| EAA President/CEO Rod Hightower said attendees can expect more improvements to enhance the visitor experience at AirVenture 2013. (photo by Jason Toney)
By Ric Reynolds
EAA President/CEO Rod Hightower met with the media Sunday afternoon, reporting a very solid convention that established a new standard for the association and what can be expected in the future.
"This was a real solid AirVenture," he said. "We had lots of aviation and innovation on showcase this week." Despite struggles in the overall economy, the aviation community knows that Oshkosh is the place to be for not only finding out what's new and available in aviation, but buying the goods and services that they might need in the coming year.
"Expect bigger and better things for 2013 - certainly continuous improvements in what we call the visitor experience. We will continue to invest in making the experience better year after year."
More than 2,500 showplanes registered including nearly 1,000 homebuilts and close to 1,000 antiques, Hightower said. "Including 200 Piper J-3 Cubs to celebrate the 75th anniversary. Thank you Piper Cub owners for making AirVenture special."
Hightower praised the great work of the over 4,800 volunteers that make the event possible. "I'm very happy with our operational execution, and there were a lot of changes this year," he said
"Volunteers and their staff did a marvelous job of putting together a wonderful and very solid AirVenture this year."
Numerous exhibitors reported record-breaking sales this year for Oshkosh, and a high-quality of buyers and lots of commercial activity. "We had over 800 exhibitors this year, setting another record, reporting very robust sales and growth," Hightower said. "That's an encouraging sign of what we hope are better throngs to come.
"The world's largest GA marketplace continues to be AirVenture."
Hightower listed several of the week's highlights, including:
- Final attendance figures will be available in the coming week.
- The weeklong tribute to the Greatest Generation in the Air highlighted by the truly historic Friday flight of B-25 Panchito and B-29 FIFI with Raider Richard Cole and Enola Gay navigator Dutch Van Kirk.
- The successful 40th anniversary of Van's Aircraft and the performances of the Team RV during the air shows.
- Super Saturday, capped by the Rockwell Collins Night Air Show and fireworks display, was "not only enjoyed by the AirVenture attendees but also by the Oshkosh community, with thousands of residents ringing the airport and convention grounds and enjoying the fireworks.
- North 40 Cafe proved very popular, as well as the camp store there. EAA will add to those types of services in the future.
- Flight operations: the B-17 flights sold out for the week, 250 Tri Motor flights purchased was a new record, and the Bell 47s flew non-stop.
- Lots of first time visitors this year.
- There were 2,100 international visitors from 69 nations.
AirVenture 2013 dates are July 29-August 4. Only 365 days away ...