Welcome to EAA AirVenture Down on the Farm – Top 10 List
By Timm Bogenhagen, EAA Staff
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is almost here. Like many of you, I’m starting to get really excited for the convention. I love the event and all the many different things it offers for us aviation-minded folks. As the staff liaison to the ultralight/light plane area, I have the privilege of working with a great group of volunteers. We all benefit from the volunteers, who are the heart and soul of EAA and who make the convention happen with their many hours of service. The following list highlights some of the activities that make the ultralight/light plane area a must-see experience at EAA AirVenture.
- Camping under the wing of your plane
Down on the farm, in the ultralight/light plane area, we’re planning for a good year. Starting last year we promoted camping under the wing of your plane in front of the ultralight barn. This year we invite you all to fly your ultralight or light plane to Oshkosh – before camping under the wing of your plane in front of the ultralight barn. For those that would rather trailer in to Oshkosh, feel free to do so. We have a convenient place for you to offload and set up your aircraft. A nice video highlighting camping under the wing of your ultralight/light plane is available by clicking here.
- Flying activities
Many people enjoy flying while they’re here in Oshkosh. Even though Oshkosh is the world’s busiest airport during the week of AirVenture, flying in the ultralight/light plane pattern is pretty simple. There’s a no-radio, see-and-avoid procedure combined with a 300-foot above-ground-level traffic pattern that keeps us clear from the busier general aviation traffic patterns that are controlled by the FAA. Daily briefings are held to cover flying in the pattern once you arrive in Oshkosh. As a special thank-you, each owner who brings a plane to the ultralight/light plane area will receive a special commemorative EAA ultralight/light plane hat. Instructions to fly into the ultralight/light plane runway are available by clicking here.
For those not camping under the wing of a plane but are coming instead with a ground-based vehicle, there’s great news. The ultralight campground has been expanded; quite a few additional campsites are now available. Some of the sites have a great view of the ultralight/light plane runway. Access into the expanded campground remains through the gate into the campground at the end of Ripple Avenue.
- Chapter tent
There are 30 EAA Ultralight Chapters within the EAA chapter network. Like last year we have invited all of these chapters to set up a chapter display in the special EAA Ultralight Chapter tent located in front of the ultralight barn. This provides EAA Ultralight Chapters a chance to network with each other; to provide a means to recruit new members for the chapters; to provide a central place that chapter members can converge; and to give members a chance to learn more about the benefits of EAA chapters. While in Oshkosh, stop by and check out the chapter tent. If you want to see if there’s a chapter near your hometown, you can search the online database by clicking here.
Oshkosh has always been a place where manufacturers announce and show new products. Over the years, many people have had their first demo ride in a light plane in the ultralight pattern. Manufacturers will be ready to demo their new planes to potential customers again this year. A nice group of exhibitors will have displays in the ultralight/light plane area this year.
- Balloon activities
The Balloon Federation of America (BFA) has again agreed to inflate a hot air balloon in the ultralight area when the weather conditions allow, typically mornings and evenings. Last year when the balloon inflated, it was an instant attraction for many people, allowing them to get up close and learn about hot air balloons.
Something new this year is a planned mass balloon launch from the ultralight/light plane runway on Saturday and Sunday. Launch time both days is set for 6:15 a.m. Balloonmeister Bill Hughes from the BFA estimates that 15 to 20 balloons will make a unique sight for AirVenture attendees who crawl out of bed early enough to see the launch.
- Ultralight party, pig roast, and awards
Plan to have some fun with your fellow convention attendees. Davies catering will again roast a pig during the day on Saturday which is guaranteed to be mighty tasty for the evening meal. All the fixings come with the meal, and the beer trailer is always nearby serving cool refreshing beverages. Tickets will be on sale in the ultralight barn all week for the party. Volunteer awards and ultralight/light plane judging awards will be presented during the evening. Music from a popular deejay will spice up the evening for all in attendance.
- Forums tent
Each year, the ultralight forums tent hosts presentations by industry leaders, manufacturers, and subject matter experts. This year an excellent lineup of speakers will again be available in the forums tent next to the ultralight barn. The schedule of foums can be searched by clicking here.
Each day from noon to 3 p.m., helicopters and gyroplanes take over the ultralight/light plane runway. Many of the popular kit-built rotorcraft will be in attendance and demo their unique flight capabilities.
- Schweizerglider 80th anniversary
It has been 80 years since the initial flight of the first Schweizer glider. A couple of the venerable Schweizer 1-26 gliders will be on display in the ultralight/light plane area.
Fly, drive, walk, run, whatever it takes, you gotta be here. There should be lots to see and do at this year’s EAA convention, and you’re all invited Down on the Farm. Just ride a tram or walk south, and you’ll find the ultralight/light plane area. Once you arrive, you’ll find plenty of good people to keep you informed and entertained.
Have a safe trip to Oshkosh!