Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hey! Gimme back my blog!

Woah! Looks like things got a little busy in here since I last posted before AirVenture. Time to tidy up the blog after having some visitors.

In all seriousness, a special thanks to Dick Knapinski, EAA director of communications, and the rest of the dedicated EAA staff and volunteers for helping get our messages out to you through this blog and keeping you updated on the grounds' status as we fought through this unprecedented occurrence at AirVenture.

And, more importantly, thanks to all of you for the understanding and patience you displayed in working with us as we turned "Sploshkosh" back to Oshkosh. We all came together for a common goal: turning an unpleasant situation into a rewarding and memorable experience. Judging by the positive interactions I've had with several attendees and exhibitors, I truly believe we all succeeded in doing just that.

In the coming weeks and months, we will be evaluating the areas greatly impacted by the flooding and assess how we can improve the drainage in these areas. The goal will be to alleviate these issues should we experience rainfall like this in future years. Knock on wood, we won't.

It's been fairly dry here over the past week and a half since AirVenture 2010 concluded. I guess it's only fitting that as I write this we're experiencing more torrential rains here today in Oshkosh (surely I can't be the jinx, can I?).

We are still in tear-down and clean-up mode for the next week or so. From there, we will start re-landscaping and doing repair work on the grass and other areas damaged by the flooding (most notably, repairing the sod in the new Scotts Warbirds Alley that didn't have time to root) before we turn our attention to 2011.

Just exactly what upgrades can you expect in 2011? I'll be able to fill you in next month with more details following all of our debriefing meetings, which will lay out the direction we'd like to go next in our on-going site improvements project. Whatever improvements we do make for next year, I hope they are received just as well as this year's upgrades were.

Obviously the one major upgrade that benefited most, if not all, was the new indoor restrooms in the expanded Hangar C. They were simple and fit the basic needs of attendees, allowing you to get in and get back out into the heart of the grounds quickly (or not so quickly for those relishing the air conditioning a little bit longer than others).

Adding to the benefit of the new Hangar C restroom was the tram stop stationed right in front of it. The new trams were a nice addition to ease the need to walk throughout the grounds, especially during those steamy afternoons we had. I was thrilled to see so many people taking advantage of these and catch a bit of a break in the shade.

The newly chip-sealed roads in the exhibits area created smooth walking paths relatively free of dust. Without this done, one can only imagine how mucky those paths would've been due to all the rain. Speaking of paths, the new bike path connecting the North 40 to the Main Gate was well-utilized, not only by bicyclists but also by those choosing to walk.

The new shower building on the North 40 was completed just in time to serve the community up there. Unfortunately, the North 40 was a little roomier this year due to the soggy grounds early in the week keeping potential aircraft campers away. So those of you who were out in the North 40 area likely had little or no wait for the showers. Even some quick-thinking campers from other parts of the grounds took their golf carts up to the North 40 to clean up in the new showers. We hope it can be put to more use next year to serve a North 40 full of tent campers.

One final note: I would be remise if I didn't offer up a big "hats off" to all the staff, volunteers and contractors who worked around the curveball (or several curveballs) thrown by Mother Nature leading up to AirVenture, not only from the downpours just days before but also from the excessive rains we began experiencing weeks prior. That definitely slowed our ability to complete several projects, but everyone involved was dedicated to completing the tasks at hand on time and to the satisfaction level that AirVenture attendees come to expect from Oshkosh.

Tom Poberezny said the flooding made preparations "the most challenging" he has seen in his 35 years as chairman, but also noted that "the positive response and the upbeat spirit from all those who attended" made this a very memorable and enjoyable AirVenture.

I could not agree with him more. And again, a large part of that is due to all of you showing patience, working with us, and, in most cases, adjusting your usual camping routine and set-up as we tackled this challenge head-on. You are truly a main reason why Oshkosh is such a special place.

It cannot be said enough: Thank you!


Matthew Gjedde said...

Despite the challenging weather conditions this year, I think that everyone did a great job working around it. The volunteers and EAA staff, were, as usual, exemplary, even under these trying circumstances. Good work!

Bill said...

Thanks to all in the EAA for making this a good event despite the problems with the weather. This was my first experience camping in the North 40 and it was fun despite some soggy aspects. Also, thanks for the new showers.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the new bike path which was used by pedestrians as well as the bicyclists for which it was intended, something needs to be done to keep the walkers off the path, especially at night! We rode this path every day we were at AV and in the evenings as well. It's a great help for those of us who fly in, camp, then pedal around to get everywhere. But, the pedestrians seem to think this path is theirs, and that the bicycle riders are interlopers. My main complaint is that pedestrians use the path at night, are impossible to see on the path, and walk side by side, blocking the entire path. My husband and I were riding back from the Fly-In Theater one evening and encountered such a group on the path. We could NOT see them due to the lighting on the path (spot lights shine directly in your face), and my husband ran into one of the walkers who had stepped out from the group and directly into my husband's bicycle. My husband was thrown from his bike, sustained scratches and bruises, and his video camera was broken in the fall. Fortunately, he was not seriously injured. The path is great, but it is terribly dangerous in its present configuration!

Earl said...

Others have commented on the new 'restroom' by bldg C and the increased number of trams but I must add my appreciation. As we age, these additions allow us to visit much more of the site and more frequently. Thanks! Earl

doug_nebert said...

Although your blog was helpful, the AirVenture website needs to host three prominent links next year:
Coming by car, by camper, by plane? Here are the current conditions and forecast for the coming day.

We arrived on Saturday with no idea that GAC arrivals were not to happen until Monday. The AirVenture website was more into promotion than information sharing. Instead of OSH, I spent Sat, Sun, and Mon parking aircraft as a volunteer at Fond du Lac with hundreds of other pilots who likewise did not have proper planning information.

Even in a good year, it would be good to know how many Scholler spaces and N40 spaces are available or vacant each day. The website links to current, complete information would make a huge difference.

Bob Matteson said...

I second the comment on the bicycle path. I used it at least twice a day, and usualy many more times than that, and each time pedestrians were strung out accross it and several times there were automobiles coming down it. There needs to be a little more segregation or at least signs spaced along the path warning pedestrians that it is, in fact a bicycle path. Looking forward to a path from the camp ground too. Hopefully we'll be able to get back in there next year although the old WallMart parking lot was nice. Would be nice to have a shower upgrade like the North Forty in the camp grounds. My wife won't use the campground showers, the sprayers are too high, and she's short, but she loved the North Forty showers.