AirVenture: Before you Attend

AirVenture: Before you Attend

Oshkosh! And AirVenture! It’s that time of year again! Just two weeks away now, officially starting this year on Monday, July 22. Are you going? If so, I’m sure your preparations are well underway. If not, well you don’t have much time to get ready. Some people fly themselves, others fly the airlines, some drive, and some fly and drive. Just depends on your circumstances. Some travel great distances, from other countries and continents. Last year, over 650,000 people descended on Oshkosh for the world’s greatest aviation celebration! I know. I was there, in the midst of them. I flew my Cessna 150 from Southern California, and it took me 3 ½ days, each way. Low and slow across this great country! What fun!  It’s always a good time. Never know who you might meet. There are always new friendships to make as well. It’s a gathering of like-minded people, regardless of your interest in aviation. 

It is such a well-run, well-managed event. The grounds are free of litter. People are well-mannered and respectful. The event planners outdo themselves, every year, with so much to see and so many things to do. There’s a different ‘theme’ every year. You simply cannot see it all. So, you pick and choose. And now they have strategically placed webcams on the grounds as well, to broadcast via live streaming throughout the day, to those who are not able to make it.

 There are rows and rows of airplanes parked on the grounds, many with the pilots camping out beneath their wings. It’s estimated that over 10,000 aircraft are parked on Wittman Field for the week. And if you are looking for some interesting and perhaps one-of-a-kind, vintage aircraft, Oshkosh is the place to find it. Or in a museum.

 There are also 4 large exhibit buildings, designated simply as ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, and ‘D’, with 100’s of exhibitors displaying their wares. Not to mention the other exhibits, outside. Most of the BIG GA manufacturers are there, especially in the avionics industry, with Avidyne, Dynon and Garmin among the BIG names. And some of the ‘niche’ aftermarket manufacturers are there as well, like Blackhawk, with turbo-prop engine modifications. Some, but not all of the GA aircraft manufacturers are there. The bigger GA aircraft manufacturers, like Gulfstream, go to the NBAA convention, instead. That’s understandable. That’s their market. But Textron is there. And Embraer, and Piper, and Mooney. And the E/AB market, like Van’s. The LSA (light sport) market is well represented as well.

 The aviation media has a large presence, as well, from ALL the major aviation magazine and publishing companies, Flying, AOPA, EAA, and many more. The EAA gets over 2,500 requests for press credentials each year. The EAA publications staff produces a daily EAA AirVenture News, that is printed and distributed FREE all over the grounds, early every morning, during the convention. It goes to the UWO dorms, as well. They print 1,000’s of copies.

 There are also many, many, gatherings of various aviation organizations as well, at various breakfasts and dinners throughout the week. This is the one time each year to gather and see each other in person.

 Each person’s Oshkosh will be different, depending on one’s interests and how much time you have to look around. Some are only there for a day or two, maybe three, and others, like me, have stayed for the week. There is just SO MUCH to see and do. I’m never bored. It’s a crazy, busy week for everyone! Most of us are sleep deprived as a result! But that’s part of the fun of it. You can catch up on sleep later, after it’s over!


Fly safely and enjoy AirVenture 2023!