AirVenture – A History of The World’s Largest Airshow

AirVenture Oshkosh

Start of AirVenture 2014, Oshkosh, Wi.

This year, between July 28th and August 3rd, we attended AirVenture, the world’s largest airshow. Each summer, it is a week at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin that is like no other.  It’s a week full of the latest in airplanes and helicopters, breathtaking air shows, films, energetic concerts, various demonstrations, workshops, and numerous other fun filled activities centered around aviation, attracting nearly 500,000 people every year.  This annual celebration of aviation is called EAA AirVenture and is held by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), which is an international community of people who all share the same love and appreciation of flight.

Originally called the EAA Fly-In, the first get-together was a part of the Milwaukee Air Pageant in September of 1953. Approximately 150 people attended and there were only a small number of airplanes.  Every year it grew and even before the 1950s ended, the EAA Fly-In out-grew the Milwaukee airport.

The event then moved to Rockford, Illinois Municipal airport.  With more space, the EAA Fly-In expanded its aviation interests to include warbirds, aerobatic performers, and antique aircraft. Soon Rockford could no longer contain the growing EAA Fly-In and once again the event had to relocate.

AirVenture Oshkosh

Warbird Alley at AirVenture

The airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, suggested by Steve Wittman, had the ideal qualities to host such an event.  The land surrounding the airport could accommodate the numerous airplanes, tents, and vehicles.  Also, the two runways at the airport didn’t intersect, allowing traffic to flow better. The EAA board approved the move to Oshkosh in 1969.

It turned out to be the perfect place and became the home of the  EAA Fly-In which was renamed EAA AirVenture in 1998. Each year approximately 500,000 people make the journey to Oshkosh with 10,000 aircraft in attendance. It is the biggest aviation event in the world!

X-Copter Simulator

X-Copter Helicopter Flight Simulator

This year’s  at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 had some great new additions! The Thunderbirds’ entire team of F-16s flew for the first time as a result of an increased acrobatic area for them to perform! Also, air shows were streamed online for everyone to enjoy. The newest helicopter flight simualtor, X-Copter, was at AirVenture this year – one of the first helicopter flight simulators to be on display at AirVenture.  There was also a ‘One Week Wonder’, an airplane built from a Zenith CH 750 Cruzer kit in seven days by everyone at the show who wanted to help and it flew! In addition, this year’s space themed days included special guest speakers discussing everything on the topic including private space exploration. Jack Pelton, EAA Chairman, stated in a recent interview that he sees space aviation as a growing and important sector of Oshkosh in the coming years.  EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is constantly changing and growing every year and it’s no wonder it has become aviation’s mecca!

Check out our Facebook page for all our AirVenture 2014 photo albums at: 

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