August 2012

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Welcome to Oshkosh

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OSHKOSH -- The world's busiest airport is now in Wisconsin.

An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 aircraft are expected to descend upon (and land) here at Whitman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.

AirVenture, hosted by the Experimental Aircraft Association, is the Woodstock of air shows. Massive fields host campers who pitch tents, not next to RVs, but underneath the wings of their own aircraft.

kosh.jpgEvery show has its own personality, and Oshkosh is no exception. Five thousand volunteers, known for their Midwestern friendliness, help coordinate the event which is expected to attract a half-million people during the course of next week.

I spoke with one gentleman yesterday who had been coming to AirVenture since 1970. In the thirty-eight years he's been attending, each year has been better than the one before.

Though there hasn't been an official tally, the number of people who camp out with their planes appears to have slowed.

A native of Oshkosh said that the fields around the airport are typically full by the Thursday before the show begins on Monday. The high price of fuel may be the cause. As of Saturday evening, the always impressive aviation-tent city appeared to host fewer guests than usual.

Though Oshkosh brings aviation enthusiasts together to celebrate a common passion, the show is also evolving for aerospace businesses to make announcements, unveil and highlight new products. This will be a significant focus of this page as the week progresses.

This year's AirVenture will host many "celebrity" aircraft including the the V-22 Osprey, F-22 Raptor, Boeing 40, Lockheed U-2, the Goodyear Blimp, and an aircraft well known to readers of this blog, Boeing's Dreamlifter Three.

With much airborne action ahead this week, there's also plenty going on here on terra firma, including a free concert by Foreigner on Monday and appearances by aviation addicts Harrison Ford, John Travolta and Gary Sinise. In addition, AirVenture's first-ever Blogger Fest is set for Monday afternoon, which will bring together aviation bloggers from all over the world to discuss the role of social media on the industry.

There's no shortage of things to do, see and fly here at Oshkosh, though if you get really bored (which I doubt) there's Dr. Mann's Neurosurgery Hut right at the airport.

Welcome to Oshkosh, world's busiest airport.

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