Hello Autopians! I hope that you’re getting over that mid-week speedbump easily and without suspension damage. I’m happy to announce that the Autopian will be going to its first aviation event! You will be able to find me at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022, taking in all things aviation!
Admittedly, while I’ll be there to check out some sweet aircraft and aircraft history to show you, this is actually a dream that is finally being realized. Many years ago, wonderful denizens of what is now Opposite-Lock often dumped massive loads of photos into the bustling car forum. There was a little bit of everything from old warbirds to helicopters, kit planes, and all sorts of general aviation. In recent years, you might have seen developments in electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft.
I’ve long wanted to go to AirVenture, but somehow I always came at odds with my schedule, money, or both. So I’m jumping with joy (literally) to tell you that I will be there! And this year is looking just as good as any other.
According to the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), the organization was created in January 1953 in founder Paul Poberezny’s basement. Poberezny was the leader of a group of avgeeks who assembled in his home. EAA was originally created to help the people who built their own planes. The first annual fly-in happened that same year at Curtiss-Wright Airport in Milwaukee. And it had a pretty impressive turnout for such a young organization. About 150 people attended with 21 aircraft touching down at the airport.
EAA has grown so much from its roots.
In its evolution, the organization began working to preserve aviation history and even started efforts to advance aircraft technology. The organization says that in 1971, it even started research into using unleaded automotive gasoline as a way to get aircraft out of dangerous leaded aviation gasoline. EAA has even had a hand in expanding the FAA’s decisions in the ultralight category and lower-cost methods for pilots to get certified. By November 2021, EAA managed to amass 250,000 members and AirVenture pulled in 608,000 people that year. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that there were 3,176 showplanes in attendance and more than 10,000 aircraft flew in.
To further illustrate how much AirVenture has grown into the huge plane fest that it is, attendance is double that of the famous Paris Air Show, which has been running for 113 years.
Sadly, I won’t be flying in. In between wedding planning and other adventures I haven’t found much seat time.
The 69th edition of EAA’s famous fly-in at Wittman Regional Airport has quite a lot going on. This year’s show honors 75 years of the United States Air Force. The showcase is said to include history from the second World War and all of the way to today. One of the goals is to inspire youth towards the technology and possibilities that aviation has to offer.
The military lineup is looking pretty good. Here’s what will be doing flight demos at AirVenture (as of 6/30):
U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey demo team (July 30-31)
U.S. Air Force C-17 aerial demo (July 28, 30, and 31)
U.S. Air Force U-2 profile (July 27)
U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command (July 25)
U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight with F-35 and vintage warbirds (July 26-28, 30-31)
U.S. Navy Legacy Flight with EA-18G Growler and/or F-35C plus vintage warbirds (July 27-31)
U.S. Navy E-2D Hawkeye demo (July 29, 31)
And if you don’t like watching military hardware fly, that’s fine. There will be a variety of other aircraft flying, too, including an Airbus A330 and a Boeing 777:
Delta Airlines A330-900 (July 26)
United Airlines Boeing 777 demo (July 26)
Flight of the Grumman ‘Cats (July 27, 29)
Van’s RV 50th anniversary formations (July 25)
Airbus Perlan II and Grob Egrett (July 26)
Ampaire Electric EEL and Lift Aviation Hexa (July 26)
The full airshow list is pretty neat and includes a mix of GA and military; there will even be homebuilts and ultralights. Of course, the famous B-29 DOC will be there as well as a Ford Trimotor that you can actually ride in!
If you plan on coming and like me, it’s your first time, it looks like this is definitely a family-friendly event. In addition to looking at some awesome aircraft, the kiddos will be able to learn how to fly R/C planes, fly with a flight simulator, learn to use tools, and more. And there will be all kinds of learning activities. Kids attend free, too, which is great.
And if you want to learn how to fly, EAA has a Learn to Fly Center where you can get all of the tools that you need to find your tush in a cockpit, building some hours.
The event runs from July 25 to 31. Daily tickets are $39 if you’re an EAA member or $54 if you’re just visiting. Come on Sunday and it’s just $19 or $25, respectively. There are also multiple-day tickets that lower the daily cost, such as the two-day ticket available to just non-members for $84. There is a campground there, and that’s where you’ll find me for the final weekend of the event. I can’t tell you what vehicle that I will be in, but be on the lookout for an Autopian shirt!
(All photo credits to the Experimental Aircraft Association.)
Saw the SR-71 Blackbird there in 1989. It flew a few hundred feet overhead with the afterburners on. It was so loud I thought my head was going to explode. Needless to say, it was one of the most amazing moments of my childhood.
Awesome! I was tempted to head out there, but decided to stay semi-local and hit up the Duluth air show this weekend, after they announced a B-1 Lancer on display.
I tend to think of aviation enthusiasts as mostly male, yet every time i go to an airshow the majority of people are young families.It’s great to see
Oshkosh is just as amazing as you would hope it can be, then multiplied by 10. I had the opportunity to attend in 2018 and flew in from North Dakota in my old Beech Musketeer on day 2 of the show.
The morning of my flight I checked to find out if there were any camping spots on the field and was disappointed to learn that camping was full. I was determined to go so I planned to fly-in and camp at the overflow in Appleton. At my fuel stop in western Wisconsin I checked again and camping at OSH was open again!
I made my way towards the FISK approach, listening to the advisory frequency the whole way in expecting to hear that arrivals were shut down meaning there’s no more room on the field. I had to make a few holding turns over Green Lake near Ripon but then it was my turn! I followed my way up the railroad tracks from Ripon, rocked my wings at FISK when the controllers identified my little Beech, I was sent east over the freeway overchange to runway 36 right, given one of the colored dots on the runway to land on, and I was there!
I camped next to my plane until the last day of the show in the Northernmost field among hundreds of other general aviation aircraft and enthusiasts. I got up early every day, stayed up late and explored the airshow grounds as thoroughly as humanly possible, but there is just no possible way to see it all, if I had to guess I probably got to 60-75% of it.
On my way home I stopped in western Minnesota for fuel. A few minutes later a Spitfire and P-51 Mustang also on their way home also dropped in for a fuel stop. My little old Beech somehow didn’t seem worthy to drink from the same self-serve pump as these thoroughbred warbirds, much less block them from the pump. They shut down about the time I finished topping off my tanks. It turns out that I knew the Spitfire pilot and the P-51 had just won Grand Champion, the biggest award of the whole show! I moved my plane out of the way and helped push them into range of the fuel nozzle, then waited to watch/experience them starting up and rumble off into the sky.
I haven’t been able to make it back since that trip, but I can’t wait until the day I can!
Have you ever considered going to the Dayton Air Show? It’s been about 20 years since I’ve been, but it’s always been well considered.
Fun fact, a buddy of mine’s dad used to run it. He was a director for a local news station. There was a line of Emmy’s on his mantel. They’re both dead now (buddy and his dad).
I tent camped for 4 days in 2018 and 2019.
If your interested in some automotive content while you’re there EAA maintains a large number of air cooled VW’s for moving people around the grounds before, during and after AirVenture. I recall there is also a 66 Buick convertible on the flight line and some other vintage goodies.
Depending how many days you have in mind for attending I’d recommend setting aside a day or even afternoon for the EAA museum and Pioneer airport for a chance to get time out of the sun. It’s a world class facility.