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Powerful storm hits Oshkosh in advance of AirVenture

  • This Aviat Husky, tossed into a trailer by a storm that hit Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, conjures memories of the Husky damaged by a tornado at Sun 'n Fun in 2011. That Husky became AOPA's 2012 sweepstakes airplane. Photo by Mike Lambert.
  • An Aviat Husky is damaged by a powerful storm that hit Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 18 in advance of EAA AirVenture. Photo by Mike Lambert.
  • A storm wreaked havoc at EAA AirVenture July 18, surprising early campers and damaging exhibits set up in advance of the show. Photo by Mike Lambert.
  • The Saturday morning storm even tipped aircraft set up inside large exhibit tents at EAA AirVenture. Photo by Mike Lambert.
  • Exhibitors will be cleaning up as they finish setting up for EAA AirVenture after a damaging storm swept through the grounds July 18. Photo by Mike Lambert.
  • AOPA's tent weathers the storm July 18 at EAA AirVenture. Photo by Mike Lambert.
  • The July 18 storm also tossed garbage cans and knocked over portable restrooms. Photo by Mike Lambert.

Mother Nature rocked its wings on arrival at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, early July 18. A storm blew through the fly-in grounds at Wittman Regional Airport, catching campers off guard.

"I woke up at about 5 a.m. and the sky was orange. All of a sudden it was like a hurricane, and then it was gone," said Mike Lambert, a private pilot attending the show that officially kicks off July 20. Lambert was at an Oshkosh sporting goods store Saturday morning to locate new poles for his tent, which was heavily damaged in the storm.

Lambert documented some of the damage on the show grounds, including an Aviat Husky turned on its nose, its tail resting above the roof of a trailer. The storm-tossed Husky may conjure up memories of the tornado that struck the Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-In and Expo in Lakeland, Florida, in 2011. The Husky damaged in that storm became AOPA’s 2012 Tougher than a Tornado Sweepstakes airplane and regained new life.

The Saturday morning storm also tossed garbage cans, knocked over portable restrooms, and upended aircraft in some of the exhibitor booths.

The extended weather forecast for Oshkosh predicts sun and clouds for most of EAA AirVenture, a nice welcome for the more than 10,000 pilots who will be flying their aircraft in for the event—although their wing rocks on approach will be much less dramatic than Mother Nature’s.

Topics: EAA AirVenture, Events, Sun 'n Fun

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