Before "My Two Cents" takes its annual mid-summer hiatus, I thought I would list the top five things I hate and the top five things I love about EAA Airventure. First, the five things I don't like about "The Fly In":
5--Dust. You don't realize how dusty it is out there at the Airventure grounds until you get back to the office or home and realize your glasses, smartphone and clothes are covered in it.
4--It's too big. I know a lot of people who come down for a day thinking they can wander around for a few hours and see everything before the afternoon air show starts--and they go home seeing maybe one-third of the grounds. And of course, there is only a discount if you buy a seven-day pass--not if you need two or three days of admissions. I'm just glad we get a cart for the week to cut down on the time and effort needed to get anywhere out there
3--Crashes. Yes, a number of the awards hanging on the wall outside the Newsroom came from our live coverage of crashes at Airventure over the years--but there is nothing fun about covering them. And when one happens, it means a very long day ahead of us in the News Department since you have to run all over the place to find someone authorized to provide you information on what happened. I don't even enjoy Air Show because the entire time I'm thinking "Please, don't crash!"
2--People. They tie up the highway. They fill up the restaurants. They don't know how to drive in our roundabouts.
1--PortaJohns--When you come to Airventure for the day, you don't mind having to use a PortaJohn once or twice. But when you are out there for all seven days--for at least eight to ten hours a day--and those are your only bathroom options, it gets old fast. Throw in four or five straight days of 90-degree weather and you're willing to risk explosion before going in one.
Now the things I like about Airventure:
5--Soft Serve Ice Cream--It's become something of a tradition to get at least one or two Zaug's vanilla soft serve ice cream cone during Airventure week. Even though they have added chocolate at a few stands, I'm sticking with the traditional vanilla only.
4--Big Planes--When you stand under some of the cargo and passenger planes that have come to Airventure over the years, you are amazed that those things even get off the ground. Although, there's a saying among the homebuilder guys that you can get your house to fly too, if you put a big enough engine on it.
3--It's What Made Oshkosh Famous--Yes, Oshkosh B'Gosh is older, but I am yet to travel anywhere where someone hasn't said "Oh, the Fly In" or "Oh, lots of planes" when I tell them I'm from Oshkosh.
2--People--I have met more interesting people at Airventure than anywhere else. And there are more interesting stories than we could ever possibly tell. And where else am I going to get a chance to talk to Harrison Ford, John Travolta, Chuck Yeager, Frank Borman, Jeff Dunham, Gary Sinise, Roy Clark, Bill Elliott, Aaron Tippin, Mark Martin, Pappy Boyington and Sir Richard Branson?
1--Warbirds--That has been my absolute favorite part of EAA since I was a little kid coming to Oshkosh with my parents. The Friday and Saturday air shows featuring the formation flying and the bomb runs and the pyrotechnics is what I look forward to all year. And when someone brings a plane or a helicopter that I've never seen before, i get to pour over every little detail and ask the owner (or pilot) hundreds of questions. An old car cruise is cool--but seeing Warbirds out flying is a moving experience.
My Two Cents will return after I recover from my 80-hour work week.