EAA Celebrates Lucky Weather, Healthy Crowds

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Compared to last year, when persistent wet weather muddied the grounds and slowed arrivals, AirVenture this year is booming, president Rod Hightower said at a news conference on Monday. “Ticket sales are up, campsite reservations are up, and attendance is looking to be well above last year,” he said. “Thank goodness for this wonderful weather!” Tom Poberezny, EAA chairman, said the true success of the show can be judged by the “happy faces and happy smiles” found all over the grounds. “These are tough economic times, and people have to make choices to be here,” he said. The robust attendance shows that aviation and innovation are valued, he said.

Hightower said he has spent his first year as president of EAA in learning the ropes and meeting people all across the country who are part of the aviation community. Going forward, he said, EAA will be developing a five-year strategic plan. Key will be how to engage more adults in aviation, to enhance and expand the Young Eagles program, and to encourage the next generation of aviators. More details about new projects will be announced soon, Hightower said. Poberezny said that while he will continue to gradually hand over the reins of EAA to Hightower, he also will continue to provide advice and counsel moving forward.

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