Monday, May 24, 2010

AirVenture: It's not for tenters anymore

I've just been informed that the site I've been camping on for the last 10 years at Oshkosh -- out in the field by the creek -- is now going to be the new 24-hour generator area.

This is necessitated because EAA has seen fit to upgrade the old 24 hour generator with sites with water/electric hookups (i.e. -- the rich people with their fancy camping units), charge them over $40 a night with no credit for unused nights.

So now the blight of land yachts with incessant noise is going to displace those of us who are "old school" campers and I have no idea what space will be left for us, and where.

Frankly, this is what I was afraid of when the "upgrades" to the AirVenture grounds were announced.

Unfortunately, EAA says no maps will be available for Camp Scholler's new layout for another two weeks.

This makes the Piece of Grass 2010 pretty impossible to pull off now because I have no idea where someone like me will be allowed to camp, so I won't be able to tell people where it'll be.

I have ZERO interest in being within a half-mile of the 24-hour generator people.

I'll try to reassess the situation over the next week or so and, if necessary, refund the money of those who've contributed to POG.

Update - I've sent back the hundreds of dollars that people donated to get the campsites for Piece of Grass 2010. It simply isn't practical to plan on Camp Scholler as the location since I simply won't know where we'd be if we were able to get spaces. Joe Ferraro at VAF pointed out -- correctly -- that nobody holds a gun to my head to pull this together and, of course, he's right. He also asked why it couldn't be moved 10 rows farther out and while that might be a reasonable question, it ignores the reality of what's happening here.

Camp Scholler is making fewer spaces available for tent campers. We don't know what the effect will be of displacing hundreds of those people AND the 24-hour generator people and it's simply impractical to invite people to an event and then not be able to tell them where it is.

In any event, the money was donated for campsites. We don't need the campsites and maybe someone will come up with a better location that can we use.


  1. Every year it looks more and more like a NASCAR infield, Handicap camping has been overrun for the last two years, next year NO Tents allowed????

  2. Oh, Bob:

    There's plenty of room for tent campers. There's unlimited room for tent campers. In fact, the most popular tent camping areas (Paul's Woods and 101 Woods) were intentionally left as is. But a percentage of your fellow EAA members -- have been asking (some have been demanding) upgraded camping sites for a number of years and are willing to pay the difference for them. We also wanted to move the 24-hour generator area to an area that would be the least imposing to the greatest number of tent campers, i.e., farther west in Camp Scholler where the higher sound level from Highway 41 would not be as big of a factor for those who are inside generator-powered campers.
    An event site and campground are constantly evolving things. As when the new exhibit buildings were built in the 1990s and when the new Flymarket went in last year, some adjustments are necessary in the campground. It's unfortunate that every improvement can't deal with every single camper's situation, but every decision is made with those who enjoy the traditional camping in Camp Scholler as a major part of the equation.
    Any other questions, always feel free to ask!
    Your friend, Dick Knapinski, EAA OSH

  3. Hi Dick. Yes, I fully understand why EAA needs to upgrade the facilities and they're fine upgrades. People want their wiFi, flush toilets, air conditioned camping units with satellite TV. I get that.

    But your options for tent camping are wrong. You can't GET a spot in either of those locations unless you stake out weeks ahead of time. The average person doesn't do that. They're simply not available.

    That's not to say there isn't tent camping available, but we are being displaced by the upgrades.

    I get the Highway 41 noise thing. We've been out there for years listening to the truckers at 2 a.m. blowing their horns. But the 24 hour generator area is like a truck stop and that particular area HAS been where old-time campers camp. It's where the average AirVenture attendee (defined as: Old coots) ends up at.

    It's where people sit outside their units. In the baking sun because there are no trees there, because they enjoy the "vibe" of campgrounds, rather than scampering into the Land Yacht for the AC and DVDs.

    I have no doubt that people will respond favorably -- as they should -- to the hookups. And I get it's not 1983 anymore.

    I'm just saying I'll miss it. And I also wish it hadn't been the end of May before EAA made its plans public.