“Goodness, look at the smoke!” said one visitor at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, on Monday evening.
The sunset was blood red, discolored by the smoke coming down from Canadian wildfires. The smoke did not clear by Tuesday morning, as the sun rose looking like an orange in the smoke and haze.
The smoke was not the only weather challenge pilots faced on their way into the mega air show. Lines of thunderstorms forced many pilots to divert en route.
By Monday, the wildfire smoke was playing sort of a cat-and-mouse game with aviators. In the morning it appeared to be no more than a light layer of haze. By evening, however, the setting sun glowed red in the west and the Air Quality Index reached 167, which is regarded as unhealthy. At outdoor parties and campsites you could feel the smoke stinging your eyes.
As the sun rose Tuesday, the haze still hung in the sky. But, as all pilots know, the weather can change, and filing IFR to handle a smoke event has become part of their training.