EAA AirVenture Oshkosh - The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration

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Story and photos by Katie Wainfan

Tom Coulson of Cambridge, Ontario, and Chris Wilson of Woodstock, Ontario, are glider pilots.

Ron Carney of Danville, Illinois, is enjoying a morning at AirVenture in the Ultralight area.

We toured the field today asking people: “What is your favorite place on the field?”


“How would you describe AirVenture to someone who has never been here?” The questions forced some people to make some tough decisions; with the distinct character of each area of the grounds, it can be next to impossible to choose a favorite.

Decisions, decisions…
Don Padgett and Jason and Mike Vick from Minnesota both put shade at a high premium. Don said that any place on the field where there was shade and he could watch planes take off and land was his favorite. Jason chose the Antiques/Classics area because of the shade. “And they have planes with character,” he said.

Tom Coulson from Cambridge, Ontario, chose the area near the Brown Arch. “I like to see what’s there,” he said. “I like to see what people have built. There are some meticulous airplanes out there.”

Chris Wilson from Woodstock, Ontario, said that his favorite area changes depending on the year.

Marge Snell from Houston, Texas, agreed with Wilson. “This year it would be seeing the Pitcairn at Pioneer Airport. We also got to ride a helicopter while we were out there. It was an instant thrill,” she said. Marge’s husband, Bob, said he enjoyed relaxing and taking in the beauty of the area near Theater in the Woods.

Ron Carney from Danville, Illinois, said he enjoyed walking around the exhibitors’ area and hangars. “There are new things to see and try out,” he said.

How do you describe the indescribable?

Next came the really difficult part: How would you describe AirVenture to someone who had never before been here? It is something that visitors try to do so that others might understand why we come.

“It’s not just an air show,” Coulson said. “It’s wall-to-wall airplanes.” He also added, laughing, that this year, the word he would use to describe AirVenture was “muddy.”

This year was George Minchau’s first year at AirVenture. “The massive size of it is mind-boggling,” he said.

Marge Snell warned that for first-timers, AirVenture should be described as a “walking adventure. Make sure you have some good shoes,” she said. She also said that you should expect something different each year.

On the more creative side, Bob Snell said you can’t really describe AirVenture well, but if you were going to try it would be to say that it is like a “tame Woodstock.”

Perhaps Wilson summed it up best. He said that Oshkosh is “a pilgrimage to the Mecca of sport aviation.”

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