EAA Airventure draws pilots from around the world to local small town airports

Wausau Downtown Airport and Stevens Point Municipal Airport host pilots who fly in and sometimes drive to Oshkosh
Published: Jul. 26, 2022 at 6:22 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - EAA Airventure is bringing in pilots from across the world to small town airports like Wausau and Stevens Point.

“It’s the busiest week of the year. Yup, for sure. Most operations in a short period of time. It’s pretty crazy,” said John Chmiel, airport manager.

That’s because Tuesday is the second day of the EAA Airventure.

“I’ve been down there yesterday and it seems like everybody wants to go to Oshkosh this year. ‘Cause it’s just mayhem. More cars, more airplanes, more everything than I’ve ever seen down there before. So it’s pretty cool,” said Chmiel.

It’s not just busier in Oshkosh, smaller surrounding airports are experiencing it too. The airport manager says it’s good for the local economy.

“All of those people had to stay in hotels, they all had to eat at restaurants, they all had to rent cars so it was a huge economic impact,” said Chmiel.

In smaller towns in Wisconsin like Wausau and Stevens Point.

“A lot of people don’t want to deal with the traffic because Oshkosh is the busiest airport in the world for that week,” said Chmiel.

“Many aircraft and aircraft owners park here for the week and drive in,” said Jason Draheim, Airport Manager, Stevens Point Municipal Airport.

Draheim said they’ve had a bit less air traffic this year because of their runway project, but he thinks next year will be different.

“Freshly constructed runway is appealing to a lot of folks flying bigger aircraft in and out of the area so I expect that our runway improvements will affect our traffic in next year,” said Draheim.

As for now, pilots are enjoying the week designated for flight.

“We’re looking at a beautiful week weather-wise. So we expect it to stay pretty steady,” said Draheim.

EAA Airventure goes through Sunday.

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