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Sat, Aug 02, 2008

Airshow Pilot Runs Afoul Of Oshkosh Airshow Security

"Embarassing" Airport Transgression By Patty Wagstaff

Normally when one hears about skirmishes with security at a fly-in or an airshow -- at least here at ANN HQ -- we tend to think about the ongoing soap opera involving Sun 'N Fun and Jim Campbell... but this time the story is a mite different, and a mite perplexing.

Accomplished aerobatic performance pilot and air show veteran Patty Wagstaff tells ANN she had an altercation at Oshkosh 2008 while attempting to get back from the "Gathering of Eagles" dinner Thursday evening, en route to the nearby Hilton, using interior airport access. It was late at night, somewhere North of 2230, and Patty (in the company of at least three other persons) apparently got off-kilter on the grounds of Wittman Field and got the rapt attention of Oshkosh airport/airshow security.
 
The situation went downhill from there -- during a week in which the tenor of some aspects of the security apparatus at Wittman Field has been characterized as "less than friendly."

Patty freely admits that she was "in the wrong place at the wrong time" and is horribly embarrassed at what transpired. Security "busted" her for being in an unauthorized area on the airport grounds, and the matter somehow escalated into an "uncomfortable" situation which required the attention of the Winnebago County Sheriff to resolve... and some three hours of their collective time.

This has led to an equally uncomfortable series of rumors and such -- which will need to be resolved by future judgments by local authorities. Wagstaff's scheduled performance during Friday's air show at Oshkosh was scrubbed; she was not scheduled to perform Saturday, though her Extra 300 was on the flight line (shown below.)

Wagstaff spoke to ANN, Saturday, and explained that she was "horribly upset at the misunderstanding that occurred," but also added that she was pretty unhappy with the escalation from local airshow security to the Sheriff. Once again, though, she noted that she certainly regretted any "implications in which EAA people or anyone else did anything less than upstanding..."

Since the matter will be reviewed shortly by local authorities, Wagstaff was constrained from specific comment about particular issues, but assured ANN that she remained "terribly sorry about what happened," pointedly adding that she was "absolutely not impaired." 

Wagstaff says she looks forward to the review of her airport transgression so that the issue may be put behind her. The next time she drives about Wittman Field, however, Patty may prefer to take her directions from the Tower.

More info to follow.

FMI: www.airventure.org, www.pattywagstaff.com

 


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