First Time's the Charm
A first-time visitors guide to
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
There's really no place in the world like the EAA's annual convention – EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. With so much to see and do, AirVenture can be a little overwhelming, especially if you're not already an EAA member or you're not traveling with friends who know the ropes.
Before heading to AirVenture for the first time, make sure you check out this Survival Guide that will go a long way to ensuring a comfortable day.
A couple of quick tips to start you off:
- Get a free map of the grounds when you arrive: Even if you’ve been here before, the new site improvements implemented in recent years bring a new look to one of the world’s great aviation events. You don’t want to waste a minute while you’re here.
- Take advantage of trams for convenience and give your feet a needed rest. There’s a lot to see and do at AirVenture, and the trams will help you get the most out of your day.
- Please don't touch aircraft without permission. Many who bring their aircraft to AirVenture put in long, painstaking hours into building, restoring, and/or maintaining their dream. Please be respectful of their work and dedication.
- Follow the "Oshkosh Rules": EAA AirVenture is regarded as one of the cleanest major events anywhere in the world, because people follow some basic rules. Make sure all trash goes in the trash or recycling containers, and if you see trash on the ground, please pick it up and throw it away.
Phillips 66 Plaza: This is AirVenture's marquee display area that is home to many of the featured attractions, ranging from historic warbirds to the latest innovations in flight. Aircraft rotate in and out throughout the week, so be sure to check back to see what's showcased each day.
Flight Line: Inspect firsthand the craftsmanship and design advancements that come from the hands and minds of EAA members. As you walk along the flight line, you'll see many of the newsmakers and personalities who make the world of aviation so exciting.
Scotts Warbirds Alley: See historic World War II-, Korea-, and Vietnam-era military aircraft painstakingly restored to flying condition at one of AirVenture's most popular attractions. The twice-daily "Warbirds in Review" sessions feature informal presentations on a military aircraft by the pilots who flew them and the restorers who care for them.
Homebuilts: Homebuilt aircraft has existed as long as powered flight. Homebuilders use their own abilities and craftsmanship to construct a safe and efficient flying machine, much like the Wright Brothers did over a century ago. Walk among the thousands of homebuilt aircraft flown to Oshkosh. Watch for daily "Homebuilts in Review" presentations.
Vintage Area: Take a trip way back in time to the early years of aviation. From monoplanes to biplanes to triplanes to metalplanes, an assortment of authentic and replica aircraft will bring you back to aviation's roots. Daily "Vintage in Review" programs at delve into these classics even further.
Seaplane Base: Nestled deep in the trees in a picturesque cove along the Lake Winnebago shore is a place where all visitors should try to visit. Seaplane Base pace offers a respite from AirVenture's hustle and bustle. People often just sit on the shore and watch the planes come and go. Buses make regular runs between the AirVenture grounds and the Seaplane Base, departing from the Bus Park Tower and the Amphib Parking area at the south end of the airport.
Getting Out of the Sun or Rain?
EAA Welcome Center: Located on Celebration Way at the edge of Phillips 66 Plaza, the EAA Welcome Center is stocked with EAA and AirVenture information, member services and an Internet café. Plus, each day features a variety of speakers and presentations.
AirVenture Museum: Free with your AirVenture admission, museum attractions include an impressive collection of more than 200 historic airplanes, six movie theaters, art and photo galleries, flight simulators, and two "hands-on" interactive galleries for kids of all ages. Additionally, a multitude of special activities take place in the museum throughout the week, including the popular "Speaker Showcase."
KidVenture: Located at Pioneer Airport near the AirVenture Museum, KidVenture features hands-on, educational, and fun aviation-based demonstrations and presentations. Kids get to build their own gliders and rockets, fly simulators, see aviation legends tell their stories, and so much more.
EAA Wearhouse: AirVenture apparel, model airplanes, DVDs and books galore are only a sample of what can be found at the official AirVenture store. Plus, meet authors and get autographed copies of their aviation works at Authors Corner.
Forums: During the week more than 500 forums are conducted by aviation leaders and NASA researchers, along with FAA personnel, aircraft designers and a host of others.
Learn to Fly Center: This is the place to discover how you can make your dream of flight a reality. You'll learn what you need to know, including time and financial commitments, so you’re ready to begin your own flying experience.
Innovations Center: Discover the latest innovations in aircraft technology - including electric flight - at the Innovations Center, which is located just east of the Forums Plaza.
Federal Pavilion: Take in exhibits, aircraft from the various government agencies, live radar and weather monitoring demonstrations, and interactive displays, including the Wright Flyer and NOAA Hurricane simulators.
Exhibit Buildings: Just about everything available in aviation is there. Instruments, avionics, insurance, aircraft parts... the list goes on and on. Nearly 800 exhibitors participate at AirVenture.
The Main Events
Afternoon Air Show, presented by Rockwell Collins: Unique aircraft, from early air racers to historical airplanes, participate, along with the world's finest air show performers – all of whom are headliners on their own, but at Oshkosh are part of an all-star lineup in a daily three-hour spectacular.
Night Air Show and Fireworks (Saturday): The world's top aerobatic performers light the night skies with an amazing picturesque display. Fireworks and the always-breathtaking "Wall of Fire" cap off AirVenture's final night.
Opening Day Concert (Monday): Free for all Monday attendees, AirVenture kicks off with a big-time concert, courtesy of the Ford Motor Company, on Phillips 66 Plaza following the Afternoon Air Show. Previous Opening Day concerts have featured Chicago, The Doobie Brothers, The Beach Boys, REO Speedwagon, and Foreigner.
Ultralights in evening: The aerial displays don’t stop with the Afternoon Air Show. In the evening, head down to the south end of the flightline (take the tram to get there faster and rest your legs as a bonus) to see the unique Ultralights in action. Ultralight forums and exhibitors are also in this area.
Theater in the Woods: Located just south of Phillips 66 Plaza, Theater in the Woods, supported by M&Ms, is the largest public gathering facility on the grounds and is home to a variety of educational and entertainment acts each evening, including Friday and Saturday night concerts that keep AirVenture rocking after the sun goes down.
Fly-In Theater: The walk-in theater, presented by Ford Motor Company and supported by Hamilton Watches, is reminiscent of the famous drive-in theaters of the past, complete with open-air seating and popcorn. Each evening’s show begins at approximately 8:30 p.m. with an introduction by a celebrity presenter, followed by a classic aviation film shown on a five-story-high projection screen.