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.
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
- 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
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.