Photo by Jim
"Things turn out best for the
people who make the best of the way things turn out." - John
Wooden (1910-2010) legendary UCLA basketball coach
EAA President Tom Poberezny used this
apropos quote Saturday as swarms of volunteers and staff worked to
overcome the challenges of setting up and launching AirVenture Oshkosh
2010 after the deluge of storms that DUMPED rain exceeding 10 inches
this month-a record for July.
There was good news: The sun emerged
mid-morning Saturday, winds were aiding the drying process, and with
opening day still two days out, prospects remained excellent for
AirVenture to fulfill its annual promise of flying fun and the
camaraderie of the hundreds of thousands who attend.
Still, the water forced some changes
beyond the many changes that improved the AirVenture grounds.
"The rain has altered what we're
doing and how we're doing it to welcome the world to Oshkosh,"
explained Dick Knapinski, EAA director of communications.
For example, planned mass arrivals of
various aircraft groups fell victim to the conditions. Camp Scholler
remained open to tents, but RVs were routed to a variety of parking lots
in the vicinity of Wittman Regional Airport.
He noted other temporary alterations as
of Saturday: All aircraft camping and parking areas-transient,
homebuilt, vintage, and ultralight, alike-were temporarily closed.
"Protecting the airplanes and the
grounds are the top priorities," Knapinski stressed.
Consequently, ground operations were
restricted to hard surfaces. But officials continued to assess when to
resume normal Oshkosh activities.
Even without weather-enforced changes,
the grounds look and feel different in many different ways.
Steve Taylor: It's all for the better…
As the facilities guy in charge of
planning and executing ground preparations for AirVenture, Steve Taylor
seldom has a slow day for 48 of 52 weeks in a year.
For the remaining four weeks he never
seems to have a slow moment.
The inventory of grounds changes serve as
graphic testimony to the efforts of Taylor, EAA staff, and the hundreds
of energetic, optimistic volunteers.
For example, the new Scotts Warbird
Alley creates an updated venue for the old warriors, the people speaking
for them, and the throngs who crowd in to listen.
There's a new bike trail connecting North
40 aircraft camping to the main entrance gate, eliminating miles of
The North 40 also sports a new permanent
shower near the check-in building to augment an older shower more than a
half-mile to the west.
Other new touches include more flushing
toilets, more access roads through exhibits, and chip sealing the gravel
roads paved to reduce dust and discomfort.
And there's more than planes alone…
People and planes underpin AirVenture,
and this year Oshkosh still plans to play host to a number of notable
- The 75th anniversary of both the
Douglas DC-3 and the Boeing B-17;
- "Salute to Veterans," with
special programs to honor veterans throughout the week;
- Night air show Saturday evening;
- The EAA Fly-In Theater's debut
of the movie Pearl about a real-life woman pilot pioneer;
Live music, from the opening-night Chicago concert to the Lt. Dan
Band (Friday), Asleep at the Wheel (Saturday), the Flying Musicians
Association, and daily lunchtime entertainment at the Brown Arch;
- KidVenture, which returns with more
aviation-oriented activities for the soon-to-be aviators among us;
- A demo of cluster ballooning amid the
50th anniversary of modern hot-air ballooning.