ANN's Daily Aero-Tips (07.04.06): Arriving At AirVenture, Part Two | Aero-News Network
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Tue, Jul 04, 2006

ANN's Daily Aero-Tips (07.04.06): Arriving At AirVenture, Part Two

Aero-Tips!

A good pilot is always learning -- how many times have you heard this old standard throughout your flying career? There is no truer statement in all of flying (well, with the possible exception of "there are no old, bold pilots.")

Aero-News has called upon the expertise of Thomas P. Turner, master CFI and all-around-good-guy, to bring our readers -- and us -- daily tips to improve our skills as aviators. Some of them, you may have heard before... but for each of us, there will also be something we might never have considered before, or something that didn't "stick" the way it should have the first time we memorized it for the practical test.

Look for our daily Aero-Tips segments, coming each day to you through the Aero-News Network.

Aero-Tips 07.04.06

Flying to EAA AirVenture, for one week the busiest airport in the world? There's a lot to learn…and some things you can practice to make a safe arrival. Yesterday we reviewed the necessity of reading, and knowing, the AirVenture Notice to Aviators (NOTAM). Today we'll talk about more preparations for making your AirVenture arrival safe and fun.

Have a back-up

Don't come to Oshkosh without a back-up plan in mind. CAUTION: WAR STORY. I flew a Beech Baron to Oshkosh one year. Weather down-range slowed me up and my late-morning arrival turned into a mid-afternoon show time. I was lining up for the Fisk arrival when word went out that Wittman Field was closed for the afternoon airshow. All arrivals would have to go elsewhere until the field re-opened several hours later. Luckily I had reviewed the NOTAM procedure, contacted the temporary control tower at Fond du Lac, and entered the arrival stream to land and wait it out there.

Other situations that might cause you to divert:

  • Weather (you are flying in the upper Midwest in the height of its thunderstorm season, and morning fog and low clouds are also common)
  • Aircraft emergency (on the ground) that closes the field
  • Parking saturation -- Wittman Field fills up and non-show airplanes are turned away
  • Any number of scenarios aboard your airplane that are better dealt with in less-traveled airspace
Fill 'er up

There's a corollary to this lesson, which is do not plan to arrive at Oshkosh with minimum fuel. We all want to get there with as few stops as possible, and we all want to help the Oshkosh FBOs prosper during the event by buying their fuel. For safety's sake, though, I prefer flying to an airport within about one hour of Wittman Field and topping off the fuel tanks before flying the rest of the way in. You may have to divert, and you may have to hold for your turn to land. The last place you want to be declaring a fuel emergency is in the traffic pattern with a couple dozen other airplanes, in full view of hundreds of thousands of pilots-and the FAA.

Aero-tip of the day: Arrive at AirVenture with plenty of fuel, and plans for an alternate if for any reason you can't land at Wittman Field. For more tips on flying to EAA AirVenture read tomorrow's Aero-Tips, and listen to the Aero-Cast podcast on flying to AirVenture.

FMI: Aero-Tips

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