Members of the Young Eagles program salute the Honda Jet at EAA AirVenture 2015
My husband and I have just flown in to the largest gathering of airplane enthusiasts in the world: EAA AirVenture 2016 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. This is a place where industry icons, astronauts, military and civilian pilots, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, movie stars, Joe and Joy Homebuilders, and aviation lovers from here and abroad come together for a week of show and tell.
THE HAPPIEST PLACE ON EARTH
During this time, Disney World can no longer claim to be the “Happiest Place on Earth.” AirVenture is. I know I will be seeing three-quarters of a million people grinning, laughing, ooo-ing, and ahh-ing in an explosion of happiness.
You doubt what I say because Disney has theme characters, and AirVenture does not? While there is no Mickey here, Kermit is, Kermit Weeks, that is, whom Forbes calls the “most prolific airplane collector in the world.” Kermit will be taking paying customers on the ultimate thrill ride: a flight in the Martin Mars, a 38-foot-high and 120-foot-long flying boat guaranteed to generate some big smiles.
Now you are thinking that Disney has princesses with special powers, and AirVenture does not. Wrong again! Some of the bravest princesses in the universe will be challenging the laws of gravity and thermodynamics by performing loopy looping, twisty tumbling, and tickly treetop maneuvers in their aerobatic airplanes. Another princess wil take a wild walk on the wing of a Grumman bi-plane. There will be a score of handsome princes flying too, some in spectacular displays of smoke and pyrotechnics. There will be no sad faces this week.
ATTRACTIONS FOR ALL
Are you still doubting the happiness factor of this event because there are not enough attractions? Consider the following:
- 10,000 aircraft, including home builts, vintage planes including the War Birds, sea planes, business aircraft, ultra lights, kit planes, light sport aircraft, lighter than air vehicles, drones, and experimental airplanes no one has ever seen before. Many are on display, many are in the daily air shows, many are located at the Sea Plane base, and many are the preferred mode of travel for the attendees. You will see fields full of general aviation aircraft with the pilots and passengers camping under the wings.
- Two nights of corporate-sponsored fireworks displays that light up the sky in rainbow bursts, bountiful booms, and a heavenly waterfall of fire splashing on the ground below.
- 700 exhibitors promoting products to please the most discriminating aviator. Lots of free stuff too for the swag shoppers.
- 500 forums and seminars focusing on designing, building, and inventing the cutting edge technology of the future.
- The EAA AirVenture Museum with over 200 historic airplanes, galleries, flight simulators, and interactive galleries for kids.
- The Theater in the Woods and a concert series for evening entertainment.
- Gourmet dining Wisconsin style. Feast like the locals on sizzling brats, roasted corn, and got-to-have-them cheese curds.
- Famous people sightings, such as Harrison Ford who will be flying the two millionth flight with the Young Eagles, a program that gives children ages 8-17 their first free ride in an airplane.
I dare you to come and experience EAA AirVenture and not find it to be the Happiest Place on Earth. Now it is time for me to go to bed and get a good night’s rest to be ready to explore the festival tomorrow.”Good Night!” I say with a smile.