It’s that time of the year again when I start thinking about making the pilgrimage in late July to the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI — dubbed “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration.” From a business perspective, it’s a great opportunity for me to catch up with a few clients, talk to our readers and learn about the latest general aviation products and services.
But over the years, I’ve looked at this annual event as something more important than that! I view the EAA show as my opportunity each year to “recharge my aviation batteries.” While my day-to-day duties involve aviation-related editorial and advertising — it’s very business oriented. AirVenture gives me the opportunity to get excited about the industry that I made my profession.
The planes, technology, tools, and the concept of powered flight are all exciting enough — but Airventure brings another aspect that you don’t always get at other industry tradeshows — the childlike enthusiasm of the attendees who are intrigued by all things aviation!
Airventure is one of the few places you can witness 60 year old men and women acting like kids again — dressed in jump suits, aviator sun glasses and leather boots waiting for their turn to take to the skies. It’s also one of the few places you can still witness the true spirit of aviation — daring young men and their flying machines. Wonder on over to the gyroplane section of the field, for instance, and witness aviators who design, build, and fly a no-frills flying machine with a rotor that turns by inertia alone and in a cockpit that resembles a bicycle more than an aircraft. Who needs a windshield and a cockpit?
Plus, there’s a VERY important added benefit to the AirVenture show. Unlike most of the aviation trade shows that only allow 18 and older and are very business oriented, AirVenture allows you to drag the kids along and introduce them to aviation. This is something the EAA does right. It places an emphasis on introducing children to the aviation industry and the concept of flight. Through the Young Eagles program, children are encouraged to experience flight first hand and take an active interest in flight.
And no, I’m not getting paid one penny to say all this stuff. I’ll admit that AirVenture isn’t for everyone. With sponsorships like Ford Motor Company and other non-aviation companies like Home Depot exhibiting at the show, some argue that it is too commercial. But you can’t blame those companies for wanting to market to such an enthusiastic crowd of people! And on balance, EAA continues to deliver a quality show and an enormous variety of “things aviation” to the aviation enthusiasts.
So pack up your camper, grab the camera, the family and a few friends, and head up to “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration” July 25-31 in Oshkosh, WI.
P.S. - Follow us on Twitter
For those who can’t attend AirVenture, but want to stay informed on some of the events going on, be sure to follow us on Twitter. D.O.M. editor Joe Escobar will be tweeting from the show on his personal Twitter account at @escojoe. You can also follow D.O.M. magazine’s twitter account at @DOMmagazine for regular news updates during the show.
Greg Napert, Proud to be an A&P