was just nuts unless you go well ahead of opening day.  I now fly in with the Caravan and that has been quite nice.

There is so much to see that when it is over and you come home, you will look back and find things that you missed and wonder how you missed them.

And, a lot of folks put a lot of effort into helping you with your aviation life in the form of forums and workshops to learn new things, new skills or reinforce things you already know.

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2 hours ago, BDPetersen said:

Fisk arrival: keep the railroad tracks between your legs, mind your altitude AND SPEED and, of course, eyes and ears open.

FTFY.

Watching the arrivals last year some people were more than 20 knots off speed.  And no, it was not airspeed versus ground speed, I was comparing ground speeds for airplanes following each other.

Before you fly into Oshkosh, go out and practice flying the altitude and speed as defined in the NOTAM.  And be able to FLY those numbers.

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1 hour ago, Pinecone said:

FTFY.

Watching the arrivals last year some people were more than 20 knots off speed.  And no, it was not airspeed versus ground speed, I was comparing ground speeds for airplanes following each other.

Before you fly into Oshkosh, go out and practice flying the altitude and speed as defined in the NOTAM.  And be able to FLY those numbers.

Not to mention trying to practice spot landings.  While the controllers at Oshkosh give you a little leeway, they really would like you to land on the dot they tell you to.

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I'm thinking of going for the first time during the last 3 days. BUT I don't want to taxi on grass (yeah, diva -- I know... but previous owner had to rebuild nose gear from it and I still had to do some additional repairs bc it wasn't quite right. So my rule is simple: just avoid unnecessary grass - rather be super safe).Does anyone know whether Appleton or Fond du lac are OK in this regard? (like just pushing onto grass to tie down?)

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8 minutes ago, Nico1 said:

I'm thinking of going for the first time during the last 3 days. BUT I don't want to taxi on grass (yeah, diva -- I know... but previous owner had to rebuild nose gear from it and I still had to do some additional repairs bc it wasn't quite right. So my rule is simple: just avoid unnecessary grass - rather be super safe).Does anyone know whether Appleton or Fond du lac are OK in this regard? (like just pushing onto grass to tie down?)

I can only speak for Appleton as I’m based there.   Regardless of what you are flying, at a minimum your mains will be in the grass. Many times they have cirrus/retractables parked with nose wheels on pavement.   In my opinion, Appleton is pretty organized with parking and the ground is pretty packed down. You are parking near the other T hangars on the field which have really good drainage.   

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34 minutes ago, Nico1 said:

I'm thinking of going for the first time during the last 3 days. BUT I don't want to taxi on grass (yeah, diva -- I know... but previous owner had to rebuild nose gear from it and I still had to do some additional repairs bc it wasn't quite right. So my rule is simple: just avoid unnecessary grass - rather be super safe).Does anyone know whether Appleton or Fond du lac are OK in this regard? (like just pushing onto grass to tie down?)

The last time I was in Fond du Lac, the only grass I had to be on was being parked on it.  I then pulled my airplane onto the taxiway to start up.  However, I was parked on a front row right at the edge of the taxiway.  They usually have planes parked multiple rows deep that may mean a short grass taxi.

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2 hours ago, Nico1 said:

I'm thinking of going for the first time during the last 3 days. BUT I don't want to taxi on grass (yeah, diva -- I know... but previous owner had to rebuild nose gear from it and I still had to do some additional repairs bc it wasn't quite right. So my rule is simple: just avoid unnecessary grass - rather be super safe).Does anyone know whether Appleton or Fond du lac are OK in this regard? (like just pushing onto grass to tie down?)

I would say landing on grass is one thing which I avoid for a variety of reasons though do it on occasion.  Taxing on grass though isn’t that bad.  The biggest problem with OSH is keeping the cylinders cool, that concerns me a lot more. 

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3 hours ago, Nico1 said:

I'm thinking of going for the first time during the last 3 days. BUT I don't want to taxi on grass (yeah, diva -- I know... but previous owner had to rebuild nose gear from it and I still had to do some additional repairs bc it wasn't quite right. So my rule is simple: just avoid unnecessary grass - rather be super safe).Does anyone know whether Appleton or Fond du lac are OK in this regard? (like just pushing onto grass to tie down?)

I’ve been going to Green Bay since the 1980’s and it takes most turmoil out of the venture. The toughest thing is getting a rental car, need almost a year in advance reservation plus they have a casino for night time if you want.

D

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