The week of AirVenture Oshkosh is almost upon us, and there's little we can do about it. No matter how hard we try to convince people not to go, every year there are hundreds of thousands of otherwise good people who simply won't take our advice. Many of them, or so we've been told, make the conscious decision to attend. Go figure.
Those of us in the industry have no such luck. We have to go. This will be my 21st consecutive year of misery.
Since there's no way to get out of it, I thought I'd air my grievances in a public forum. So without further ado, here are the top 10 things I hate about AirVenture.
10. Big airplanes. I just find it very rude the way these oversized airplanes hog the joint. This year the rumor is that some kind of big Boeing will be there. Sure as Bill's your uncle, it will get to the show and then proceed to take up numerous good parking spaces in the center of the show grounds. Haven't they ever heard of Appleton?
9. All the people. When it comes to crowds, AirVenture is the worst. Sure, half of the people there are my friends, but the other half, well, they seem OK too. Very polite, incredibly knowledgeable about airplanes, and enthralled with the show. But still, do you know how long the line for ice cream can get on a hot afternoon?
8. The gadgets. I mean, how many revolutionary new products can one guy take. Sure, I bring my iPad to make sure I get the latest apps, and who can walk away from the Fly Market without a few presents for the kids back home? But still, would it kill the vendors to sell some old stuff? OK, so they do that too. Critic.
7. Volunteers. This one gets my goat. So many people volunteering their time to help an organization they believe in and in the process they have to hang out with friends and put up with all that aforementioned noise? And the rumor is, these so-called volunteers don't even get paid.
6. FAA Types. I'll tell you, those guys with the vests are hard to take. Give them a flag, a little sunscreen and a spot on the runway, and they'll tell you where to go. I guess, with many thousands of airplanes flying directly into Wittman Regional, somebody needs to do this job, but then again,some less gaudy vests?
5. Little airplanes. Some of the airplanes you see at Oshkosh are so small you can fold up their wings and carry them around on a trailer. Every evening the pilots of those little two-stroke-powered gnats buzz around in them down by the ultralight strip, flying open cockpit in the calm and cool of twilight. Those jerks. I hope they're having fun.
4. Enthusiasm. Why does everyone have to be so excited about everything they see? I mean, how rare is it to see an F/A -18 in formation with a Corsair, or a B-29 flying by surrounded by a gaggle of WWII fighters? Or a moon walker signing autographs? What's all the excitement about?
3. Old airplanes. I get a little tired, I don't mind telling you, of all the old airplanes. Antique this, vintage that, original one-of-a-kind the other thing. Why don't these people just buy a late model Skyhawk and quit their bellyaching?
2. The noise. I don't know about you, but I have a hard time with all that racket. You'll be standing around enjoying a pleasant conversation when all of a sudden, here comes a P-51 with its Merlin growling away as it roars past. It's hard to take.
1. The end of the show. Every year, I put up with the show and by the second weekend, I find that it's almost over. Invariably I realize only then that there were airplanes I still wanted to see, people I wanted to visit with, and snapshots I still wanted to, well, snap. But before you know it, the show's over, and I have to wait an entire year to once again put up with all the grief.