EAA AirVenture 2016 is underway — and continues through Sunday, July 31st.
The “world’s largest annual gathering of aviation enthusiasts” includes daily air shows 10,000 airplanes, 1,000 forums and workshops, 800+ exhibitors and much, much more.
The event makes Wittman Regional Airport the busiest airport in the world!
70,000 people per day are expected to attend the event, and about 2,000 of them are headed into Oshkosh, Wisconsin from foreign countries.
From Argentina to Zimbabwe, people from around the globe have converged on Oshkosh for the popular EAA AirVenture.
“Because it’s the best place in the world for aircraft!” Patrick Duhannic of France said.
“To tell you the truth, Australia doesn’t have anything like this so it brings me all the way over here,” Nichola Caines of Australia said.
“Everybody’s in their world, you know? It’s like being a little kid with your toys!” Mercedes Benites of Argentina said.
EAA AirVenture is a place for aircraft and people from all over the world. The event is known globally for showcasing the best aircraft and aviation innovations.
“Amazing airplanes. New airplanes you get to touch or even fly in. Airplanes maybe you’ve only imagined,” Benites said.
To help foreign travelers feel at home, AirVenture has an International Visitors Tent.
“We offer interpretation and translation services. We’re a place for them to get general information about the grounds and the show,” Michele Bryson, chairwoman of international visitors at EAA said.
Visitors are asked to register to help EAA officials keep track of who’s coming from where — and to help the guests themselves find friends.
“They’re free to look through the books to see if somebody they know that they’re looking for has registered,” Bryson said.
Because many international travelers have cell phones that don’t work in Oshkosh, there are bulletin boards where visitors can leave messages for one another.
“We have to go what I call ‘old school’ and they have to leave notes for one another,” Bryson said.
Those from overseas WLUK spoke with said the aircraft and the customer care are great — but one thing keeps them flying back to AirVenture.
“Even if you don’t know anybody, the first time you step in, you know you’ve found friends,” Duhannic said.
“I’ve made a lot of friends coming here now for seven years and that is what brings me back, because I get to see them as well as enjoy my time at the show,” Caines said.
So will they be back next year?
“Oh, sure, yeah. I’ve been here every year since 1982!” Duhannic said.
According to EAA officials, guests travel to AirVenture from 70 to 80 different countries. One of the largest groups comes from South Africa.
There was an incident Monday night, July 25th — when a plane made a hard landing at EAA AirVenture. We’re told a World War II era plane’s landing gear wasn’t working properly.
The pilot was not hurt.
On Sunday, ahead of the start of EAA AirVenture, a pilot suffered injuries that were not life threatening when his small plane crashed at the Oshkosh airport.
Thirty-nine-year-old Richard Maisano of Pennsylvania crashed at Wittman Regional Airport after his HXA-Bristell Light Sport stalled. Experimental Aircraft Association spokesman Dick Knapinski says Maisano was taken to a Neenah hospital after the crash.
Federal Aviation Administration Great Lakes Region spokesman Tony Molinaro told USA Today Network-Wisconsin that Maisano was the only occupant in the aircraft when it stalled as it approached the runway.
The airport was briefly closed Sunday night after the crash.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating.