EAA Seeking Turf Operations At Oshkosh


The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and representatives from Oshkosh, Wisconsin’s Wittman Regional Airport (OSH) met with the FAA this week for a safety risk management panel (SRM) to discuss establishing turf operations at OSH. According to EAA, key stakeholders reviewed more than 40 areas in question during the SRM panel. The agency determined there was “no hazard finding” for all items listed in the proposal.

“EAA came well prepared to this session, and participated as a subject matter expert, offering solutions to mitigate risk,” said EAA Vice President of Advocacy and Safety Sean Elliott. “Currently across the country, turf operations are less common at towered airports. EAA members and many airport tenants want to change that.”

Elliott noted that turf operations at OSH will not be available during the annual AirVenture NOTAM period. EAA says it plans to continue working with the FAA and local airport officials on other opportunities for turf operations, adding that it hopes the steps and risk mitigation undertaken at OSH can be the basis for future FAA policy on similar requests.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. I guess the big question is “why” since landing on big nice smooth hard lighted runways is ideal.

    • Why? 1. It’s fun. 2. There are turf airports out there that you may want to fly into. OSH would give a chance to gain proficiency at a full service airport. 3. Tail-wheel training. Try it, you might like it.

      • I have a tail wheel endorsement. Point is that if I fly into a large regional airport then it’s really queer to request a mowed bit of grass instead of the runways.

  2. As mentioned, it really helps when learning to fly tailwheel–that little bit of slide on the grass if your flight path is not perfectly aligned with runway, helps avoid a lot of rudder dancing. Next, it is softer, so less stress on gear and tires (if manicured and maintained). Finally, the grass helps to slow you down and saves on the brakes. Otherwise, it’s really not much different.

  3. The mere fact that EAA is just now seeking turf operations at Oshkosh says all that needs to be said about what EAA and Oshkosh have become. If it requires a long concrete runway it’s about big business. The only times I have been to OSH was as an OEM pilot paid to fly the factory’s jet products in for the show. Disgusting. Not interested. Send me to Blakesburg with something appropriate for Blakesburg instead.

    • I’m not following this. KOSH is a largish regional airport. Been that way since way before the EAA and its annual flyins moved there. The reason AirVenture got moved there is they needed the space. You’ve been there, right? It’s 4 square miles full of airplanes or all sizes, cars, exhibits, people, and campers. They use the long concrete runway by dividing it in three parts and landing 3 airplanes at the same time. Yes, they have jets and big airplanes there as well – something for everyone. By numbers it’s about 90% small planes.

      And yes, there’s a grass runway during AirVenture, for the ultralights. This whole thing is about authorizing turf operations during the rest of the year.

    • What the airport has “become” is what it’s always always been — a regional airport designed around regional airport types of operations. I say kudos to EAA for working on making this change, better late than never. And while I’m not a big crowd type of guy, I love the fly-in — it has everything, from big iron and military to antiques, classics, homebuilts and ultralights, even tricked out spam cans. Hard to please everyone I guess.