EAA Airventure, Oshkosh is the largest airshow in the world. It never fails to amaze me how many people and airplanes come in for the event. This year 500,000+ attended over the 7 days, 10,000+ airplanes flew in, and there were 2,649 showplanes; all at a midsized airport in eastern Wisconsin!
Normally I go to Oshkosh as a spectator, but this year I went for work. It was a completely different experience, some good and some bad. Getting paid to go to Oshkosh is a huge plus; however, not getting to see friends and hangout with Ashley the whole time was tough.
Working the show had other perks as well. I was able to meet a lot of great people and I was able to share my love of aviation with some young, aspiring aviators. I love speaking to young kids who are contemplating becoming pilots. It is common to see aspiring pilots think there is only one path to get paid to fly – go to flight school, get an aviation degree, work as a flight instructor, then work for the regional’s. While that is a fine path to take – it is far from the only path. It is rewarding to see the look on kids faces when I tell them my story and show them that the world of aviation is huge and the possibilities are endless.
We also attended a lot of the parties – which are fun because I get to meet people in a more intimate setting; however I could do without all the glitz and glamour. I was also afforded the opportunity to ride in a WWII B-17 bomber – that was an incredible experience I soon won’t forget.
There were a load of neat airplanes there this year – some of my favorites include the Gee Bee Super QED replica, the only flying Lockheed Vega, 7 Lockheed 12’s, 3 P-38’s, a Howard 500 (one of only two flying), and a whole lot more!
The highlight of my week had to be the awards ceremony on Saturday evening. Ashley and Pat flew their newly restored Cessna 195 in from Houston. On Friday they found out the plane had won an award, however due to weather they had to leave Saturday morning, missing the award ceremony. They asked if I would attend and accept the award on their behalf. They ended up winning a Bronze Lindy – for my non-airplane readers – that is a HUGE deal. To win a Lindy means that the airplane is in perfect, or near perfect condition. Not many planes have Lindy’s in their logbooks. Winning the award was extra special for me because Ashley and I have spent so much time in and around this plane since the start of its restoration. It was a true, full circle, moment. Plus, I know how much time, money, and effort Pat and Ashley have put into this plane and it is well deserved!
Since I was working most of the week I didn’t have a chance to take any proper photos. All I had was my iPhone – I hope these will suffice!