At this time of the year – end of July/beginning of August – there’s one thing many pilots dream of doing: visiting the EAA Airventure show at Oshkosh, in Wisconsin USA. It’s on every year and is without doubt the biggest regular gathering of aircraft on the planet.
The numbers are staggering: during the week long event, typically over 10,000 aircraft fly in (and out) and more than half a million visitors pass through the gates. There are more than 800 exhibitors selling everything from bizjets to nuts and bolts.
Although I have never attended the show (what an admission for a flying nut like me!) I know there’s something there for everybody. From heavy metal civil aircraft and warbirds, current and yesteryear, to the lightest of ultralights, and even aeromodels for aspiring full-scale pilots, the show covers the whole spectrum. And not only pilots are catered for – there are sideshows of all descriptions, vast food courts and funfairs, a concert arena and a drive-in movie screen. And, of course, flying displays day & night.
You can learn to build your own aeroplane. You can buy your own aeroplane. You can attend one or more of over 1,000 aviation workshops and presentations. You can wander up and down the rows of parked aircraft, which are grouped together by type. Or you can position yourself near the main runways and watch the day-long stream of arrivals and departures. Friends who have been to Oshkosh tell me that a week just isn’t enough time to see everything – so (unfortunately!) they have to go back for another year.
I keep promising myself…next year. In the meantime, I’ll just have to make do with following along on the EAA Airventure Video site. If I put the video on full screen and dim the lights, I might almost be there….
For anyone thinking about going, next year’s Airventure Oshkosh dates are 20-26 July 2015.