Any tips on flying into Oshkosh?

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I'm planning to go to Oshkosh on Monday and stay through Friday or
Saturday. How much tougher is this going to be than being #6 in the
pattern at Bedford or any other really busy East Coast airport?

The plan is to camp in the general campground, next to my DA40. How
useful will it be to have a folding bicycle? I've heard that bikes
are banned on the "flightline".

-- Philip Greenspun, July 24, 2003


Judy: Regarding your question below... There are some ways for your son to mitigate the challenge of flying into Oshkosh, notably by arriving very early in the event and departing at an unpopular time. Flying is supposed to be a social activity, though, and I would be surprised if he couldn't find another pilot to share in the project. Even two pilots of equal skill should be substantially safer than one pilot, especially if those two pilots agree to work as a crew.

-- Philip Greenspun, July 14, 2009

New England Flyer,20 yrs,Owned a C192 rg, and a PA-32-300, I was going to OSH every year since 1985. Not a big deal,I used to Book a spot about a month in advance, Then I depart MHT,then Land in Lancing MI,For refuel and break.Then T/O to OSH,cross the Lake at 8500, Keep the lower of the lake to not more than 50 Miles to cross, You will arrive over litle lake sebago, in 1500' pattern, Monitor your radio only -NO transmit-, You will hear your tail number and rock your wings. If you get that Far you are OK to OSH, If Not they will send you to Fondulac apt.

.................. If you ever fly to KVSF, Come in For a pizza 802-885-3355 kostas

-- Kostas Rentumis, April 29, 2004

I have a 21 year old son who will have his pilot's license less than 2 weeks before Oshkosh. His dad thinks it will be fine for him to fly in solo. I don't. Opinions?

-- Judy Sims, July 14, 2009

Judy, I haven't been to Oshkosh, but I have been to other events, and I would say it is no place for such a new pilot to be soloing into. A copilot, IMO, should be a requirement for someone so inexperienced. I have heard plenty of stories of near mid-air collisions at Osh, and I have seen accidents and near accidents at other events. The new pilot can easily be overwhelmed by the added workload.

I would recommend flying to an alternate, and driving to Osh.

-- Eric Warren, July 14, 2009


The answer would range anywhere from "almost definitely not" to "no chance in hell" depending on your son's training and experience. Is he getting his certificate with 40 hours exactly, and the bare minimum legal requirements? Definitely not.

Has he been training for 150-200 hours over a period of several years? If so, and he has a very wide range of experiences, then he may just barely be safe.

I've had my certificate for about 8 months now, and I don't think I have the breadth of experiences necessary to fly to Oshkosh. I trained at Hanscom, a very busy controlled field, and that's nothing compared to the volume of traffic coming into Oshkosh.

There's a bigger question here, though. Are you or his father pilots? If not, you probably do not really understand the decision process when deciding if a mission is go or no-go. Once your son has his certificate, he is the pilot in command for all flights he conducts, and it is up to him to make those decisions. Trying to make those decisions for him will be counterproductive for several reasons. One, what you may consider to be important to conducting a safe flight may be very different from what really does matter. Furthermore, one of the main responsibilities of being the pilot in command of a flight is making decisions based on all available information. In this case, your son's relative lack of experience is a piece of information that goes into making the decision to go or not, and that is a decision that he has to make.

-- Joshua Levinson, July 14, 2009