This year’s EAA AirVenture event in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was, in fact, a record setter. The official attendance announcement from EAA today (Aug. 1) cites overall turnstile clicks at “approximately 677,000—a record total” eclipsing last year’s tally of 650,000. According to EAA CEO and President Jack Pelton, “We had record-setting totals of campers, exhibitors, volunteers, and more. It was also a challenging year at times with weather, logistics, and other factors, which makes me even more proud of the efforts by our volunteers and staff to organize an outstanding event.”
Pelton added, “There was so much going on during the week that encompassed the entire world of flight, from the presence of the U.S. Air Force Training Command and NASA, to magnificent aircraft restorations and exciting new flying technology. Oshkosh was again the place that brought the aviation world together.”
By the numbers: More than 10,000 aircraft arrived at Wittman Regional Airport (KOSH) and other nearby reliever airports. At KOSH “ground zero,” the FAA logged 21,883 aircraft operations in the 11-day period from July 20 to July 30. That works out to an average of approximately 148 takeoffs/landings per hour when the airport is open, according to EAA.
A total of 3,365 show planes were on display, including 1,497 registered in the vintage aircraft parking area (a record), 1,067 homebuilt aircraft, 380 warbirds (a modest increase of 3 percent over last year’s attendance), 194 ultralights, 134 seaplanes and amphibians, 52 aerobatic aircraft and 41 rotorcraft.
AirVenture hosted more than 1,400 forums, workshops, and presentations. And in the ever-increasingly-vital realm of social media, more than 18.3 million people tapped EAA’s social media channels during AirVenture 2023, a stunning 78 percent boost from last year’s numbers. Viewers logged more than 189,000 hours of EAA video clips (the equivalent of 21.6 person-years!), more than double the 2022 total.
As evidence of what is hopefully an increasing return to “normal” in the post-pandemic world, international visitors flooded back to the American Heartland in 2023, with 2,372 attendees registering the International Visitors Tent. That posted a tie for the all-time high of 93 countries represented.
And finally, in some ways the most significant, the EAA Aviation Foundation’s annual event supporting aviation education programs drew more than 1,000 people and tallied in excess of $2 million dollars toward supporting EAA’s efforts to grow participation in aviation.