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Aviation Word of the Month — Oshkosh!
By Ian Brown, EAA 657159, Editor - Bits and Pieces, Board Member - EAA Canada Council
March 1, 2022 – I mentioned this once before, but thought it deserved a place as our word of the month. Not only is Oshkosh dear to our hearts for many reasons, including EAA’s headquarters, AirVenture, and a multitude of other events, but it is also a unique name.
Let's start with airport naming conventions. Canada has three-letter “local” names for airports and four letter international names that all begin with a “C.” YYZ becomes CYYZ, etc. You probably know that the convention for radio stations in the U.S. are four-letter identifiers that begin with a “W” like WGCU for Gulf Coast University radio station in Florida. The international letter for airport identifiers in the U.S. is a “K.” So the airport identifiers for Oshkosh are OSH and KOSH. If you put them together, guess what? You get Oshkosh!
Now you may think that this was somehow engineered to turn out this way and you'd be wrong! It turns out that Oshkosh was the name of the local Native American chief of the Menominee tribe. It means “claw.” A similar word exists in Ojibwe.
This phenomenal coincidence meant that the place name had to have a three-letter repeating syllable and the four letter had to be a “K.” If that was Chicago, it would have to be called Chikchi! Seattle — Seaksea. Jacksonville would be Jackjac. I could go on, but you get the picture. Just one more thing that makes Oshkosh so special to us.