EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 is in the books, and the numbers it produced were huge, more than 600,000 attendees, 10,000-plus airplanes, including some spectacular first-timers, hundreds of educational forums and seminars, and so much more it’s almost beyond accounting.
Stars Of The Show:
The Weather: While in the week leading up to OSH everyone was expecting a good weather week, it far surpassed expectations. It got off to a shaky start, though, and low ceilings and widespread storms and IFR conditions across much of the north and east of the country kept the skies around Wittman Regional quiet for the first part of the day before the show, Sunday. This has become an unofficial press day, with numerous media events and company celebrations, including Cirrus’ annual gala, which this year featured the company showing off its newly won Collier Trophy for the Cirrus SF-50 Vision Jet. But the remainder of the week was glorious, with the exception of late Wednesday, which washed out the night airshow, which was moved to Thursday and was nothing short of a tour de force.
But by Sunday afternoon, the skies had started to clear, and by Monday the parking areas had filled up in anticipation of what would turn out to be an amazing week.
That’s All Brother: The unveiling of the C-47 (military version of the Douglas DC-3), That’s All Brother, which led the D-Day invasion, was historic. The Commemorative Air Force’s Basler-led restoration of the formerly decrepit Gooney Bird was spectacular, and the ceremony honoring it on Wednesday was tear-filled. Watch “Band of Brothers” and “Saving Private Ryan” again, and you’ll get the significance.
One-Day Wonder: EAA had a special tent at the center of the show where hordes of volunteers got together to build a Van’s RV-12 in one week. The plane successfully flew on Monday evening.
100 Years Of The Royal Air Force: AirVenture honored the history of the RAF all week long, with flyovers and special appearances by a host of British planes from WWI to present day.
Electrics: At the EAA Innovation Center, showgoers took in the latest innovations in aircraft tech, including the Black Fly, a plane-copter ultralight hybrid that captured the imagination of thousands.
WomenVenture: Around 1,200 women showed up for the annual photo at Boeing Plaza of women in all walks of aviation. The photo this year was taken in front of a UPS MD-11 flown into OSH by an all-female crew.
EAA Pilot Proficiency Center: The center, hosted by EAA and sponsored by Redbird, AOPA, Jeppesen, Hartzell, Plane & Pilot and many others, was another huge success, with thousands of pilots getting a chance to get sharper and go home with new ways to stay sharp.
Twilight Flying: The late afternoon/early-evening activities at OSH were a blast, with Mark Patey’s heavily modified turbine-powered Wilga called Draco showing off its mind-bending short-field capabilities in the STOL contest. It’s kind of unfair. Those little piston-powered planes don’t have a reverse gear!
We, of course, have left out so much of note, so we apologize for those oversights in advance. But with a show as vast as AirVenture and with a community as passionate as in personal aviation and one that’s so diverse in its passions, it’s only to be expected that the ultimate showcase for aviation would have too much for any one person or any one recap to successfully cover.
So until next year, we leave you with the award-winning aviation photographer Jim Koepnick’s exclusive gallery for Plane & Pilot of the sights of Oshkosh AirVenture 2018. Enjoy.
Lorraine Van Kampen of the Old Glory Honor Flight pushes Vietnam veteran Ron Bellin past well-wishers after returning from visiting the Vietnam Veterans wall in Washington, D.C. Photo by Jim Koepnick