Wings Over Waukesha flies in this weekend

Passengers mill about after flying from Oshkosh to Waukesha aboard the WWII B-17G Flying Fortress known as Aluminum Overcast. The plane was in Waukesha for the 2010 Wings Over Waukesha event at Crites Field. This year’s event is Aug. 24-25.
Published on: 8/20/2013

When Kurt Stanich sat down with a group of airplane enthusiasts a little more than three years ago the plan was to create an air event with bigger community impact and that's how Wings Over Waukesha was born.

"For a lot of years the EAA would bring down their B-17 and we'd do a static display. In 2011, a core group of us wanted to make a much bigger impact and solidify aviation in the minds of community members both kids and adults and really just anyone who was interested in it," said Stanich who now chairs the event. "In August of 2011 we put on our first airshow so this is only our third and we've definitely seen it grow."

The event, which draws nearly 10,000 visitors according to Stanich includes not only displayed aircraft but also a full airshow. The displays are a huge attraction said Stanich, largely because of their full-experience philosophy.

"You can take a ride in these planes but also the Waukesha Civic Theatre comes out and dresses in costume and we have cars from the time period as well," Stanich said. "We really try to provide more an of experience that just the air show."

The event includes specified children's areas with activities such as paper airplane making and also the re-enactment area for a dose of history.

"Everybody came together and said we should do these different things. We have the ability to teach kids how airplanes fly and they can put pieces together in the children's area. We have added the living history piece to the airplanes," Stanich said.

Pilot Victor Stottlemyer of Vernon is part of the history coming to this year's show. His World War II Chipmunk and Canadian T-6 planes will be on display. Over the past 25 years, Stottlemyer has enjoyed restoring the aircraft inside and out to colors and interiors true to the time period. He said he is excited about bringing them both to the show.

"I think everybody likes history to a certain extent and they are historic airplanes. The younger generation can get an appreciation for what people did back in the day, how they constructed the airplanes, built them, and how technology came along and advanced the field," Stottlemyer said. "It's very nice to see these historical pieces in the flesh. To see them, to hear their loud engines and smell the smoke when they crank up, it's pretty neat."

It's easy to hear in the voices of both Stanich and Stottlemyer the excitement this event brings just to them but Stanich points out that it's more about getting the community excited.

"My favorite part is standing at the gate when a kid walks by, and not knowing who we are, says 'Mom, I want to be a pilot someday.' To know that we've touched someone and made an impression on someone that may keep them in school longer or study math a little harder to become a pilot or an engineer is so important," Stanich said. "And of course, to see them smile and enjoy the event is important. That might be our next airline pilot or military pilot defending our skies."

Stanich said that largest challenge the group has faced in its short time is concentrating on one or two improvements at a time.

"We all have a lot of great ideas and things we want to try in the future," Stanich said. "But from a practice standpoint we'd rather pull a few things off really well than try to do everything and not give the experience we want to have."

Here's an idea of what you can expect at this year's Wings Over Waukesha.


10 a.m.: Gates open, B-17 and Ford Tri-Motor Rides begin.

10 a.m to noon.: Plane Talks feature announcer interviews with pilots by their aircrafts. Also, live music at the Aviators Bar & Grill.

10:30 a.m.: Flight demonstrations begin

12:30 p.m.: Pre-show

1 p.m.: Jumpers Away Show opens

1:20 to 4 p.m.: Wings Over Waukesha Air Show

4 p.m.: Live music by "The UnXpected"

6 p.m.: Gates close.


10 a.m.: Gates open, B-17 and Ford Tri-Motor Rides begin

10 a.m. to noon: Pancake breafkast by the Waukesha Aviation Club, plane talks available with pilots

10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Live music at the Aviators Bar & Grill

10:30 a.m.: Flight demonstrations begin

12:30 p.m.: Pre-show

1 p.m.: Jumpers Away Show opens

1:20 to 4 p.m.: Wings Over Waukesha Air Show

4 p.m.: Live music at the Aviators Bar & Grill

6 p.m.: Gates close.

For more information on Wings Over Waukesha or to schedule your plane ride time, visit