Camping in the North 40 at EAA’s AirVenture

Several aviation enthusiasts have settled into the North 40 campground for this year’s EAA AirVenture. Showing it’s possible to do more with less, the campers have pitched their tents under the wings of their small planes.

The camping at North 40 fosters a sense of comradery and community. Enthusiasts come to meet fellow aviators who share their passion, and many return each year to continue making memories.

Kathy Tarhanick

Kathy Tarhanick, flight enthusiast, and her husband flew from Livonia, Mich. They have flown in for AirVenture since the ’70s and tent camp each year.

Tarhanick enjoys camping in North 40 is the plethora of aviators who flock from around the globe. She adds it is interesting to learn how aviation differs in other countries and how individuals continue to hone their skills.

“One of the coolest things is coming with the same group of people and seeing them progress through life. You will find out that people had kids, and it is just interesting to witness that,” Tarhanick says.

Other couples who make their stake in North 40 enjoy the comradery aspect of camping.

Mike & Kristin

Mike Selwa, piolet of a Cessna 172, and his wife, Kristin, flew in from Oconomowoc. “The fly-in has become less about the airplanes and more about the people,” Mike says.

Each year, the Selwas meet someone new who they keep in touch with, Kristin adds. They have met some friends from different states like North Dakota, Alabama and Alaska.

Doane & Karole Bailey

Doane and Karole Bailey, members of Cherokees-to-Oshkosh, are tent campers who flew from Sharpsville, Pa. Doane explains that they are part of the team which coordinates North 40 camping.

Doane adds that the planes are organized by their make, the Cherokees are grouped together in one location, and the other planes are located in other areas.

Karole Bailey says the facilities improve each year at North 40. She explains this year the EAA added a new bathhouse, and campers do not have to walk as far.

They enjoy tent camping because they can put it up and take it down, and go somewhere else, quickly. While flying to AirVenture, they stopped in several cities in Michigan to visit friends, the Baileys say.

If you have ever trekked to AirVenture, you will understand how large the event is. There are many other pockets of North 40 to explore. If you head down to AirVenture, ask a staff member or volunteer where the site is and make your way there. The aviators who camp there have good stories to share.

— By Emily Showers  

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