Some helpful tips for those flying in to Oshkosh for the first time and even if you have been there before:


Don't even think of trying it without the Oshkosh Notam 2018.  It is too late to have them mail you a free booklet but you can download and print from the following https://www.eaa.org/~/media/files/airventure/flyingin/2018-notam.pdf

Read carefully, several times, and get familiar with the different options.  Highlight the important stuff like frequencies for different runways, etc.

Lay out your flight plan on the GPS to include the magenta line to Ripon and Fisk.  That will help you stay on course when checkpoints are not obvious.

Get familiar with each approach including the missed approach procedure. I highlight each approach path with associated notes.  I recall there being 4 possible approaches depending on the wind but only two are used at any given time.

Don't get information overload by going too much in to the departure info.  Get there first and then you'll have time to get up to speed on departure several days later.

I've found it advantageous to land one hour out, in my case DeKalb, Illinois.  Three reasons.   At that point I've been in the air 2 hours and need a stretch.  Second, I top off with fuel so I can get in to and out of Oshkosh without having to hook up with a fuel truck with 10,000 other aircraft on the field.  I also arrive with several hours of fuel on board in case of a long hold or divert.  I leave with more than enough fuel to get to a fuel stop outside the area. Third, the fuel stop before arrival gives you the opportunity to call the Oshkosh AWOS and see what the weather (winds) are and what runways are in use.  That cuts your options on arrival in half and you can decide if you will request one runway or the other in case of crosswinds and you fly a tail dragger.

Each arrival at Oshkosh will have you on the edge of your seat, no matter how many times you've been there before.  It will seem overwhelming but any competent pilot can do it if they plan and know what to expect.  If you're not comfortable flying anywhere near other aircraft go up with someone and practice flying loose formation.  Oshkosh requirement is 1/2 mile separation but sometimes it gets closer than that.  Practice keeping another aircraft in site while flying your own.  Procedure calls or 90 knots (100 mph). Practice that speed and holding altitude.  In the case of a KR you might find it helpful to put out some drag, flaps or belly board, and use a bit of power to stabilize your speed.

For your first arrival go to YouTube and watch some video on Ripon arrivals.  Get comfortable with all the radio chatter.  On the actual arrival you'll know when they are talking to you and then just follow one of the two approaches they assign to you.  You'll have your notam book out with frequencies and approach track to follow highlighted in case you didn't copy the radio instructions. Once assigned your runway at Fisk just follow the aircraft ahead and land on the color dot they assign to you once in the pattern and most likely on base leg or turn to final.  Hit your spot, slow and exit the runway as assigned.  Don't forget to have your sign ready for flaggers.  Get familiar with the procedure, follow instructions, RELAX and fly the airplane.

After one arrival at Oshkosh during AirVenture you'll be convinced you really are a pilot and can fly with the best of them.

Larry Flesner



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