Published in Midwest Flyer – October/November 2018 issue
OSHKOSH, WIS. – “A ‘perfect’ event may be unattainable, but AirVenture 2018 came about as close as one could imagine,” said EAA Chairman Jack Pelton, following this year’s event, July 23-29, 2018 at Wittman Regional Airport, Oshkosh, Wis.
Pelton continued: “The combination of outstanding programs, aircraft variety, a robust economy, and good weather combined to complement the efforts of our staff and 5,000 volunteers throughout the grounds. The week was upbeat, exciting, and filled with many ‘Only at Oshkosh’ moments.”
Attendance was approximately 601,000, nearly two percent above 2017’s record total.
“EAA members and aviation enthusiasts attended in large numbers, even without the presence of a military jet team as we had in 2017,” said Pelton. “Our efforts to create unique attractions and aviation highlights across the grounds were incredibly successful. Attendance on opening day was the best in our history, as the vast majority of our guests came to Oshkosh early and stayed throughout the week.”
More than 10,000 aircraft arrived at Wittman Regional Airport and other airports in east-central Wisconsin. At Wittman alone, there were 19,588 aircraft operations in the 11-day period from July 20-30, which is an average of approximately 134 takeoffs/landings per hour.
There were 2,979 showplanes (second straight year over 2,900): 1,160 homebuilt aircraft (5 percent increase), 1,094 vintage airplanes, 377 warbirds (7 percent increase), 185 ultralights and light-sport aircraft, 75 seaplanes, 22 rotorcraft, 52 aerobatic aircraft, and 14 hot air balloons.
There were more than 12,300 sites in aircraft and drive-in camping, which accounted for an estimated 40,000 visitors.
Commercial exhibitors: 867.
Forums, Workshops, and Presentations: 1,500 sessions attended by more than 75,000 people.
EAA Aircraft Flights: 2,800 people flew aboard EAA’s Ford Tri-Motors, while 3,032 people flew aboard EAA’s Bell 47 helicopters and 680 flew aboard EAA’s B-17 Aluminum Overcast.
A record 2,714 visitors registered from 87 nations, also a record total. (Actual counts may be higher since international visitor registration is voluntary.) Top countries represented by registered visitors: Canada (538 visitors), Australia (386), and South Africa (277).
There were 976 media representatives on-site, from six continents.
The economic impact was $170 million for the five counties in the Oshkosh region (Winnebago, Outagamie, Fond du Lac, Calumet, and Brown) based on a 2017 University of Wisconsin Oshkosh economic impact study.
What’s ahead for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019 (July 22-28, 2019)?
Comment from Pelton: “We are celebrating our 50th consecutive year in Oshkosh during 2019, so we’ll be looking back on a half-century of unforgettable highlights at Wittman Regional Airport, and planning activities that involve EAA’s hometown and its unique place in aviation history. While 2018 is barely in the record books, we’re talking to many groups and individuals with intriguing new ideas for aircraft, innovations, exhibits, and events. We’re already planning for 2019 and are looking forward to announcing features and attractions very soon.”