I had the good fortune to attend this years EAA Airventure show in Oshkosh Wisconsin. I flew in from Virginia on my Harley Davidson, 1,100 miles.
Reporting itself as the largest air show in the world, some 500,000 people from all over the world gather in the midwest of the United States to celebrate everything in, of, and for aviation.
My personal take?; Holy Mother Of God!
Truly amazing... You simply must plan a trip sometime in your life to attend this show. It was told to me that about 75 Stagger Wing planes are still flying today. I saw 10 at the show. That's 13% of the worlds Stagger Wings at this show! That should give you some idea of what to expect to see at Airventure. Every manufacture, and manufacture wanna be's are all represented. There was even a engine manufacture from Poland, touting it's brand for ultra lights. And of course, all the "mainstream" commercial aviation manufactures had large displays with the latest from their companies. There was large hangers packed everything from flight simulators, to NASA, to t-shirts... and of course all the over priced water, soda, and food you can find.
What was surprising for everyone, was the heat. Northern Midwest is not a typical hot spot. It was over 100 a couple days, and high 80's and mid 90's for the rest of my stay (3 days). Next time I go, I will make sure to bring a shade umbrella. The meat of the show is of course outside, and it is an airport... There is no shade unless you can find a big birds wings to hide under. In fact it was rather amusing to see the outline in human bodies of DC-3's, and similar sized aircraft. And for the show itself, you get close. Real close. The red line on the airfield is just feet away from the taxi way. If a big bird goes by, you feel and hear it like you never will unless you own it.
At the show I spoke with many pilots, manufactures, and friends of such. One of the more interesting things (and something I thought would be mundane) at the show was watching all the arrivals of regular you and me, joe bob flyers. And let me tell you... I sat next to a guy with a scanner listing in on the tower... Those poor ATC people had some serious work. Landing two planes at the same time, on the same runway, was quite a show in itself! Some of those pilots need allot of practice! Holy cow! I saw a C172 come in nice, and at the last minute, nosed up like he was going around... only to hear him cut the throttle and "fall" a good 20 feet to the runway! He must have bounced 10 times! It was a miracle the landing gear didn't do the "splits"! I saw a Van (They are taking over... so many Van's there you would have thought it was a Van show) scrape his wing a good 10 feet before collecting his aircraft for a safe landing. Allot... and I mean allot of "go arounds". Landing two at a time, sooner or later, someone is going to go slower then the other, and we all know what happens when two aircraft try to occupy the same space.
A word about Simulated planes; Some were bigger then I though, and some were smaller. The Caravan for example is a HUGH plane, and the latest "hot" RealAir plane, the Legacy, is TINY... almost to the point of a ultralight. Others like the King Air, Baron, Meridian, TBM, and Cirrus are more or less what was expected. I didn't see a Citation X, or larger commercial/business class aircraft. But I did leave before the weekend. I'm sure something like that will show before the end on Sunday.
Manufactures of flight Sim Interest:
Cessna: Very nice people. They had a large section (the biggest I'd say), with a large selection of aircraft. Mustang, the M2 prototype, and the high wingers. A float plane Caravan was just awesome. A ship with wings really.
Beech: Very nice people. Talked with a rep for 30 minutes about the Baron G58. He reports that turbo charging is on its way, but that there will be no more pressurized versions. Apparently, the Pressurized versions are a bear to maintain/fix.
Piper: Now these guys were GREAT. I spoke with a couple of reps on both the Meridian and the Seneca V. They were as excited about talking about the planes as I was asking questions. That my friends, is how you get customers. My experience at the Piper area will assure my lottery money going to them in the future!
Daher-Socata; Terrible. I walked up to the TBM 850 for some pics. I started the conversation with the rep, "Now this is a great plane... Speed, capacity, style.." He looked up at me and said, "Yea, thanks", and resumed the conversation he was having with his text phone. Now that is how you LOSE customers. Very disappointed, as the TBM is one of my favorite planes. In fact, the whole DS team looked disinterested. Because of that, they will NOT be getting my future lottery money.
Lancair: They had plane owners as reps, with owner planes on display. I had a great conversation with the Legacy owner. I told him I was a simmer, and that his Legacy was a hot plane in the sim community. He enjoyed that, and was surprised to hear how close the stats are for the sim version compared to his real one. He took 5 years to build his, and minus the glass panel, is exactly like the RealAir. I'm sorry I didn't get more pics of her.
Turbine Duke: Nobody was around for her, but they had some posters of planes that Royal Turbine is doing, including the JetProp, Duke, and the new Baron 58's (!)
Hope to see you there next year! HawkDsl Member Avsim.com