It hardly needs to be said that 2020 was an unusual year for AirVenture—and the rest of the world. In spite of hopes for an in-person event, EAA canceled the gathering in May due to concerns and restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. Not to be deterred, organizers set up the virtual “Spirit of Aviation Week” event to bring at least some of the AirVenture experience to the aviation community.
More than 266,000 people logged in for the five-day online event, which included presentations, forums, discussions, homebuilding workshops and tips, webinars and stories from the EAA community. EAA also hosted a virtual exhibit space where 800 exhibitors set up online storefronts featuring everything from multimedia presentations and product showcases to one-on-one chats with attendees. While it felt positively surreal to be clicking one’s way through the hangars, most of us agreed that it was a whole lot better than nothing.
Wrapping up the year that wasn’t, a surprising 10,800 FAA WINGS credits were issued during the show thanks to event forums and sessions held by EAA’s Pilot Proficiency Center. In addition, nearly 1,100 (virtual) pilots flew the Fisk arrival into Wittman Field (OSH) via SimVenture.