7 things you should know before going to AirVenture

This year marks my 20th trip to Oshkosh to attend the annual EAA AirVenture convention in Wisconsin. Over the years, I’ve learned at least seven tricks to make the trip more productive and enjoyable—and now I’m sharing them with you.

1. If you drive to the event, be patient.

You may park far from the fairgrounds and be bussed to the main entrance. Remember where you parked (e.g. Blue Lot) and write it down. Also consider putting an AirTag in your car so it’s easier to find at the end of the day when you’re tired.

2. Save your energy.

Don’t run if you can walk, and don’t walk if you can drive. Use the trams and buses on site to get where you need to go or close to your destination. You will be given a map when you enter the site. Use this map to plan your visit. For those who aren’t so good at reading maps, the major runway is oriented north-south; the fighter jet runway is oriented east-west.

3. Wear a backpack.

Most people bring a backpack to the event to hold water bottles, sunscreen, etc. The backpack will be searched upon entering the premises, so do yourself a favor and make sure you are not carrying a firearm or other prohibited contraband.

The best backpacks are those with a waist belt as they take the load off your shoulders. Make sure your name and phone number are written on the backpack in case it gets lost. EAA has an excellent Lost and Found department.

Hundreds of thousands of pilots and aviation enthusiasts will attend EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin – and will no doubt be tempted to buy or sell their own GA aircraft. (FLYING archive photo)

4. Self-protection is important.

Wear a brimmed hat and sunglasses on a strap. Bring a rain poncho and an extra pair of socks. Even if the sun is shining, the weather can change quickly and violently. You can also use the poncho for shade or as a seat while watching the air show. If your socks are sweaty, put on the dry pair to avoid blisters that can ruin your day. Also, don’t forget earplugs as it can get loud during the air show.

5. Study the map.

Plan your route carefully. You may want to make a loop around the site, starting at one end and walking to the other, rather than zigzagging back and forth.

(FLYING archive photo)

6. Visit the hangars early in the day.

If possible, visit the hangars before 11am, as it can get uncomfortably hot later in the day.

7. Carry a small first aid kit with you.

This kit should include hand sanitizer, bandages, anti-diarrhea medication, painkillers, etc. Hopefully you won’t need any of these. For more serious injuries, there is a first aid building on site.