The EAA, Experimental Aircraft Association, is an international organization of aviation enthusiasts based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Since its inception, it has grown internationally with over 180,000 members, and around 1,000 chapters in various countries, representing all areas of recreational aviation. Membership is open to anyone interested in aviation and everyone is welcome to join!
The EAA was founded in 1953 by veteran aviator Paul Poberezny who served in World War II and Korea. The organization began as an aircraft homebuilding and restoring club. The EAA’s first meeting place was in the basement of the Poberezny home. Later that year, the organization had its first EAA Fly-in Convention at the Curtiss-Wright Airport in Milwaukee with 21 airplanes and about 150 people and it grew quickly from there. In 1959, the EAA Fly-in Convention outgrew the convention site at Curtiss-Wright Field and was moved to Rockford, Illinois. In early 1964, the association’s first headquarters was built in the Milwaukee suburb of Franklin. By 1966, the organization had grown so much, that a new museum , office complex, and restoration facility were added to the EAA headquarters.
In 1970, the annual EAA Fly-in Convention needed more space and was moved to Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Then in 1983, the EAA moved its headquarters to Wittman Regional Airport as well. In 1998, the EAA Fly-in Convention name was changed to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. Many refer to the fly-in simply as ‘Oshkosh’ and it has become an aviation mecca. The EAA Aviation Center in Oshkosh includes the EAA AirVenture Museum, housing more than 200 aircraft and 20,000 aviation artifacts. It is the first aviation-only museum in the country to receive accreditation by the American Association of Museums.
The EAA’s motto is ‘The Spirit of Aviation’ and EAA members represent every aspect of aviation. It’s a community of passionate aviation enthusiasts that promotes and supports recreational flying and flying safety. Aircraft homebuilding is still a large part of EAA, but the organization has grown over the years to include all areas of aviation and aeronautics. The EAA inspires new participants to the world of aviation by encouraging affordable flying in local environments, protecting the right and freedom to fly, and by supporting and promoting aviation events and activities, to name a few. It’s the aircraft that brings the EAA together, but it’s people who keep coming back, sharing a love of aviation with others, that keeps it going.
Today, in addition to events held at local chapters, the EAA continues to host AirVenture Oshkosh, which has become the largest gathering place for aviation enthusiasts from around the world for one week every year at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014 had over 500,000 people from 69 countries and hundreds of exhibitors! Over 10,000 planes got to “rock your wings” as they flew into the world’s busiest airport (during the week of the convention) and land on colored dots…a definite bucket list experience for pilots worldwide!
Check out Oshkosh 2014:
Join the EAA family! For more information about the EAA and AirVenture Oshkosh, go to www.eaa.org !