Oshkosh Attendance Up

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It will come as no surprise to anyone who was there that EAA AirVenture was bigger and busier this year than it has been in recent years. After a few years of modest (but nonetheless unsettling) declines, this year's big show boasted a 7-percent increase in attendance to about 700,000, according to figures supplied by EAA media boss Dick Knapinski. A healthy portion of those folks arrived by air, as evidenced by the jammed aircraft parking and camping areas. (Possibly an indication of pilots' attraction to this year's particularly historic collection of aircraft.) More than 10,000 planes arrived over the seven days. There were almost 3,000 show planes, including a record number of homebuilts (1,267), 924 vintage planes, 386 warbirds, 196 ultralights, 130 seaplanes and 24 rotorcraft. The media contingent, undoubtedly bolstered by such newsworthy presentations as SpaceShipOne and Global Flyer plus first appearances of the Cessna Mustang, Eclipse 500 and HondaJet, swelled to 904 from the previous year's 711. On the business side, a total of 789 aviation-related companies set up booths on the grounds and in the hangars. Although the blue-chip list of attractions was likely largely responsible for the show's resurgence (makes you wonder what they'll do for an encore) EAA President Tom Poberezny said there were other factors at play. "There were three factors we could see that contributed to the attendance increase this year: the switch to a Monday-Sunday format, which better suited people's travel patterns, ideal weather and the incredible depth and the variety of the programs in 2005," he said.