All roads— and many airways— lead to Oshkosh, Wisconsin where the greatest aviation show on earth is in full swing. The EAA AirVenture is an experience that no attendee will ever regret or forget. If you are not there now, start making travel plans. One need not be an aviation aficionado to enjoy the biggest and best air show in the world. I have been to Sun ‘N Fun in Lakeland Florida and it was kind of like the county fair in Central Illinois compared to EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh. Furthermore I have been to the Paris Air Show—at Farnborough, England (the alternating site)—and that event pales in comparision to Oshkosh.
If you have not been there, immediately Google EAA Air Venture and you will be provided with a good overview of this fabulous gathering of aviation—and non-pilot-people as well—soaking up more airplane encounters than is barely imaginable. There are numerous webcams on site which provide a current view of the festivities. The static displays of aircraft alone, is worth the price of admission. Expect to see: numerous military aircraft such as the C-5A, the F-16, an array of helicopters; antique airplanes such as the old Ford Tri-Motor, gussied-up DC-6s, P-51 Mustangs, and of course, the fabulous “Douglas Racer/ Gooney Bird/DC-3 (still operational throughout the world, particularly in Latin America and the Caribbean). You will have the opportunity to get up close to a Blue Angel aircraft and its pilot at a static display—a great photo-op scenario.
The many hangars are filled with aviation-oriented products that will amaze and entice. Every form of aviation paraphernalia imaginable can be purchased. Last year I took a simulator flight in the ICON amphibian aircraft and I could have ponied up a few thousand dollars for a “purchaser’s slot.” If you did not bring your platinum American express or MasterCard, fret not, for you shall be able to accumulate bags and bags of vendor, give-away “swag.” One could spend the entire week perusing the cool aviation products. It is the ultimate cornucopia of pilot goodies.
If you are mechanic of any sorts there are more seminars than you can attend relating to many aspects of aircraft building and repair. When you leave the highly informative seminar you can go outside and watch one of the many aerobatic events that will leave the average viewer slack-jawed in awe. Some of the maneuvers that are performed by these world class aerobatic pilots seem to defy all elements of physics. Many of the basic tenets of aerodynamics such as angle of attack, stall, lift, drag, yaw, and gravity appear to be defied.
For a more sedate experience, The Warehouse, (adjacent to the control tower) will provide a wide variety of souvenir items but more importantly, you can access author’s corner where nearly every aviation book ever published is available for purchase. You can also interact with some of these authors as they provide signed copies of their book along with free “hangar-talk.” Ace Abbott (yours truly) will be in attendance for the third straight year selling and signing his book, the third edition of The Rogue Aviator: in the back alleys of aviation, as well as his just released book, Dead Tired: Pilot Fatigue: Aviation’s Insidious Killer. Aviation literature can provide the surreptitious joys of aviation while sitting in the recliner.
This blog is prepared by Ace Abbott, the author of The Rogue Aviator and Dead Tired (www.therogueaviator.com)