AirVenture Still A Go

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Large-scale events have been canceled or postponed around the world, EAA is still preparing for AirVenture to go ahead as planned in late July. EAA’s Dick Knapinski says that AirVenture “is going on as planned. We’re watching things and keeping in touch with health officials. But four months away it’s too far away to make a decision. I think anyone who thinks they know how this is going to go probably has some bad information. Nobody knows at this point.” The association’s Hops & Props event was canceled last week, and the Ford Tri-Motor tour has been suspended until at least mid-April.

The challenge, quite beyond where the country will be in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic, has to do with the size of surrounding events and the logistical lead-in time required. There are large semi-competing events like the Indy 500 whose schedule might have to shift, as well as the Democratic National Convention slated for the week before OSH in Milwaukee that would impact the availability of housing, flights and rental cars in the area. Currently, Major League Baseball is planning to delay the start of the season until at least Memorial Day.

AirVenture is, by itself, a massive undertaking, with thousands of staff, volunteers and local businesses touched by the event. Many pilots plan their whole summer schedule around the show. Summing up, Knapinski said that EAA is “looking at it like any major public event, but we’re also planning for a full event.”

AirVenture is scheduled for July 20-26. Oshkosh 2020 is said to have a number of improvements from last year. These include “easier access and departure from the AirVenture grounds; reducing areas of vehicle/pedestrian conflict within the grounds; and improved shuttle service from public lots to the main gate,” according to EAA.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. “easier access and departure from the AirVenture grounds”
    This is what EAA says, and yet they’ve CLOSED the Blue Lot to all but the ‘special people’ that used to park perfectly well within the grounds. The Blue Lot is what I’ve used FOREVER; all you had to do was get up early enough and you were parked right next to the main gate. Then, if you needed to get back to your car to drop off something you purchased it was a quick walk. Now you have to spend 45 minutes to take a shuttle. And I hate to think how crowded that shuttle is going to be at the end of the airshow. How is that “easier access”?
    I’m seriously considering never attending again.
    (Sorry, I know this wasn’t the subject of this article, but I had to get this off my chest.)

    • Also, “reducing areas of vehicle/pedestrian conflict within the grounds”. I’ve written every year complaining about this and it only seems to get worse. Every “special” person does not need his own personal vehicle. I watched them regularly cross through Aeroshell square where it was clearly marked no vehicles. EAA and Airventure is clearly becoming an event for the elite. Apparently they no longer have an interest in us ordinary people. I will not be renewing my membership.

  2. Guys, ground traffic at Airventure is a zero-sum game: people want to walk everywhere and take the shortest route to it. Meanwhile, trams shuttle millions of butts from one end of the field to the other, trucks make deliveries, volunteers are relocated to work assignments, aircraft are marshalled, managers get to problems, VIPs are escorted, toilets are nearby, the less-ambulatory (future-you) want benches and a hard surface for motorized chairs, and vendors want foot traffic.

    This ain’t Disney World: EAA doesn’t own the land and can’t bury all the infrastructure underground or build parking lot monorails above it. (To be fair, EAA could build parking garages on the land it does own, but it is tough to amortize that expense when it is used one week a year.)

    If you think that EAA folks are not acutely aware of the ground traffic issues and “no longer have an interest in us ordinary people”, I’ll be happy to put you in touch with a number of them who work on that problem year-round. Suffice it to say that they are dealing with a much more complex problem than your desire to have a quick place to drop off your purchases.

    There is a limited amount of hard-surface roadway on the field, and it must be shared by pedestrian and vehicles. Most of the paved roads have pedestrian lanes painted along the edge. They are routinely ignored when foot traffic is high and congestion results. There is one simple thing that I think would go a long way toward relieving the arteriosclerotic condition of foot traffic during the show.

    Paint large arrows on the pedestrian lanes to indicate the direction of foot-speed traffic.

    This would have several benefits:
    1. It would indicate that there _is_ a preferred direction for pedestrian traffic, instead of state-fair Brownian motion.
    2. Most (sadly, probably not all) of the pedestrians would walk on the same side of the roadway, instead of a mix of both directions on both sides.
    3. The arrows would be pointing the _opposite_ of American driving, so pedestrians would walk facing the vehicular traffic. (Isn’t that what your mother taught you?)

    I’d be willing to join the painting crew on a Work Weekend if I could get TPTB to go along with the idea.

    • Put up all the signs and markings that you wish, and I’ll guarantee it won’t make enough difference to matter. People will see one person walking the wrong way, and instead of admonishing them, they’ll take that as approval to do the same.