Crash at AirVenture diverts dozens of pilots to nearby airports

By Millaine Wells, Local 5 News

Published 07/31 2014 05:11PM

Updated 07/31 2014 07:19PM

OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, Wis. (WFRV) - During EAA AirVenture, Wittman Regional is the busiest airport in the world.

Dozens of planes were in the air today when the main runway closed due to a serious crash.

The pilots were diverted to nearby airports.

"The skies are so crowed over Appleton and Oshkosh that they either need to land or get out of the area" explains Pat Tracey, Marketing Manager for the Outagamie County Regional Airport (ATW).

The airport saw an influx of traffic after a serious crash closed the runway at EAA AirVenture grounds.

"We have small planes, war birds, jets from literally all over the world" Tracey explains.

Outagamie County is the primary reliever airport during AirVenture. Plans are made months in advance, in case of emergency.

"The Oshkosh tower alerts the Appleton tower that they have an incident or delay and then the Appleton tower lets the field chairman know to coordinate all the volunteers, and all the people landing the planes" Tracey says.

Roughly 100 people donate their time at the Appleton area airport during AirVenture.

In addition to the flights rerouted to the Fox Cities, a growing number of pilots are choosing to land at ATW then hop on a shuttle to the EAA AirVenture grounds.

According to Tracey "We have been busy since last Sunday. We have upwards of 400 airplanes that have been parking here. We are actually up 20% over last year".

"The facilities are just great, the people are just great, I love it here" says Richard Sommer a pilot from Illinois

Dozens of pilots also landed at the nearby Fond du Lac airport while the runway was closed at AirVenture. 

Copyright Copyright 2014 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.