Choose Your Own AirVenture

This year’s luxury travel accommodations, at 40,000 feet and 350 knots.

This year’s EAA AirVenture marks my third pilgrimage to the great land of propellers, people, products and pointy jets. At this point, I cannot fathom missing AirVenture ever again. That said, this year my fiancé Eric and I are doing things a little differently. Work trips coincided closely enough to AirVenture that we made the call to hitch a ride from southern California (where I report for work) in a friends’ jet rather than flying Woodstock our GlaStar out from Denver, leaving me to commute to work when we returned. Not only would that have been exhausting and risky, but it would have likely equaled less time at AirVenture. So, we opted to hitch the ride and get a room north of town—residing off the precious grounds of AirVenture for the first time.

We arrived Saturday evening and rolled up like semi-royalty. However, my heart sank slightly as soon as I saw the North 40 airplanes with their campsites set up. “I’m not camping this year!” I remembered. Within a couple of hours, I began to weigh the pros and cons of this new arrangement.

The camping experience.

I realized then that people experience AirVenture in a multitude of ways. Camp Scholler, RV park, hotel, house rental, fly-in, drive-in, etc. After 2 days of living offsite and commuting to the show, I am fully convinced that the crème de la crème experience is camping with your airplane. Here are the pros and cons.

The biggest pro to camping with your airplane is the reduction of FOMO, or ‘fear of missing out’, as a result of the 24/7 immersive experience it provides. Some of my favorite moments in years past occurred in the evenings after most visitors had gone home or early in the morning before most visitors arrived. Getting to stroll through Boeing Plaza alone is pure joy to my introverted brain, as is being there on the field when the first radial engine of the morning roars to life, and I can’t neglect to mention the stories that get told and connections that get made with your camping neighbors. Secondly, I didn’t realize how convenient it was to have a “base camp” to drop gear, grab a drink or take a short respite. It leads to carrying around slightly less stuff that you don’t need at the time and contributing to a more enjoyable experience.

Campsites with a personal touch bring a smile to my face!

EAA has put in great effort to ensure the most glamorous plane-camping experience possible, to include air-conditioned bathrooms, running water, charging stations and functional shower trailers. As long as you pack a good mattress, there isn’t much to complain about besides the temperature and humidity.

The biggest inherent con of camping with your airplane is inclement weather, which we all know Oshkosh will happily provide each year. Flashbacks from past years remind me of the flattened tents and damaged airplanes. Is it a risk worth taking? To an extent I’d say. Most people aren’t afraid to pack up and go when the forecast deems it, and I’d say that’s a safe way to go.

The pros of staying off-airport are amenities like a bigger bed, fewer bugs, man-made air conditioning and a bigger shower. Considering how AirVenture is typically our most hardcore camping experience of the year, dealing with a few bugs for a few days is really not that much of an inconvenience.

I fully realize that everyone attends AirVenture for different reasons and has different preferences. All I can say is—you’ll find me camping again next year!

Lest we forget last year’s post-storm carnage and waterlogged tents
Previous articleUnleaded Fuel Seminar
Next articleF1 Rocket
Amy White
Amy discovered aviation through a Young Eagles flight in 2010. Now she is an airline pilot, CFII, aircraft owner, and A&P. She owned a Cessna 150 for seven years and now co-owns a GlaStar with her fiancé, Eric. Amy served as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard for four years, but now lives in Colorado where she and her GlaStar “Woodstock” enjoy the sunny days at high altitude.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.