Oshkosh is always the most exciting aviation event of the year. 2014 was not different. EAA Chairman Jack Pelton: “It was a tremendous week on many levels. We filled Wittman Regional Airport with aircraft for the first time in several years, with both aircraft camping and parking areas completely full at mid-week. The cooperation and support of the airport’s east side community made possible the historic first appearance of the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds at Oshkosh, which brought in many people to our event. Exhibitors reported outstanding business throughout the week, with some selling out of product. We also had a tremendous amount of aviation innovation brought to Oshkosh with new airplanes and aviation technology, and our KidVenture youth area had a record attendance year.”
The attendance was impressive: More than 500,000, with a total attendance increase of five to six percent. Pelton said: “Certainly the Thunderbirds’ first performances at Oshkosh helped the attendance, as Saturday and Sunday (August 2-3) saw 20 percent attendance increases from similar days in 2013. There was another factor, too – a renewed sense of optimism that was reflected in people coming to Oshkosh to celebrate the world of flight. You could feel it among the attendees, exhibitors and our 5,400 volunteers whose work made the event possible.”
No one can compete with Oshkosh: More than 10,000 aircraft arriving at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh and other airports in east-central Wisconsin. They had thousands showplanes: 2,649 (308 more than in 2013) – including 997 homebuilt aircraft, 1,050 vintage airplanes, 303 warbirds, 122 ultralights and light-sport aircraft, 91 seaplanes, 40 rotorcraft, 38 aerobatic aircraft and 8 hot-air balloons.
Many international visitors were registered: 2,081 visitors registered from 69 nations, with Canada (505 visitors), Australia (416), and Brazil (194) the top three nations. (NOTE: This total includes only
non-U.S. visitors registered at the International Visitors Tent, so the actual international
contingent is undoubtedly larger.) Media attendance was also very impressive: 917 media representatives on-site, from five continents.
The chairman also refered to future planning: “We’re already planning for 2015, with more details coming as soon as we finalize them. Legendary aircraft innovator Burt Rutan indicated he would like to return to Oshkosh in 2015 to share some innovations with the aviation community. We’re eager to bring the soon-to-be-restored B-29 “Doc” here for a public showing as part of the 70th anniversary
of the end of World War II. And, of course, there will be plenty of other highlights that you can only see at Oshkosh.”