This year’s mass arrival is scheduled to take place on July 24. Mass arrivals are flown in VFR conditions. The group is hoping to sign up 60 aircraft to celebrate the sixty-first anniversary of the Piper Cherokee.
Mass arrivals of aircraft fly to the show in formation and can bypass the Fisk Arrival to Wittman Regional Airport, because they work with the FAA in advance to obtain cleared airspace for a scheduled arrival time.
To qualify, pilots must register and successfully complete at least one formation flying mini-clinic before the event. Mini-clinics are held across the United States, and a schedule is available on the group’s website. Registrants are encouraged to attend more than one mini-clinic.
“The Cherokees to OSH ‘mass arrival’ is not an event—it’s a process,” said Cherokees to Oshkosh Director of Air Operations Ed LeBlanc. “For dozens of planes to depart and arrive safely, the group must have the right safety-focused attitude and be properly trained. It requires flying in formation with other planes—something most pilots have never done. The formation flying we do is simple to learn but requires some skill development. We’re not putting on an airshow—we’re flying to one.”
After arriving at the show, participants have the option to camp with the Cherokees to Oshkosh group, or they can park or camp elsewhere.
“A real advantage of Cherokees to Oshkosh is that by flying together and camping together, you meet some really great people,” the organization said in a news release. “Cherokees to Oshkosh erects a hospitality tent adjacent to the campsite in the North 40 at Oshkosh. At the beginning, and at the end, of each day it’s a great place to meet, swap stories, and share the ‘don’t miss, and don’t bother’ exhibit booths at AirVenture. For those with families, there are others with kids of all ages. For those travelling alone, or those couples who want to split up for the day, there are others with whom you can have a shared experience visiting OSH.”
New for 2021, Cherokees to Oshkosh will stage out of Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee.
Registration, mini-clinic schedule, and additional information are available on the website. Early-bird registration is $150 per pilot, $125 per passenger, through March 31. Registration fees will be refunded if pilots decide formation flying isn’t for them.
Cherokees to Oshkosh paused its group arrival activities in 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic caused EAA to cancel the show.
In 2018 AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman joined Cherokees to Oshkosh flying a Piper Cherokee 140. The group was welcoming and safety-minded and quickly became like a family, even within the already strong family that is general aviation.