Getting ready for the adventure of your aviation career at EAA AirVenture Fly-in and Convention at Oshkosh, Wisconsin should be worry free and fun-filled and if you follow these ten pro tips (courtesy of my pilot boyfriend who recently travelled there), you will save money and your energy after arriving.
Once you’ve landed at Oshkosh and set up camp, you’re going to be pleased but overwhelmed by the number of planes and crowds at the events. It’s all worth it! This annual event celebrates all things aviation and as a pilot you’re going to feel like you went to heaven. Here are a few tips to keep in mind before you arrive to keep you from breaking your bank and help you reserve energy.
- Get the official downloadable map and use the trams and buses. Pro Tip: EAA volunteers ride around in golf carts and for a one dollar tip they will take you anywhere you want to go within reason. Proceeds go to the EAA Young Eagles Program. To take a load off, locate where vendors are selling massage chairs and sit in one for a rejuvenating massage for a up to fifteen minutes.
- Air shows are four hours long so bring a chair or blanket to sit on. Some people even bring a little wagon to tote their belongings, an ideal choice for families. Also, bring an umbrella to block the sun and a lot of water to stay hydrated during the show. Sit center stage in front of the Boeing Plaza for the best viewpoint. Arrive early in the week to EAA to cash in on free schwag from t-shirts to toy airplanes. Pro Tip: On the EAA app you can listen to the air show so bring a portable speaker in case you’re in an area to watch the show that lacks speakers. Download the live ATC app and you’ll be able to listen to the air show performers and air traffic control.
- Don’t miss the night air show that includes fireworks and something called The Wall of Fire. Pro Tip: There are long lines at tram stops before an air show. Get to a tram stop at least an hour in advance of its departure.
- Ask a tram operator when they are giving the next educational tour because you can learn about the ongoing events and festival history while on board to your destination. Pro tip: You will still do a considerable amount of walking while at Oshkosh. Pack comfortable walking shoes and clothes for various weather temperatures. You’ll be glad you packed a light weight jacket for outdoor evenings in Wisconsin.
- There are multiple grocery tents, specifically set up for campers, where you can pick up any supplies you need from camping tools to snacks. Pro Tip: Bring a water bottle from home for each person. You can fill them up at water trucks on the grounds. School buses will take you to a nearby Target store in case you need to pick up supplies.
- Showers always have hot water and you don’t have to wait. Pro Tip: Wear shower shoes and bring your own toiletries including a towel.
- Fuel is a reasonable price. Pro Tip: If you need to fuel up the plane, just flag down a passing fuel truck.
- Famous aviation personalities will be on site. All the famous YouTube aviators you would hope to see and the occasional celebrity/pilot are also there to take in the action of EAA. You’ll definitely want to get in line early for meet-and-greets, autograph signings, and book signings. Pro Tip: Take business cards with you because you’re going to meet many pilots and want to connect with them later. You never know, you just might meet someone from NASA or a pilot who flies for celebrities.
- Download the festival schedule so you can plan your day. If you just “wing” it, you won’t efficiently use your time and miss out on learning opportunities. You can sit in on classes on topics such as building an experimental plane or using aviation cell phone apps. Take advantage of the free practice time in one of the many simulators on site. Pro Tip: Follow your favorite aviator on social media and take note of their schedule and booth number so you can stop by and visit them.
- Earplugs are a necessity at Oshkosh. If you hope to catch shut-eye after a long night of fun, you’re going to need them. Pro Tip: Because campers are located so close to one another, buy wax earplugs to drown out the noise from snorers and airplanes. The nearby runway becomes busy at 6am each morning.
We hope you appreciate the pro tips for you trip to next year’s EAA AirVenture Fly-In and Convention at Oshkosh. You’re going to have an amazing experience, one a pilot never forgets.
Share any tips you may have in the comments section below.