Oshkosh '03: Oh So Good
Bright Blue Beginning
Here in sunny Oshkosh, Wis., the dew point is low, spirits are high, and the field is fast filling with airplanes arriving from every corner of the sky. "This nice weather is really bringing people in," said EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski, early yesterday morning. Camping spots were already up to 99-percent full before the show even started and rumor has it that the number of visiting aircraft on the grounds is the highest it has ever been. All day, vendors busily served visitors in search of flight gear and steak burgers, while an assortment of unique aircraft packed into AeroShell Square at the center of the show. Hundreds queued up for a chance to climb into the cavernous innards of Airbus Industries' monstrous Beluga, while nearby, admirers studied the graceful lines and perfect proportions of the one-of-a-kind single-seat Hughes 1B Racer replica. Toss in the steady roar, whine, and growl of aircraft flying overhead, plus thousands of safe arrivals, and you have a near-perfect opening day for EAA AirVenture 2003. [more...] The buzz among show veterans was that more than balmy weather was behind yesterday's mood. "Things are turning around," said one. "After 9/11, and the weak economy, there's a feeling it's time to get past all that," said another. "The best crowds I can recall for the first day," one vendor offered. Knapinski promised numbers later in the week. If the breezy weather holds out, those numbers could be a sign of better days to come for the GA world.
See AVweb and AirsideTV streaming video coverage of the flightline and Aeroshell Square.