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A Look Into AirVenture Aircraft Judging

How to enter your aircraft to get a chance to win a Lindy Award

By Ti Windisch

July 25, 2017 - Each year at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, a selection of deserving aircraft are recognized by volunteer judges for standing out in their class. Bringing a worthy plane or other aircraft is obviously the first step toward getting honored in this way, but there are additional steps to take after arriving in Oshkosh that can help, too.

Bob Reece, EAA Lifetime 82844 and EAA AirVenture chief judge, wrote the Official Judging Standards Manual and advises anyone who wants to win an award to read it — and get more eyes on their aircraft.

“We have technical counselors available all over the country, and I’m one of them,” Bob said. “A guy can ask for me, if he wants me to, to come and look at his airplane, see how he’s doing, and all that … it’s a free service, one of the benefits of being an EAA member. We also have flight advisors available.”

The rulebook states that at least three judges have to look over each aircraft entered to win an award, but any aircraft looking to win something major, such as a Lindy Award, will be subject to about 10 judge inspections.

It takes time for that to happen, so arriving and being prepared for judging early is crucial. More than a day is necessary for major award consideration, so be ready as soon as possible upon arriving in Oshkosh.

Getting ready means having your aircraft in its best possible condition — and officially entering it. The “Judge Me” sticker obtained from Aircraft Registration is crucial for any award consideration.

Being around your entered aircraft is important, too. Most of the time, judging will proceed without an owner’s presence (either the owner or a representative for him or her is fine), but judges will not open anything that’s closed, which means they won’t get a complete picture of the aircraft if you aren’t around to make your aircraft more accessible.

Additionally, judges like to learn more than what’s on the surface of the aircraft. Hearing about what went into the aircraft matters when it comes to scoring.

If it seems to be taking a while for a judge to get to your aircraft, something might be amiss. Check in again wherever you registered to be judged as a precaution if a day or two goes by and a judge hasn’t checked in with you.  

If your aircraft is parked outside the standard area for its type of judging, that could cause a delay. Be sure to notify the judges if your entry is parked outside of the area it’s supposed to be judged in.

Finally, if at the end of the day, you come up short, don’t hesitate to ask the judges how you could improve your chances of winning an award next year. One-on-one sessions are available for that, too, upon request. 

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