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Severe weather strikes AirVenture

Quick cleanup and a beautiful forecast set positive tone for rest of event

The weather usually makes headlines during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. For starters, it’s summer in Wisconsin, and powerful thunderstorms are common. Second, pilots always talk about the weather—from how beautiful to how nasty it can be.

Three aircraft suffered various degrees of storm damage after a display tent and support poles collapsed at the Sling Aircraft display at EAA AirVenture July 24. The storm struck two days before the show began, and more favorable weather followed. Photo by David Tulis.

Just two days before the beginning of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022, a line of thunderstorms rolled through Wisconsin. Many had already flown in and tied down by July 23 when the storms hit. EAA reported on its Facebook page that because of “the National Weather Service presence on the grounds, EAA was able to get early notification of the storm’s path and intensity, and make the appropriate announcements in advance of the storm front’s arrival.”

Many pilots on social media reported watching the weather as they made their way to Wisconsin and opted to stop short, overnighting at other airports in nearby states on July 23, to avoid risk to their aircraft. Others, including some mass arrivals, continued July 23 and made it in, safely tying down, before the severe storms hit. The 2022 AOPA Sweepstakes Grumman Tiger and 2023 AOPA Sweepstakes Cessna 170B had arrived July 22 and weathered the storms undamaged in front of the AOPA Campus across from the famed big Brown Arch.

EAA said no injuries were reported. Aircraft damage was not as bad as it could have been, in part because there was no hail with the storms and because pilots who had already flown in and parked had tied down their aircraft well. “There were reports of some aircraft on Boeing Plaza being damaged, but other aircraft parked on the field seem to have weathered the storm well. That is a credit to the aircraft owners securing their airplanes after arriving here. One EAA-owned aircraft was flipped onto its nose near the EAA museum despite being well-tied down,” EAA said.

Three light sport Sling Aircraft were damaged when the tent poles for the company’s display collapsed. One was damaged to the point that it is unflyable, while the company is working to get parts to repair the other two.

Some areas of EAA’s property were damaged. Downed trees and branches created some hazards in the drive-in campground area, and high winds damaged the “main gate of the AirVenture grounds” and some exhibit tents, EAA said. Crews were out cleaning up July 24.

Now that the seemingly annual unwelcome storm has passed through, the forecast for the show, from July 25 to 31, is near perfection—sunny with highs in the upper 70s to low 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

AOPA Senior Photographer David Tulis contributed reporting to this article.

Alyssa J. Miller
Alyssa J. Cobb
The former senior director of digital media, Alyssa J. Cobb was on the AOPA staff from 2004 until 2023. She is a flight instructor, and loves flying her Cessna 170B with her husband and two children. Alyssa also hosts the weekly Fly with AOPA show on the AOPA Pilot Video YouTube channel.
Topics: EAA AirVenture, Weather

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