August 7, 2013
By Alyssa J. Miller
After closing out EAA AirVenture 2013 with about 500,000 attendees and more than 10,000 aircraft flying into eastern-central Wisconsin for the event, the association revealed what it has its sights set on for 2014: celebrating the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I and the seventy-fifth anniversary of the jet engine.
“In addition, volunteers will build an airplane in seven days with the ‘One-Week Wonder’ project in which attendees can participate,” EAA Chairman Jack Pelton said of the 2014 event.
This year’s AirVenture paid tribute to veterans during evening shows with warbirds and touted innovation with the first public flight of the Terrafugia Transition flying car and Jetman overflights. But the usual military acts that wow crowds at the largest general aviation event in the world were a no-show because of sequestration-induced budget cuts.
“We overcame some big challenges this year, including a lack of current military aircraft participating, to produce an outstanding event,” Pelton said.
One of the biggest obstacles EAA had to overcome was a nearly $450,000 bill from the FAA for air traffic control services during the event. EAA paid the bill, but signs of protest were evident throughout the grounds at Wittman Regional Airport, with the association vowing the fight—over what it said amounts to user fees—isn’t finished.
The industry rallied around EAA, with a record 821 commercial exhibitors attending to showcase their products for attendees.
Many businesses announced new products and enhancements at the show. Icon revealed that it was granted an exemption for a weight increase for the A5; Redbird Flight Simulations showed off its new experiment, the RedHawk, a refurbished Skyhawk with a turbodiesel Continental engine of 135 horsepower; Société de Motorisations Aéronautiques (SMA) introduced a 330- to 400-horsepower diesel-cycle engine; and Lightspeed unveiled its newest headset, the Zulu PFX.
“We also received reports that many exhibitors had record sales, showing renewed optimism and enthusiasm in the aviation community,” Pelton said.
Of top importance, though, was “reconnecting with our volunteers and members on the grounds,” he said. “People come to Oshkosh for their own individual reasons, and there was a nearly unlimited supply of unique experiences throughout the grounds.”
AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Miller has worked at AOPA since 2004 and is an active flight instructor.
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