Controlling at Fisk, the town

The famous Fisk VFR Approach into Oshkosh, used during EAA Airventure, is the most interesting procedure used at the event and maybe even anywhere. I’d encourage you to read page 7 through 11 of the EAA NOTAM, before going any further.

Fisk is a town 5 miles southwest of Oshkosh, along the “railroad tracks” that run from the town of Ripon to Oshkosh, and air traffic controllers located at Fisk. They don’t work in a control tower though, they work out of a portable trailer using binoculars and radio to visually identify and communicate with pilots.

Controllers will identify aircraft by type, color or any unique features available to distinguish between aircraft. The Fisk arrival procedure segregates aircraft single-file prior to reaching the airport. It all starts 15 miles southwest of Oshkosh at a town called Ripon. Arriving at Ripon, pilots follow railroad tracks leading northeast. Approaching Fisk, aircraft are required to be single-file at least 1/2 – mile in-trail, no side-by-sides. All aircraft should be at an altitude of 1,800 feet MSL and 90 knots airspeed. If unable to meet this speed requirement, then higher performance aircraft may join the line at 2,300 feet and 135 knots.

Back to the point about them working out of a trailer, though. Here’s a video of the controllers at work at Fisk, it’s really a site to see. The view they have is remarkable, hands down one of the most interesting controlling experiences one can have, for those lucky enough to be picked to control during Oshkosh.

References:
1. “Before You Can Get To KOSH, You Have Got To Go Fisk” by Darren Gaines, from the original.
2. EAA Airventure Oshkosh 2019 NOTAM, from the original.
3. “Fisk Approach from the controllers eyes” video, from the original.

July 24, 2019 by Kyle Boas