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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.

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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