"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
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
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.