AirVenture: Bring it! (Your hat, that is)

When I wrote a blog a few weeks ago urging everyone to come to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, reader Yvonne wondered if I could write a follow-up aimed at first-timers with recommendations like “wear walking shoes, apply sunscreen,” et cetera.

I think she may have covered a sizable chunk of prep work right there. But I’ll add a couple more ideas, and you are welcome to add your own in the Comments section. Also, see the handy-dandy AirVenture Survival Guide on the EAA website.

  • “Wear walking shoes.” What Yvonne means is, AirVenture covers 1,600 acres. Not only do you need comfortable, durable walking shoes, but they should be broken in and will probably acquire a coat of dirt that turns them a different shade. There are trams that run back and forth along the grounds, but expect to do a lot of hoofing. I’m always flummoxed when I see young women wobbling around on platform shoes at airshows, but more power to them and their podiatrists.
  • “Apply sunscreen.”  Again and again. There are some shady spots here and there, and you can always duck into an exhibitor’s tent to get out of the sun, but it’s best to be prepared.
  • Wear a hat for additional sun protection. (See above.)
  • Bring a rain poncho–just in case. Yes, I know, I’ve been talking about sun protection. But it does occasionally rain at AirVenture–just ask the people who were there last year. And if it rains, the freebie ponchos handed out by the exhibitors tend to evaporate like…well, like water on a hot day.
  • Water. Drink it. Lots of it. Bring a water bottle. There are water fountains on the grounds and water is sold at the concessions.
  • Pace yourself. Get a map from the EAA website, figure out what you want to see, and allow extra time to get from point A to point B if you are trying to go from, say, exhibit halls to the flight line.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Sporty’s has released an AirVenture app for the Android, iPod, iPad, and iPhone. It features maps, guides, schedules, and late-breaking news. It’s free. While I haven’t had a chance to check it out, some of my Twitter followers raced to their computers to get it, and everyone so far has given it a thumbs-up.–Jill W. Tallman

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