Oshkosh Airshow

The Oshkosh Airshow is an annual gathering of Aviation enthusiasts held each summer at Wittman Regional Airport, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

The event is presented by EAA (the Experimental Aircraft Association), a national/international organization which is based in Oshkosh. For many years the official name of the event was The EAA Annual Convention and Fly-In. In 1998 the name was changed to AirVenture Oshkosh. But, much to the chagrin of EAA, most regular attendees still refer to it as The Oshkosh Airshow, or just Oshkosh.

EAA was founded in 1953 as a support organization for people who were building their own recreational aircraft (homebuilders). Homebuilding is still a large part of EAA, but the organization has grown over the years to include almost every aspect of Aviation and Aeronautics.

The Fly-in consists of:

  • Displays of visiting aircraft of all sizes and types
  • Commercial exhibits
  • Large exhibits by NASA and FAA
  • Showcase fly-bys
  • A daily aerobatics airshow
  • Informative lectures by professional & amateur presenter
  • ...and more.

For many attendees, an equally important aspect of the Fly-in is the opportunity to socialize with other aviation enthusiasts. Lots of people meet up each year with Oshkosh friends who they only see at the Fly-in. For many years these Oshkosh friends had no contact during the rest of the year, but recently many of them have begun to stay in touch throughout the year via email.

The official event is seven days long and typically begins on the last Tuesday in July. But it is common for many attendees to arrive for the event 3 - 4 days before the official start, and for others to stay a few days after the end. The value of these extra days is in the opportunity to relax in an aviation environment, and to socialize with other aviation enthusiasts from around North America. Also, a very large contingent of volunteer workers arrive as early as a month before the event, and stay long after the end, to help with presenting the event.

AirVenture Oshkosh 2004 was held from July 27 to Aug 2. Next ones are scheduled for July 26 – August 1, 2005 and July 25 – July 31, 2006.

Missing image
The control tower is traditionally decorated with the banner saying WORLD'S BUSIEST CONTROL TOWER during the AirVenture.

It is estimated that 10,000 - 15,000 aircraft visit Wittman Field each year during the Fly-in. Attendance is estimated at over 750,000 people who arrive by both air and ground transport. The large number of aircraft arrivals and departures during the Fly-in week officially make the Wittman Field FAA Control Tower the "busiest in the world"... for that week anyway. To accommodate the huge flow of aircraft around the airport and the nearby airspace, a special NOTAM is published each year, choreographing the normal and emergency (if need be) procedures to follow.

Most of the aircraft on display at the Fly-in are in one of these categories:

  • Homebuilt aircraft, built both from scratch and from kits
  • Vintage aircraft
  • Restored and replica former military aircraft, aka "Warbirds"
  • Active duty military aircraft from the U.S. and other nations
  • Notable aircraft from commercial aviation and the airlines
  • Ultralights
  • Rotorcraft
  • Amphibians and Float-planes

Hotels, dormitories, and many private guest rooms in the region are almost always filled to capacity during the Fly-in. But the large majority of visitors camp, under the wing of their airplane, or in the conventional campgound which is adjacent to the airport and convention grounds.

Attractions of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2005 include:

  • SpaceShipOne/White Knight: The world's first successful civilian spacecraft, which reached the edge of space last fall to claim the $10 million Ansari X Prize.
  • Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer: The amazing aircraft in which pilot Steve Fossett, in March 2005, became the first person to fly solo around the world without stopping or refueling.
  • Eclipse 500 jet: The innovative business jet that is part of a new generation of jet transportation, making its first public flight activities at EAA AirVenture.
  • 60th anniversary of the end of World War II: The Commemorative Air Force's legendary B-29 "Fifi" leads the hundreds of vintage airplanes from that era at AirVenture, an unmatched collection of fighters, bombers and transports (including FIVE of the world's dozen flying B-17 bombers).
  • The U.S. Marine Corps "Harrier" jump jet: The unique military airplane that takes off and flies forward, backward, sideways and straight up.
  • The Pitcairn Autogiro: A one-of-a-kind aircraft from the 1930s that served as the early forerunner of modern helicopters, and not seen at Oshkosh in nearly 20 years.
  • The French Legion: More than 20 small aircraft flying from France for EAA AirVenture, including two 1950s-era Dassault "Flamingo" military liaison airplanes.

Along with these unique aircraft will be thousands of privately owned airplanes, from hundreds of homebuilt machines built by EAA members to lovingly restored vintage models, that annually make EAA AirVenture one of the most colorful and exciting events anywhere in the world.

Notable dates

  • 1953 EAA was founded
  • 1953 First EAA Fly-in held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • 1959 EAA Fly-in moved to Rockford, Illinois
  • 1970 EAA Fly-in moved to Oshkosh, Wisconsin

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