Another major event goes online to bring the aviation community together.
Once again, a major aviation event has fallen victim to the coronavirus pandemic. You all know by now that EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was called off in May. We won’t be greeted by the morning roar of the Ford Trimotor ride hops, the Bell 47s whirring about overhead, or the “it’s way too early for this” yodeling being blasted over the loudspeakers (if pre-caffeine yodeling isn’t your thing, you’re probably grateful for that last part). Thankfully, the Experimental Aircraft Association anticipated such an eventuality and was able to begin a behind-the-scenes engine start and taxi to put together the EAA Spirit of Aviation Week, which will take off on July 21.
“Nothing can replace the Oshkosh experience in-person during AirVenture week, as that event personifies the common passion we have for flight, in all its wonderful ways,” said Jack Pelton, EAA CEO and chairman. “As unfortunate as it was that the cancellation of AirVenture 2020 took away that personal experience, countless people and groups have stepped forward to ask what they could do to virtually create something from Oshkosh that brings us together as aviators and aviation enthusiasts. We’re going to incorporate as many of them as possible during a full five-day event.”
Taking a quick peek at what EAA has developed thus far, we can anticipate nearly a week packed full of interviews and discussions with aviation pros, military performers, NASA pilots and astronauts, and the opportunity to check out some cool EAA member airplanes. There are also forums, historical content, homebuilding workshops and tips, pilot proficiency content, and hangar flying. The Waypoints drop-down menu alludes to even more content, and it’s no wonder the event will last five days: You’ll need all that time just to take in all the great things EAA has in store.
There’s also a virtual exhibit space where you can visit some of your favorite AirVenture exhibitors and vendors. They’ll have everything from product showcases and coupons to multimedia, forums, workshops, and how-to videos. AOPA will also have a presence in the virtual exhibit space—more to come on that as content and ideas are developed. Sadly, you’ll still be on your own for food and commemorative AirVenture Oshkosh 2020 mini windsocks, but you can still grab one here.
EAA is encouraging everyone to share their favorite aviation experiences on social media by using the hashtag #EAAtogether because most of us won’t be able to physically share the camaraderie we’ve come to associate with AirVenture. Which, if we’re being honest, could still be a positive thing if that line for the showers was just a little too long and you opted for the baby wipes instead. You know who you are.
While the virtual event is not fully built out yet (which parallels the real AirVenture timeline), stay patient, check back often for new updates, and block off your calendar for what will certainly remain your favorite week of summer aviation.