EAA Chief Previews AirVenture ‘17

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Jack Pelton, chairman of EAA, says AirVenture 2017, the 65th edition and the 48th consecutive show held at Whitman Regional in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, is likely to be the biggest ever. Last year, the show reached a new attendance record, but a modest one—up 1% over 2015. This year, advance purchase tickets are up 12% over last year, and aircraft parking was 85% full by Sunday night, said Pelton. Over 8,000 aircraft had already arrived by the time of the Monday news conference. Unusually lovely weather may be playing a role in robust attendance. Forecasts all week call for highs in the high 70s to low 80s.

Pelton expressed considerable excitement for the 50th anniversary reunion of the Apollo astronauts. (The number of years depends on exactly what you take to be the start of the Apollo program.) Some of the surviving Apollo astronauts have taken to calling this their “final reunion,” according to Pelton, who seemed to briefly hold back tears describing the event. This year also marks the 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid, the 40th anniversary of the Christen Eagle, and the 90th anniversary of Lindberg’s Atlantic crossing, all to be honored at the show. Pelton also bragged about work done on the airport grounds in the off-season. Repeat AirVenture alumni will note improvements to the Theater in the Woods, a homebuilt meeting area inspired by the Triple Tree Airport and a new Quonset hut for the Warbird Area. A considerable portion of Pelton’s remarks and questions from the media were dedicated to concerns over ATC privatization, which continue to loom over the show.

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