It is that time of the year again! Pilots from all over the world joined together in Oshkosh, Wisconsin to celebrate aviation. I have been attending airshows my entire life, but nothing compared to the experience of AirVenture. Thanks to the Experimental Aircraft Association and all lovers of planes, Oshkosh put on the show of a lifetime.
Nope, those are not birds. Those specs in the sky are planes in the traffic pattern. It is every pilot’s dream to fly his/her plane into AirVenture. Either made themselves and declared as experimental, or made by Cessna and approved air worthy by the FAA, there is a spot for every pilot. The town of Oshkosh and the surrounding areas of Wisconsin were buzzing with aviation spirit. Starbucks allowed all customers to place a pin on their huge mural of the world located in the Oshkosh location. It was so interesting seeing all the different places that people flew from, both near and far. It is part of the experience to pack or ship in camping gear to sleep under the wing of your plane. The town included acres of farm land that were used as parking for the thousands of planes and campers.
Although it was cloudy, the ceiling was still high enough for VFR flight. AirVenture can be described as the Disney World of aircraft. There was something for everyone to do, whether it be to watch an airshow, watch a presentation in the fly-in theatre, go to a workshop, or fly in one of the vintage aircraft that were brought from different parts of the world for people to observe.
Oshkosh was the wrong place to have a habit of texting and walking. Traffic guards were put in place at all sidewalk intersections in order for planes and bystanders to pass safety. Everyone I met had an interesting story and experience to share about their flight career. It did not matter if you just had your first solo, or if you were about to celebrate 50 years of flight, AirVenture was an amazing place to learn from the people around you.
The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) allows this entire event to happen. A large amount of the planes that flew into the event have been built by pilots for their own use. One day my family and I hope to have the opportunity to bring a home-built plane to the event. Many gain knowledge and tips from fellow plane builders in order to ensure confident and safe flight for all the flying hours to come.
My favorite part about the event was the ongoing air shows. No matter what you were doing, airplanes were constantly surrounding the runway performing stunts, reenactments, and more. No airshow is complete without a pair of aviators, the official eyewear of flight. These babies were vintage 1970s ray bans I (politely) stole from my dad’s flight bag. There is nothing like sipping a lemonade while watching the busy skies.
Now that this years event is over and most of airshow season is coming to a tragic end, I am more than grateful to be a part of such an amazing community of people. I am more than thankful for flight being such a large part of my life, and cannot wait to pass it down to all the generations to come.