EAA AirVenture Oshkosh - The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration

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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedEarly AirVenture Arrivals Add to Growing Excitement
July 25, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin - The early arrivals to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009 parked their planes and set up their tents today, and despite the winds, it was a beautiful day to fly in.

James Atkins of Virginia flew his 1977 Great Lakes biplane here in six legs for his first AirVenture. As he was coming into Oshkosh there were, "huge headwinds, so I was making 70 knots over the ground."

This year there is again a diverse group of pilots coming to enjoy a week of pure aviation enthusiasm, but all of them say the same thing: "Just being here is pretty nice." It seems the reason for coming to AirVenture is something intangible - something a list of attractions just can't properly illustrate.

2009 is Kyle Hankes' second time flying into AirVenture. Hankes, from Southern California, is 19 years old and has an instrument rating. Though the biggest reason he came is for that intangible AirVenture feeling, he is also looking forward to seeing the Airbus A380, the largest passenger airliner in the world.

Bill Taylor of Maryland, another pilot arriving today, agreed. "We're hoping the A380 will come in and provide some shade," he joked. Taylor works at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, so he's very familiar with the military's Predator B Unmanned Aircraft System, which landed at Wittman Regional Airport last Tuesday. This is Taylor's eighth time at AirVenture.

Flying with Taylor was Vince Mow, also from Maryland. They left Friday, but ran into some weather delays. "I'm a fan of electric airplanes," said Mow, when asked whether there was anything specific he was excited to see.

This is Dan McCaffrey's third AirVenture. He was tying down his homebuilt Pitts Special as the wind rocked its wings, reminding everyone that Mother Nature couldn't be trumped even by the largest celebration of mankind's conquering of the skies. McCaffrey is an EAA technical counselor and flight advisor and is most looking forward to seeing other homebuilts. He is currently building an EAA Biplane.

As all of these pilots arrive, the first people they talk to are the aircraft greeters. Mike Koerner has been volunteering at AirVenture for 26 years in one capacity or another. He says being an airplane greeter is a fun job. He gets to "say hello to people from all over the world." Koerner is fairly easy to spot, with his distinctive hat that almost seems to have been formed by EAA patches from all the years he's been coming.

AirVenture isn't short on enthusiasm, and there aren't many of the thousands and thousands who come who are here for a reason other than wanting to experience the excitement of being amongst others who share their passion for all things aviation. AirVenture is just beginning, but the unique feeling that comes with it is already strong.

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FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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