I was going to blog about this, but Mark beat me to it: Information Echo : How not to arrive at Oshkosh. Go there, and especially listen to the audio.
The important things to remember are this:
- The NOTAM is 32 pages long, with detailed diagrams and photographs of the all the arrival routes and runway layouts and radio frequencies and the like. It is available on the FAA web site, on the EAA web site, and on the Airventure web site, or you can phone the EAA and they’ll mail you a paper copy. It’s not exactly hard to find.
- Because of the huge volume of aircraft arriving and departing, the entire process is supposed to be “listen-only” with only air traffic controllers talking and pilots acknowledging by rocking their wings. Trying to talk to tower ties up the frequency and causes other aircraft to have to go-around because they won’t get their landing clearances.
- The airport is totally reconfigured for this event – several runways are closed, one of the taxiways has been converted to a runway, the open runways have dots painted on them and there will be simultaneous landings going on to different dots on the same runway, and you are expected to pull off the runway onto the grass, hold up a sign saying where you are going, and follow the flagmen directing you on taxi routes in the grass.
- Most of us planning to fly to Oshkosh downloaded the NOTAM the day it became available (sometime in April I think) and studied it intently since then – and even so I wouldn’t want to do it without a second pilot on board: one to fly and look for traffic, the other to pull out the appropriate arrival page once it has been assigned, guide the pilot flying along the arrival, and tune the radios.
With all that information, it’s tempting to say “see how many mistakes you can spot”, but frankly I’d be more interested to see if anybody out there can spot a single thing this guy did right from the moment the controller suggested that he go back and get the NOTAM. It’s obvious to me that while he claims he had the NOTAM and left it at home, he never actually read it.
BTW: In order that this guy’s stupidity gets enshired forever, I would like to mention that his aircraft ident was N9553A, a Cessna 172R registered to “Airview Inc, 1360 Queens Dr, Moon Township, PA, 15108-1379”. I just wish we had the pilot’s name. It is my fervent hope that for the rest of this guy’s life, no matter where he flies, somebody will say “aren’t you the idiot who flew into Oshkosh without the NOTAM?”