Friday, January 30, 2009

Getting There From Here

We’re moving along on several of the projects described earlier, so I thought this would be a good week to talk about another change everyone will see on the grounds in 2009 – tram service and transportation. With all the changes, upgrading the way people are moved through the grounds is essential. I asked Karen Kryzaniak of the EAA staff, who is part of the group spending a lot of time on those issues, to give us an update:

Thanks, Steve. We’ve heard many good suggestions about improving tram service on the grounds, and also studied ways to geatly reduce the number of vehicles in some of main areas. While it’s still a work in progress, here are some items that have already been finalized:

The flight line transportation service will be divided into three main sectors. These may be color-coded or marked in some other easy-to-recognize way.

-- The North Route will run in a loop from near Exhibit Hangar A, past the forums and to the warbirds area. There will be double the number of trams from previous years – as many as 10 or 11 at peak times, operating from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. Handicapped visitor srvice will also be available.

-- The Central Route will operate through the main exhibit area, past Theater in the Woods and into the Vintage area to the tram headquarters near the Hangar Café. This area will also have double the previous number of trams, operate 8 a.m.-7 p.m. and also have disabled visitors services.

-- The South Route will operate from the Hangar Café to the far south area of showplane camping along Runway 18/36. Here we’ll use buses instead of open trams because of the road conditions and distances that need to be traveled.

Along with this, there will also be bus service from the grounds into Camp Scholler and, as in past years, to the AirVenture Museum and through the North 40 on the perimeter road around Runway 9/27. In addition, there will again be a bus for North 40 campers that makes the short trip to Target, Pick ‘n Save supermarket and other stores in that nearby shopping center.

One thing everyone wants to do is reduce the number of vehicles in prime pedestrian areas, especially in the areas in and around AeroShell Square and the main aircraft displays. Yet we realize services must be maintained, such as trams, garbage collection and toilet cleaning, in that area. Some of what you’ll see is as follows:

-- There will be NO vehicles on the taxiway between the main gate and AeroShell Square;
-- The only vehicles you’ll see on the new pedestrian walkways running northeast and southeast from the main gate will be trams for attendees;
-- Greatly reduced vehicle access “inside the V,” as we’re calling it, in the area that includes AeroShell Square and main aircraft display.

We’re also looking at other ideas to keep vehicles and people separated on the grounds, such as additional designated pedestrian walkways and crossings. Once everything is finalized, we’ll be posting detailed maps on the site. We’ve included many ideas from visitors in the process and also brought in site professionals to study the best and safest way to move people and vehicles. Keep watching as it takes shape!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Flush With Good News

The weather finally gave us a break – if you call temps in the 20s a break – so activity returned to the AirVenture site this week. It’s good to have things moving after a cold and snowy stretch.

Some buildings that were on blocks since last fall are finding new locations. The Young Eagles and Chapter buildings will be relocated near the corner of Waukau Avenue and Knapp Street Road. That is just north of the new control tower and west of Press Headquarters. In addition, the Protect Our Planes program building will be moving to a spot near the Winnebago County’s Sheriff’s compound, just northwest of the control tower along Waukau Avenue.

We also poured the concrete for the outer grade beam of the new Vintage area workshop building. That will allow us to put the walls up and once the frame is enclosed, we can pour the concrete floor. This project reminds me that it’s relatively easy to pour concrete footings and slabs in good weather. Throw in snow, ice, frost and below-zero temperatures, and you get a real challenge. The crews have been up to the task, though.

We’ve received questions about some improvements in Camp Scholler for this year. Here’s a big one: flush toilets! Now, before you get so excited that you need to take a pause yourself over this news, let me put it in proper context. There won’t be enough that everyone has their own private privy, but this is a major step forward in, um, comfort.

We are redoing several shower buildings in Camp Scholler for 2009. Some of those buildings had their shower stalls redone last year. Now we are adding several men’s and women’s flush toilets at the following locations:
-- The Stits building on Stits Road in the southwest part of Camp Scholler (shown above during a warmer period last summer);
-- The showers near the West Side campground store;
-- The bunkhouse shower building near the Camp Scholler security office (shown at the right in the aerial view below);
-- The North 40 showers along the perimeter road, south of Runway 9/27.

Two other shower buildings in Camp Scholler, near Paul’s Park and along Doolittle Road, need a lot more work and are in prime locations for completely new shower facilities – if not for 2009, certainly in the near future.

The three Camp Scholler toilet locations will be hooked to holding tanks, since there are no sewer lines out there. The North 40 facility, though, is close enough to city services that it can be connected to the city sewer line.

Of course, for you Oshkosh traditionalists, there will continue to be 1,000 portable toilets at central locations throughout the grounds to meet your needs, just like in the “good ol’ days.”

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Now Presenting: Exhibit A (and more)

This week Oshkosh is truly the frozen tundra, all but stopping our outdoor work. Below-zero temps will do that. While we’re handling indoor projects, I asked Jeff Kaufman, EAA’s director of business development who is pictured here, to update what’s happening in the main exhibit area for 2009:

Thanks, Steve. The redesign of the AirVenture site not only creates better pedestrian flow through the grounds, it also helps the more than 750 exhibitors who come to Oshkosh each year. It’s a challenging time for every business. We want to give each exhibitor the best possible opportunity to succeed and allow you to more easily do one of AirVenture’s favorite pastimes – checking out what’s new in aviation and shopping for those things you want and need. There's more visibility for exhibitors, increased exhibit space (by 45 percent, in total), better access and other things that visitors and exhibitors have requested.

It’s a big task. While it won’t affect those companies with indoor spaces, it means moves for a significant number of outdoor exhibitors. We’re re-numbering all the outdoor exhibit spaces so they make better sense. Specific quadrants are also being created, so locating the exhibits you’re seeking will be easier.

A big challenge when revamping all this will be helping exhibitors announce where their new locations are. While the better traffic flow is good news, we’re creatures of habit. A lot of us are used to a particular company being in a certain place. How to get the word out that a company has moved? As we finalize the outdoor exhibitor locations, we have a number of web-based ideas that will let you find your favorite vendor well in advance of AirVenture, and while you’re on the grounds. I think you’ll like what you see.

Once you’re at Oshkosh, there will be information towers on the grounds with maps and directions, and several staffed information kiosks, too.

Also, we’re supplying exhibitors with things called “glyphs” that they can use in their pre-AirVenture advertising and promotion, indicating their location. Look for these in your favorite magazines or websites. We’re encouraging exhibitors to use them as much as possible.

Just as when the main exhibit hangars opened in 1995 and 1997, familiar companies will be in different places at Oshkosh this year. We’re doing everything we can to keep the confusion to a minimum, and your ideas are always welcome.

I promised Steve I wouldn’t go on too long here, so thanks for reading. We’ll see you this summer at Oshkosh!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

It’s New, But It’s Vintage

We’ve talked a lot about changes near the relocated Main Gate, but there are several other projects taking place on the grounds that you’ll notice in 2009. One new building is near the Vintage Aircraft Association Red Barn.

That building will be replacing the tents that have been used in past years for Vintage type club events and workshop demonstrations. The tents were a workable solution, anyone who’s been in there knows the problems bad weather or soft ground cause.
As the photo by H.G. Frautschy shows, the concrete forms are set for the new 75-by-100 foot facility, which will be located next to the Red Barn. This photo looks northeast from behind the new building's site. Type-club events and workshops will go in there, as will some functions such as the vintage association’s data services, administration and so forth.

That means the concession buildings in that area will also be on the move. The small ice cream stand that was in front of the Vintage Red Barn will now go bewteen the Red Barn and Theater in the Woods, along what’s known as Vern Avenue. Its former location will be used for special vintage aircraft displays and some informal vintage aircraft forums, similar to the popular “Warbirds in Review” activities.

The Classic Café just south of the Red Barn will be reconfigured and move just a little farther south along Wittman Road.

This week’s question of the week is about the bike corral at the east end of Camp Scholler. That moved a couple hundred yards to the west in 2008 to eliminate the conflict with cars entering Lot D parking. That bike corral will likely stay that new location in 2009, but it may be redesigned a little because of the drainage from the relocated Flymarket south and west of Hangar D. The idea is to keep the bikes and the walk from the bike corral as dry as possible (something that wasn’t always easy in the old location).

The best way to enter the grounds after parking a bike will be through Gate 19, just south of Exhibit Hangars D & B, which is much quicker than walking down the Camp Scholler road past Lot D.

Thanks again for reading and for your questions!