Some Damage After Storm Rips AirVenture (Updated)


Early reports suggest there was damage to aircraft and infrastructure at EAA AirVenture when a persistent series of storms rolled through the area Saturday evening and early Sunday. EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski told local media aircraft on Boeing Plaza were damaged and some exhibits and other items blown around. Trees were blown down and vehicles damaged by falling branches. He said he thought aircraft in the parking area were mostly secured but there are social media accounts of aircraft damage. The main gate was also damaged. So far there have been no reports of injuries. The Red Cross opened an evacuation center to help attendees ride out the storm, which was packing a big punch well into the early hours of Sunday.

Show organizers had plenty of notice of the approaching system and canceled evening activities. The show doesn’t officially start until Monday but there are numerous events and preparation activities on the grounds before the gates open formally. One of the casualties of the storm was an especially rare Pheasant H-10 biplane built in nearby Fond du Lac and owned by the EAA Museum

According to social media posts, the aircraft was securely tied down but was ripped from its moorings and flipped into a tree. The plane is apparently one of three left, and airport namesake Steve Wittman was the chief test pilot. It took significant damage but was mainly intact in the early evening.

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  1. Happy to hear no one was injured and that’s all that matters! The area is known for it’s fairly nasty weather around this time of year….you’d think Oshkosh would try to schedule the event at a different time of year to avoid it. Here’s to hoping the worst of it is over.

  2. Boo on EAA for taking the H10 out of its place in the Wittman Hangar and tying it down outside in the face of a severe thunderstorm. Unsure about this year, but in the past, extremely rare airplanes such as the H10 that are normally housed in the Wittman hangar are moved outside so children’s activities can be held during the day. EAA has been warned in the past of their duty to protect these airplanes. This is proof of incompetence.

    EAA should not be trusted with this or any other aviation artifacts such as the H10. EAA doesn’t care for anything except attracting as many paying attendees to their annual fund raiser venture as possible. Gotta have someplace to dump the kids while parents are off buying stuff. Why not the Wittman Hangar with those crappy old airplanes we don’t want to maintain? Nobody we know cares about them anymore anyway.

    I don’t know who to blame for this travesty. I guess you can blame President Pelton and the EAA palace guard as the buck stops at his feet. Took your eye off the ball there Jack. Who needs you if you can’t be trusted with a primary responsibility like caring for aviation history? The Smithsonian should revoke EAA’s partnership credentials for dereliction of duty.