Monday, September 29, 2014

The World's Busiest Airport in Wisconsin

The World’s Busiest Airport: AWR Was There! 
            The entries in the internet encyclopedia Wikipedia inform us that the worlds busiest airport in regular operation is the Hartsfield Airport, located some seven miles south of Atlanta Georgia.  Each year Hartsfield processes 900,000 aircraft traffic movements, landings and takeoffs.  This is an average of 17,000 traffic movements each week.
However, there is another airport in the United States that processes nearly 50% more traffic movements, landings and takeoffs, at a total of 25,000 traffic movements in a week, though for only one week each year.  This airplane phenomenon is played out each year in July or August at the Wittman Regional Airport, just two miles south of Oshkosh, a lakeside city in Wisconsin.
            The name Oshkosh means claw in the tribal Menominee language, and it was the name of a notable chief in the early days of European settlement.  Fur traders established the first European settlement, though the timber trade spurred subsequent development.  At one stage, Oshkosh was known as the Sawdust Capital of the World, with 62 lumber mills in the area.  The city was incorporated in 1853, and the population these days is around 70,000.
            Oshkosh is home to three divers tourist attractions:-
                        * The Aviation museum with 250 historic airplanes and five aviation cinemas
                        * The Creation Museum with ¾ million square feet of walk through exhibits
                        * The Historic Adventist Village with 3 blocks of historic buildings and artifacts

            Oshkosh is best known for its Annual Air Show.  This event is staged every summer around the end of July and the beginning of August, and it draws half a million visitors from as many as seventy different countries.  Thousands of people are accommodated in neat rows of tents on the enlarged property measuring nearly 2¼ square miles, and besides each tent is a parked airplane, not a motor car.  There are some 800 commercial exhibits on display for the weeklong event. 
            For this years event just a few weeks back, nearly one thousand media personnel came in from countries on five different continents to provide news reports for back home newspapers and radio & TV stations.  The annual air show also operates its own FM radio station in order to provide news and information to the massive number of attendees.
            The airport supervises three runways and while in operation for the annual air show, there is one departure or one landing every ten seconds, the worlds busiest.  During this years air show, 2,500 participants co-operated in the construction of a Zenith Cruzer airplane which was flown for the first time on the last day of the show. 
            A few days after the end of the Annual Air Show this year, this same property was taken over for a major international youth festival.  This event ran for almost a week, running from August 11 through 15, and it attracted a total attendance of more than 50,000 young people from fifty different countries.
            These Camporee events are staged for young people known as Pathfinders and this years Camporee was planned under the name Forever Faithful International Camporee.  These Camporees are organized by the Youth Department of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination and they are for young people in the age bracket from 10 - 15 years, together with family members and church leaders; they are staged every five years.  
            The Pathfinder organization is very similar to Boy Scouts and Girl Guides.  It began in 1907 and today there are 2 million Pathfinders in 90,000 Pathfinder Clubs in 150 countries worldwide.  The huge Air Show property at Oshkosh is one of the few available venues in the United States that is large enough to accommodate the influx of attendees with all of the events and activities.    
            A large number of the youthful attendees participated in community events in Oshkosh, and they  also entered into many different contests and events in the Camporee itself.  Guided drones were in use for the monitoring of motor traffic, and for aerial photography.  A special one thousand piece jig saw puzzle featuring the Camporee was made available at this years event.
            Local media, radio TV & newspaper, provided ample coverage of the Pathfinder Camporee, and the Camporee administration provided a daily newspaper in color.  International news from the Camporee via satellite and TV was provided by the Hope Channel from Silver Spring in Maryland on the edge of Washington DC and by 3ABN TV from Illinois with its two mobile vans.  The Camporee at Oshkosh also operated its own local FM station, Pathfinder Radio, on 89.4 MHz in order to provide information and news to attendees.
            Among the many display booths was one that gave an overview of the activities of Adventist World Radio.  Yes, AWR was there!  A special issue of the youth magazine, Guide, was dedicated entirely to the work and results of AWR ministry, and display boards showed the widespread outreach statistics of AWR programming.  The AWR booth was under the direction of Shelley Freesland, who is  
Communication Director at the AWR headquarters in suburban Washington DC.

            Among the interesting AWR statistics:-
                        On the air worldwide in nearly 100 languages from 10 shortwave transmitter sites
                        Program production in 70 affiliated studios on all continents
                        1500 FM stations in Russia carry AWR programming
                        Nationwide coverage throughout India on FM and other local media
                        On the air to Asia and the Pacific from 5 shortwave transmitters on the island of Guam    
             The next Pathfinder Camporee is scheduled for Oshkosh again, during the summer of the year 2019.

(AWR-Wavescan/NWS 291 via Anker Peterson)