Oshkosh Arrival Quiz

Here are a few key questions about arrival procedures at Oshkosh for our annual fly-in and convention. You should know this stuff cold if you are flying in for the big show.

What time does Oshkosh Wittman Field close each day from Friday, July 25 until Monday, August 4?

The airport is closed to arrivals from 8 p.m. local time (CDT) and all airplanes must be shutdown and parked by that time. The Notam says that engine operation or taxiing is prohibited from 8 p.m. until 6 the next morning when the airport opens again. The airport also closes each afternoon during the convention for the air show and no engine operation or taxiing are permitted during those periods. I’ve just heard from the people who write the law on these things and you can depart after 6 a.m., but can’t land until 7 a.m. So everyone planning a really, really early arrival, sleep in, but if you want to get out really early the hour between 6 and 7 a.m. is all yours for departure.

What is the first point on the Fisk VFR arrival procedure?

The entry point for the Fisk arrival is the town of Ripon 10 miles to the southwest of Fisk.

How do I find Fisk in my GPS navigation database?

Most aviation GPS navigators have the location of Fisk stored in memory, but you need to add an “e” and look for FISKE. Under the navigation fix naming convention points that are not airports or VORs or NDBs have five letters. Ripon doesn’t have this issue because it, obviously, has exactly five letters in its name and is in most databases.

What are the two indicated airspeeds to maintain on the Fisk arrival?

Airplanes that can safely maintain 90 knots (104 mph) should fly that airspeed at 1,800 feet msl from Ripon inbound. Airplanes that cannot safely maintain 90 knots should fly an indicated airspeed of 135 knots at 2,300 feet.

When should you begin to monitor Fisk approach controllers?

At least 15 miles before reaching the Ripon fix. Fisk controllers–actually controllers on the ground at Fisk looking up, not using radar–are on frequency 120.7.

If holding is in progress before Ripon which lake should you circle and in what direction?

If traffic congestion or delays requires holding before reaching Ripon you must circle Green Lake which is southwest of Ripon. All turns should be to the left. If traffic plugs up for airplanes already past Ripon the controllers at Fisk may put you into a left hand circle around the smaller Rush Lake that is southwest of Fisk. Holding procedures will be announced by Fisk controllers on 120.7.

When will you know your landing runway assignment?

As you listen up to Fisk controllers on 120.7 expect to be called by airplane type and color, not N-number. Don’t call controllers. Wait for them to call you. In the vicinity of Pickett, a tiny spot on the map about 4 miles southwest of Fisk, controllers will begin calling airplanes and assigning a landing runway. You won’t get a runway assignment until past Pickett. When the controllers call your type and color rock your wings vigorously to acknowledge.

When do you change from Fisk control frequency to tower?

Don’t change frequencies until the Fisk controllers tell you to. There are different tower frequencies for the east-west and north-south runways so listen up. Don’t call the tower after you change frequencies. They will call you using type and color instead of N-number.

Can you S-turn to maintain the required one-half mile in trail separation?

No. If you can’t maintain at least one-half mile in trail you must break out of the line and return to Ripon to start again.

Which two possible routes can you expect when passing Fisk?

At Fisk controllers can clear you to continue to follow the railroad northeast toward the airport, or can direct you to fly almost straight east following Highway 44, or as it says on other pages of the Notam, Fisk avenue. Following the railroad is the most common route and that leads you into a right downwind for Runway 27. The railroad route can also be used to land south on Runway 18L/R. If you are flying the railroad route to Runway 18 do not descend below 1,500 feet until flying over Runway 9/27. Remember, pilots landing on different runways are listening on different tower frequencies.

My charts don’t show a Runway 18L/36R at Oshkosh?

During the fly-in the Runway 18/36 parallel taxiway to the east is temporarily marked and used as a runway during the convention.

Which wind direction creates the biggest hassle?

An east wind blows no good at Oshkosh. When Runway 9 must be used the Fisk arrival flow following the railroad tracks is nearly a straight in approach so there is no downwind or base leg available to space out landing traffic.

When should I call ground control?

The answer for VFR pilots is you don’t need to call ground control at Oshkosh. As soon as speed permits after landing turn off the runway and follow EAA flagmen directions to parking. When preparing for VFR departure follow flagmen directions to the active runway where you then monitor the assigned frequency for VFR departures.

Do I need a sign for my windshield after landing?

Yes. There are 10 possible parking areas on the field and you need to make a sign clearly indicating which area you wish to taxi to after landing. You can go to www.airventure.org/signs and print out the sign you want, or make your own based on the codes listed in the Notam.

What will controllers tell you even if you make a crummy landing?

Welcome to Oshkosh.

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5 Responses to Oshkosh Arrival Quiz

  1. Jeff Welch says:

    The arrival procedures will be overwhelming unless the ships Capt. is proficient flying his/her aircraft. The Capt. can concentrate on executing the arrival procedure if not worrying so much about piloting skills.

    how about…..”are you current and proficient, have you practiced slow flight recently, have you practiced crosswind-spot landings recently”?

    40% of GA fatalities are a result of loss of control in the last 60 seconds before touchdown.

    Rule # 1, fly the airplane….Rule # 2, the ground always wins.

    Be safe and have fun.

  2. Eric7 says:

    One thing I’ve always wondered: how does the 135 kt traffic at 2300 feet eventually mix with the lower 90 kt traffic? When should the higher traffic descend to 1800?

    • Fred Stadler says:

      Eric7,
      The higher path traffic is directed to descend by the controllers at Fisk, who determine when the descent can be made safely. In general, all traffic flows at the lower altitude from Fisk to the runways.

      • Mac says:

        Fred Stadler is the EAA volunteer who has worked with the FAA for many years to refine Oshkosh procedures and write the annual Notam. I’m sure Fred knows more about what’s in the Notam than any other individual.
        Mac Mc

  3. Eric7 says:

    Followup question. Let’s say you’re flying from Ripon to Fisk and have to break off for whatever reason. Should you turn right or left to return to Ripon?

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