Twas The Night Before Oshkosh…..
It’s Sunday evening, we just got to Oshkosh for the 2013 EAA Convention. AirVenture is ready to start in the morning. People have been here for months setting up the show. Campers have been coming in for weeks. Airplanes have been coming in for days.
Things only get bigger here. Every year there are more and more people. More vendors (821 this year) who consider this to be their equivalent of “the Christmas Holidays”. A good week at the Convention can make or break the year for them. More and more people show up, some fly, some drive, some come to camp, all come to enjoy aviation. Every year, the campers and motor homes get bigger and bigger. This event has a great impact on the regional economy, this year its projected at $110 Million, that amount is nothing to be trifled with. Everyone wins, and the crowds have a really good time.
We get there and start walking the grounds. Four L-39s break for landing. The Heavy Metal Jet Team is here for the event. Scooter Yoak is already on the ground to help take care of the jets. He flew in earlier today in his own P-51D QuickSilver from Lewisburg West Virginia. Others flying in are the Texas Flying Legends with their entire collection of warbirds; 2 P-51Ds, a P-40, Zero, FM-2 Wildcat and a B-25. The Wildcat is the one formerly owned by Howard Pardue. It looks really good, with a new paint scheme, Howard would be happy. I counted 10 Mustangs, 4 B-25s, 3 P-40s, 3 Corsairs, 3 Avengers and a Bearcat on the field already. I never even got a chance to get to Aeroshell Square to see the new Tigercat that WestPac restored. Steve Hinton flew it in today. The last time it flew was in 1952.
Things are busy and the show hasn’t started yet. The weather today was overcast with rain in the area. A lot of aircraft couldn’t make it today. Monday is traditionally a very busy arrival day, tomorrow is going to be a very, very busy Monday. Weather for the rest of the week is supposed to be very moderate with mild temperatures and a slight chance of rain near the weekend. It should be a very good year for AirVenture. I can see it setting some new records. We spend a good bit of time catching up with friends we only see once a year at AirVenture. Being here is like coming to a family reunion.
I’d like to thank Dick Knapinski, Senior Communications Advisor for the EAA for his assistance in making this story possible. I’d also like to the thank the people who are bringing in 10,000+ aircraft for really making this event possible.
You can contact the author Mark Hrutkay at TNMark1@GMail.Com.