The success of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009 not only meant continuing strength and growth at what’s known as “The World Greatest Aviation Celebration,” but created a positive spark for the entire aviation community, according to EAA officials.
The 57th annual EAA fly-in convention was held July 27-Aug. 2 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, attracting more than 10,000 airplanes and a total attendance increase of 12% to 578,000.
“Although people may recall specific highlights during the week, EAA AirVenture is also an accurate gauge of the current vitality and mood within the aviation community and industry,” said Tom Poberezny, EAA president and AirVenture chairman, who earlier this week called AirVenture 2009 “the best ever.”
“We’re pleased to note that exhibitors reported solid to outstanding business during the week, as Oshkosh served as aviation’s ‘stimulus program’ that grew from the people involved instead of the government. Just as important, the ‘spirit of Oshkosh’ excites and motivates people regarding aviation and helps build momentum for the future.”
Several aircraft debuts took place at AirVenture, including aircraft from such established companies as Piper and RotorWay International, as well as newer firms such as Tecnam,
Yuneec, and ICON. In addition, numerous companies unveiled new products and accessories during AirVenture week.
EAA’s year-round programs and activities also received a boost from the event’s success. Proceeds from the annual event are used for EAA’s membership programs, government advocacy efforts and youth aviation education activities.
“When times are tough, people make choices,” Poberezny said. “They choose the places and things that are most important to them and this year, it was evident that Oshkosh is important to thousands of people. This is the place where the entire spectrum of aviation, from government policymakers and industry leaders to pilots and enthusiasts, comes together to celebrate the world of flight and creates solutions to our common challenges.”
Several aviation organizations joined EAA and its National Association of Flight Instructors affiliate in announcing the inaugural “International Learn To Fly Day” scheduled for May 15, 2010. This day will focus on introducing the world of flight to others and building the pilot population, which has dwindled by 25% over the past quarter century.