Attendance Up At AirVenture

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AirVenture Oshkosh President Rod Hightower said Sunday preliminary attendance figures show about a 4 percent increase this year over the 2010 tally. Hightower also announced that more than 800 exhibitors, 2,500 show planes and more than 10,000 aircraft in total attended the event, which wrapped up Sunday. He proclaimed the show a "great success" and said the highlights included the first-ever public tours of the Boeing 787, the return of B-29 FIFI and the celebration of centennial of naval aviation.

Last year, EAA estimated attendance at 535,000, one of the lowest totals in recent memory and attributed in part to the bad economy and a rain-soaked beginning to the event. At the time, EAA spokesman Dick Knapinski said the method of calculating attendance had been changed and the stratospheric figures from previous year (the record was 855,000 in 1998) were probably optimistic. EAA still counts attendance by the number of bodies on the field each day and not by the number of tickets sold. Most people attend for multiple days. One face that was not on the grounds after noon on Tuesday was former president and chairman Tom Poberezny. He made a surprise retirement announcement and did not reappear, although his father and EAA founder Paul Poberezny attended various events.