Pilots flocked to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to check out aircraft of all shapes and sizes at EAA AirVenture July 20 through 26. From sprightly taildraggers to a FedEx freighter, aircraft on display drew crowds all week; but the aircraft weren’t the only attraction. Pilots checked out products, got together for food and camaraderie, and connected with AOPA while on the show grounds.
Experimental Aircraft Association Chairman Jack Pelton estimated on opening day that aircraft arrivals were up over the last two years and gate attendance was up about 7 percent. The show generally tops 10,000 arrivals and 500,000 attendees through the gates.
Historic aircraft at the show include That’s All, Brother, the Douglas C-47 recently acquired by the Commemorative Air Force after it was found to have been the lead C-47 in the D-Day invasion. Jim “Pee Wee” Martin, one of 13,000 men to jump from C-47s over Normandy, France, during D-Day, spoke in front of the aircraft.
“I’m glad to see it come back,” he said. Martin also jumped in Normandy on the seventieth anniversary of D-Day in 2014. Told that CAF would like to fly the airplane to the seventy-fifth anniversary in 2019, he was challenged to jump again. “If this plane is ready on time, I’ll do my part,” he said.