Flying to Oshkosh?

This year, I will miss studying the AirVenture Notam.

Living in Southern California has many benefits. The weather is near perfect any day of the year with clear skies and temperatures in the 70s and 80s. It can be summed up in one of many aviation acronyms - CAVU. So on most days, I can jump in an airplane without having to worry about low visibility, strong crosswinds, thunderstorms or simply getting cooked to death by high temperatures.

But there is one big negative to living on the left coast. It’s far too far away from Oshkosh, Wisconsin. So these days, when it comes time for the annual migration to EAA’s AirVenture, I’m stuck taking my shoes off, getting searched by the TSA and sitting in the back of an overcrowded jet airplane. How I wish Oshkosh were close enough for a flight in a Cessna 170 without spending two full days in the air.

Flying into Oshkosh is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. While most pilots are smart enough to read the Notam and follow the published procedures, there are always a few people who appear to think they own the airspace. And the mixture of airplane types, with their wide range or approach speeds, presents a challenge as well.

Perhaps some of the aviators that cause trouble are too mesmerized by the airplane-filled fields below or the beautiful features of Wisconsin, with its deciduous forests and clean lakes, to pay attention to the procedures from the Notam. But this is definitely a time when attention to detail and “see and avoid” should be of primary focus.

So if you're one of the thousands of lucky pilots flying to Oshkosh or any of the airports nearby this year, do yourself and everyone around you a favor – study the AirVenture Oshkosh 2012 Notam very carefully. It will increase your chances of safely arriving at Wittman Regional Airport to enjoy the unparalleled number of displays and air shows.

I won’t have a chance to fly to Oshkosh in a general aviation airplane. But I look forward to being there once again to explore new and old airplanes and products. And while I don’t look forward to leaving the AirVenture extravaganza, I am excited about the journey back. I get to ride with John and Martha King in their Falcon Jet. I expect my flight home will be a great deal more fun than the trip there. And besides having the benefit of flying back with GA professionals, I get to keep my shoes on. I’ll share my experience when I get back.

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