The Ins and Outs of Oshkosh Traffic

There’s a regular traffic jam every morning going into Wittman Field. (Image: Google Maps)

In my opinion, the best way to get the most out of AirVenture is to stay on site, camping with your airplane, tenting in Camp Scholler, or living in your (ground) RV in Scholler, Sleepy Hollow, or one of the special lots reserved for volunteers. Staying on site allows you to eat, sleep and breathe AirVenture 24/7—you enjoy both the day and night life, and are awakened by the sound of throaty engines attached to classic airplanes. But many folks, for various reasons, like to stay in the dorms, hotels, or private houses spread around the greater Oshkosh area, and for them, getting in to the show each morning is a game, or maybe a better description is a duel with the traffic flow managers.

Wisconsin’s finest Highway Patrolmen, along with the local Oshkosh constabulary, work hard to make sure that the massive amount of vehicular traffic can move in and out of the show with enough speed so that no one is stuck in traffic long enough to run out of gas before finding a place to park, although sometimes, the outcome might seem to be in doubt. The tricky part is that one size does not fit all, and the flows change depending on the time of day and whether the tide is flowing in or out. Roadblocks and cones change position as the day goes on, and one needs to stay on their tows to avoid ending up in a lane that takes them to Fun Du Lac or Green Bay….or Minneapolis. If you arrive at a certain landmark, like Exit 116 a minute or two earlier or later than the previous day, you might be shunted directly on to the road that leads to the Museum or sent into a penalty lap through the industrial park and neighborhood of eastern Oshkosh. It’s a roll of the dice.

While it can be frustrating to be stuck in slowly moving traffic, with all lanes but yours appearing to move quicker, they all eventually lead to the Promised Land—Wittman Field and the greatest show on earth!

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Paul Dye
Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.


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