EAA Posts Initial AirVenture 2021 Health And Safety Measures


The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) has announced a series of new health and safety measures to be implemented at its 2021 AirVenture Oshkosh fly-in in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The organization will be adding sanitizing facilities, reducing seating capacity at outdoor venues, scheduling additional sessions for high-demand forums and presentations and canceling a number of large events and receptions. For the indoor spaces, EAA plans to have fewer exhibitors in each exhibit building, create more walkways and separation between exhibitors and increase ventilation where possible. Some venues are expected to be repurposed to accommodate indoor exhibitors required to move by changes to the usual exhibit halls.

“We will be hosting AirVenture 2021, but there will be areas that will look different and areas where we’ll incorporate technology to limit touchpoints as we work with local and state health officials to establish and maintain the best possible standards for public events,” said EAA CEO Jack Pelton. “Some areas may look different at Oshkosh this year, but the feeling will be the same as we gather to celebrate the world of flight.”

At this time, EAA says it will not require proof of COVID-19 vaccinations to attend the event, which is scheduled to take place July 26 to Aug. 1 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. While strongly encouraged, masks will not be mandatory for attendees. The organization cautioned that its plans may change as the situation develops. Pelton previously told AVweb that critical go/no-go decisions for AirVenture are likely to happen the beginning of May.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. Now that it is “tentatively on”–this will be a good subject to a poll–like the one done for Sun-N-Fun. “Will you be attending EAA-Oshkosh?” “Yes–no matter what.” “No–still too much risk.” “Maybe–too soon to tell–need more details.” “Yes, but only if I can get a vaccine shot.” “Yes–but I’ll cut back on social interactions.” “Only if Bertorelli goes!”

    My own pick–“Maybe–too soon to tell.” I’d like to see the lineup of exhibitors, forums, and performers first. Will the Forums, How many exhibitors will be there? Will the museum, Antique airfield, seaplane base, and Kidventure be open? If drastically scaled back, I wouldn’t go. I would take my motor home, as usual–limiting my interaction with others to things I can control. I probably won’t make a final decision until mid-May.

  2. Why would EAA not make masks required? Especially for indoor venues. While I abhor Federal attempts to mandate masks, private companies have the right to do so. I would likely not attend absent a reasonable mask policy.

  3. Actually, all empirical data shows clearly that masks have no effect on the spread of viral diseases, including the current one. I may attend if there is no mask requirement, but will absolutely not attend if there is one. Since a greater number of people still believe that masks provide a benefit than those who know they don’t, the organizers may succumb to pressure and implement a mask requirement to increase attendance.

  4. I will certainly not attend if masks are not required, and further, if there is not a plan/procedure in place to actually enforce mask wearing (e.g., by ejecting those who are non-compliant and put others at risk). Why participate at unnecessary risk because some people are too stubborn to accept that a small inconvenience enhances safety, whether it be by a little or a lot? Just because we are pilots, and somewhat independent by nature, does not mean we need to be morons. The concept of “bad attitudes” is extensible from flying to personal behavior and safe health practices. If vaccinations were readily available, I would like to see a vaccination requirement too, but since they aren’t and probably won’t be soon enough, masks may be the next best thing.

    PS. As for the matter of “empirical evidence”, I don’t known what literature Carl F is reading, but read for yourself the recent “An evidence review of face masks against COVID-19” (http://www.pnas.org/content/118/4/e2014564118) (“the preponderance of evidence indicates that mask wearing reduces transmissibility …”).

    I understand that EAA needs to accommodate the whims and desires of its members, not all of whom may operate rationally except when flying, but to maintain its credibility as a serious safety-oriented organization, it needs to act responsibly in this respect.

    When in doubt, take the safer option.

  5. So what about social distancing? How is that going to work in the exhibition halls? Lines at the food stations? The daily airshows? Rides on the trams? Somehow, I get the feeling this is going to be so restrictive and odd that it will take the fun out of it. Not sure if it’s worth all the planning and travel to be there. Maybe if I’m vaccinated I’ll consider it, but I don’t think it will be anywhere like what makes AirVenture such a great event.

  6. Hopefully they will not require masks. A large percentage of attendees will already had the vaccinations. For those who haven’t, it should be a personal decision.

  7. I can see this developing as “masks–or no masks”.

    Perhaps it needs to be managed like a “clothing optional” beach. If you want entrance to specific areas, a mask is required–for EVERYWHERE ELSE–“leave us alone.” Just let us know in advance so we can decide whether or not it is safe or worth our while to attend.

    It WOULD be a powerful referendum on what the aviation public thinks about the mask issue.