The tally is in for the 2016 edition of AirVenture Oshkosh, the biggest fly-in airshow in the world, and the numbers didn’t disappoint. Huge crowds and gaggles of planes flocked to OSH for the weeklong celebration of all things with wings (and then some).
According to EAA, approximately 563,000 people attended AirVenture, a figure that was slightly better than the 2015 show. EAA Chairman Jack Pelton called the attendance numbers “outstanding, since we had some weather challenges mid-week compared to seven perfect days in 2015.”
There were the usual number of airplanes at Wittman Regional in Oshkosh and surrounding airports—10,000, a figure that tends not to change from year to year—as the actual number of planes that come and go from KOSH and its numerous satellite airports are for all intents and purposes impossible to count exactly. From our point of view, there were, scientifically speaking, a boatload of planes at Wittman Field, with parking filling up by the first day of the show, Monday, and staying very full even through the usual getaway days of Thursday and Friday and through the penultimate day, Saturday, as well. There were 2,855 show planes (up 7 percent), 1,124 homebuilts (up 11 percent), 1,032 vintage planes, 371 warbirds (an increase of 6 percent), 135 ultralights, 101 seaplanes, 31 rotorcraft and 41 aerobatic planes. (One wonders how EAA would count a plane if it were a vintage, homebuilt aerobatic seaplane…hmm.)
As stated, there were 101 seaplanes, but there was one that might have outweighed all the rest of them combined, the Martin Mars water bomber, which was the undisputed heavyweight champion of the week. The big (okay, “big” isn’t a big enough word for it) flying boat made fly-bys of the north and south runways on several occasions during the week and even dropped a few loads of water, putting out a nasty line of fire that EAA had started just to let the Mars do its thing. Very cool, and every eye on the field was riveted on the plane the whole time. The Mars was for sale, by the way, with an asking price we’re told of $3 million.
Next year’s AirVenture, for which the EAA has already started planning, runs from July 24 through July 30, 2017.
Visit the EAA AirVenture website.