The Autopian Is Going To One Of The Coolest Airshows On The Planet

Oshtop

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.

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AirVenture 2017 – EAA

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.

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EAA

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!

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EAA

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.

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Dyke Delta homebuilt – EAA

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.)

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40 Responses

  1. 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.

  2. I’m gonna be there, too! YEE-HAAA! Cross one more off my bucket list. Retired USAF so, it’s gonna have some more meaning. I’ll be hanging around warbirds and military hardware.
    I’ll be looking for you Mercedes…

  3. You’ll love it. I’ve been to Oshkosh a few times over the years, but not since the early ’90s. My grandpa was a pilot (and a Cessna engineer), and my dad was working on his pilot’s license but never had the opportunity to finish (but has kept his EAA membership current all these years).

    Myself, I prefer to keep my feet on the ground generally, but I can definitely appreciate the history and engineering of planes.

  4. If anything like our local Air Fest, bring hearing protection, especially for the kids. They have to call it an “Fest” instead of “Show” as there are more strict requirements for a “Show”. We get fly-bys, demos, rides, stand-mounted enging runs, radio control demos and more. We are literally a few yards from the actual runway. We also house a Cal Fire air attack base, so we can get up close and personal with those folks and their aircraft. Every other year as they trade with another nearby small airport. Great stuff.

    1. I have heard it said that the most patient, level-headed people on Earth are the ATCs at this event. Just imagine being in charge of coordinating the safe landing and takeoff of that many planes! Also, the nature of the event means you get a lot of hobbyists who aren’t necessarily familiar with flying in crowded circumstances like that.

  5. Cool! I’m excited to live vicariously through your visit to the show! I’ve always wanted to attend this one but I never had the opportunity. Maybe some day.

    In addition to reporting on all of the incredible aircraft that will be on display, will you be showing the logistics behind attending the event? I’ve read that the show is so large and the town is so small that most attendees camp on site –often in the shadow of the wing of their own aircraft that they flew in– because there just aren’t enough hotel rooms to go around. I’m curious about what that’s like for attendees. What do you need to know before arriving? What do you need to bring with you? What options are available? And what are some of the best ways to plan a visit to this show?

  6. 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!

  7. 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).

  8. 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.

  9. Welcome to my hometown, Mercedes! I’ll be camping in the Upper Peninsula during AirVenture week, but enjoy!

    Be sure to get a meal at Pete’s Garage while you’re here. It’s outstanding, and you could even make a weak argument that it’s car-related, given their “garage” theme. Bring an old license plate along for them to add to their walls.
    https://www.petesgaragebar.com/

  10. Awesome!! So happy for you.
    You could meet Jimmy who will be there with the Silver 310.
    I’d have like to have been there when Peter Sripol brought the ultralight he built out of foam insulation board from Lowes or Trent Palmer and the Bush Pilots.

    Factory Five will be there. My nephew Ted goes every year to help work with people who are interested in building a car having done a stunning job building one of their Cobra’s.

  11. For anyone who’s in to aviation as well as cars, there is a great podcast called Opposing Bases.

    At least one of the hosts is also somewhat of a car guy he recently finished (I think) a bunch of work on an 80s 4runner.

    Mercedes if you run into them it might be some good crossover content.

    https://www.opposingbases.com/

  12. Yes, Mercedes need her own plane. Move on from one of the everybody- trains – in C172. Me thinks a build makes sense. Not only from the technical and hands on aspect, but of you are the builder, you have official inspection rights. No longer at the mercy of your IA (and absolutely no disrespect to IAs and APs)

    Someone mentioned quick build. Zenith is right up the road from where I live. Great planes, especially for fun flying. Stop by their booth. If you – Mercedes- want to come out to Mexico MO, give me a shout. I’d love to build one of their planes myself (Although I cannot complain about me Cherokee- don’t discount Pipers ????).

  13. Several years ago we were at Road America for the vintage races, must have been the same weekend as Osh Kosh, as we saw lots of flying gear and a few ultralights on trailers at the hotel we were at.

    I was always interested in going to the fly in, even moreso after that. You are living the dream, looking forward to stories and plenty of pics.

  14. Awesome! My grandpa took me in ’85 and I got to see a B-1B up close not to mention watching the Concord take off. I’ve been trying to make it back there and bring my own family over the last few years, but the week it falls on is a particularly busy time of the year where I work. Looking forward to your coverage!

  15. I was there in 1995 watching a lecture on one of the stages with my then 25-year-old wife when a golf cart carrying Chuck Yeager and Doolittle Raiders’ pilot Travis Hoover pulled up behind us. They were immediately mobbed by the crowd, but I handed my wife our program and a pen and she came back a few minutes later with both of their autographs. She had no idea who they were, but said they were both very nice gentlemen.

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