Posted by David Hayford on Oct 26, 2018
Topic of the program was General Aviation (GA) at Wittmann Regional Airport, presented by Airport Director Jim Schell. Jim is a native of Shawano. But he left Wisconsin for a while to get a degree at St. Cloud State University (MN) and work at an airport in Cheyenne, WY. He returned to Wisconsin this past April to assume his position at Wittmann.
 
General Aviation is, quite simply, all facets of aviation except commercial airlines and military operations. It includes corporate and commercial, flight training, emergency services, among others. Many people do not really think about the airport except for the two weeks of the EAA AirVenture. 
 
But the airport provides a significant economic impact to the region. The Airport alone provides over $40 million. AirVenture about $170 million, for a combined impact of over $210 million. Wittmann averages about 70,000 aircraft operations annually. About 20,000 during EAA, and 50,000 the rest of the year. It is on pace for 74,000 total operations in 2018. Oshkosh ranks third i Wisconsin for annual operations, behind Milwaukee and Madison.
 
Over a dozen businesses, other than EAA, operate at Wittmann. There are multiple corporate flight departments, including Oshkosh Corp., CR Meyer, Alliance Laundry, and Lee Beverage. Plus there are 163 aircraft based at the airport.
 
Jim discussed future needs and plans for development and re-development. The Support Facility at Wittmann was built in the 1950's. Others in Appleton, Fond du Lac, and Janesville, for example, are new in this century. He mentioned that the image of Wittmann among aviators would be greatly enhanced with a new facility. He showed drawing of a proposed new facility, but not sure what the status of that proposal is. Though the information I found is that the County Board discussed the proposal in December, 2016.
 
The other important element for he future is the Aviation Business Park.