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Plane Facts: Aviation Gatherings

Learn about the history of AirVenture, Sun 'n Fun, and more shows and fly-ins.

An aviation gathering in Reims, France, in 1909, less than six years after Kitty Hawk.
An aviation gathering in Reims, France, in 1909, less than six years after Kitty Hawk.
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First aviation meetings: Around 1909, France, U.S.
First fly-in event: Unknown
Alternate name for “fly-in:” Fly-out
Organization that chronicles fly-in history: None
Other names for different kinds of aviation gatherings: Exhibitions, airshows, static displays, air tattoos (we kid you not)
Difference between an airshow and a fly-in: Some attendees fly in
How many fly-in attendees to make it a fly-in?: Unknown

Golden Age gathering: National Air Races
Location: Usually Cleveland, Ohio
Estimated attendance, 1939, Cleveland: 100,000
Years run: Non-consecutive years from 1929-late 1940s

First EAA Fly-In Convention: September 1953
Location: Curtiss-Wright Airport, Milwaukee
Largest airshow: Paris Air Show
Largest fly-in airshow: EAA AirVenture
EAA airshow relocation to Oshkosh: 1970
Renamed “AirVenture Oshkosh:” 1998
Event length: One week
Average forums and workshops: ~1,000
Aircraft: >10,000
Campsites: 12,300
Attendees in 1953: 150
Attendees in 2019: 642,000
Attendees in 2020: 0
Reason: Canceled due to coronavirus
Economic impact to surrounding community: $170 million

First Sun ’n Fun gathering: 1975
Attendees: 1,980
Aircraft: 365
Current location: Lakeland Linder International Airport
Event employees: ~35
Volunteers: 3,600
Hours donated: 111,749
Year of snow at Sun ’n Fun: 1977
Number of pilots snowed in: 0
Year of Sun ’n Fun tornado: 2011
Intensity: EF1 (86-110 mph)
Injuries: 15
Deaths: 0
Aircraft destroyed: 40-50
2020 attendees: 0
2021 Dates: April 13-18

The Glory Of Oshkosh AirVenture In Photos
Quiz: How much do you know about EAA AirVenture Oshkosh?
Plane-Strong Pilot-Strong Sales To Benefit Sun ’n Fun

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