Just when we thought the notion of doing a bootleg version of Oshkosh (NearVenture?) had gone away, this happens. We’d thought that the voices of protest had been chastened by the official word from the airport authority at Wittman Regional that the airport was closed to all such plans and that it was just going to be a regular airport, so forget about those plans for your own private Oshkosh. They weren’t happening. So you get the picture, right? Ummm, apparently not so much.
In case you were marooned on that proverbial desert island and hadn’t heard, EAA canceled AirVenture a few weeks ago now due to the Covid-19 outbreak, and with the pandemic raging, including in Wisconsin right now, it sure seems like the right call.
The spirit of protest springs eternal, however, and recently we caught wind of a growing Facebook group dedicated to that very thing, a self-charted fly-in for those pilots who refuse to take “no OSH” for an answer.
Be careful not to find the wrong group, because there are a few with similar names, but one group, with the uncontroversial name, “Friends Going to EAA Oshkosh,” is currently 650 strong and growing. The plan? Nothing less than a guerilla fly-in with no official sanction from the EAA or the airport authority or, presumably, the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office. Clearly, no everyone in the group gets the gist of it being a protest.
Even most of those that do are far from radicals about the protest idea. From what we’ve seen of it so far, it’s far more AARP than Antifa. A few members have mentioned that perhaps other pilots in the group weren’t aware that the fly-in spaces at the airport, the camping sections and concessions and access to EAA grounds, were all going to be closed for the week of July 20, as if the planners weren’t aware, while a few other commenters seem well aware of the cancellation but are still planning a get together despite the official word that they are not welcome.
Why all of this passion? There is a segment of the population for whom any attempts to shut own normal activity because of the pandemic, which one of the members of the group referred to as the “scamdemic.” There are others, we’re sure, who just can’t stand the thought of a year without OSH.
We’re with the latter group, but we plan to make do, celebrating the spirit of the world’s greatest fly-in from the safety of home, the home airfield, that is, or at least some airfield, just not that one in Oshkosh.