Whither the Weather


A common question for first-time AirVenture attendees is “what weather should I expect during the week?” Well, as a person raised in the upper Midwest, all I can answer is “yes – there will be weather!”

It is always amusing to hear people say of their hometown “if you don’t like the weather here, just wait five minutes!” because I have heard that saying in just about every region of the country that I have lived or visited. Folks think that their area has a unique claim on variable weather – but they don’t. And Oshkosh is no different.

What I usually tell people preparing for a week in Oshkosh in July is that you’ll probably have two days of hot and humid, two days of cool and windy, and a couple of days of thunderstorms that might or might not produce devastatingly frightening weather – but will certainly get you worried as they approach.

High winds? Sure, that comes with the thunderstorms, so bring your good tie downs (and not just for your airplanes – I had a mountain tent sail off about three hundred yards one year – found it, intact, up against a fence). Flooding? Yeah, it can rain pretty good, so be prepared to have a waterproof place to hide your stuff that isn’t waterproof – and a way to dry out the rest. Fortunately, if you’re plane camping, airplanes tend to have lots of place to hang wet sleeping bags and clothes in the sun (that follows the thunderstorm).

If you want to know when the low clouds, scud, and generally IFR crappiness will be present during the week, that’s easy – arrival days! That backs up folks at fields hundreds of miles on all points of the compass from Oshkosh. Deal with it, and don’t have your life savings bet on arriving on a particular day.

When I pack for the show, I make sure I have shorts, long pants, T-shirts, sweatshirts, a reasonably heavy insulation layer, and without exception, a good waterproof/breathable outer layer. Either that or I simply stand in the rain like a good modern-day Hippie and let myself get soaked to the skin on the first day, and go from there….

Oshkosh: ”If you don’t like the weather, just wait five minutes!”

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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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