EAA AIRVENTURE OSHKOSH 2021 FACTS AND FIGURES FOR AN OUTSTANDING YEAR
Comment from EAA CEO and Chairman Jack Pelton:
- “This was perhaps the most challenging set of circumstances we’ve ever faced as an organization to make the event happen. I could not be more proud of our volunteers, staff, and participants on the way they came together to exceed our expectations and make AirVenture 2021 a truly memorable experience.”
Attendance: Approximately 608,000 – Only the third time attendance has surpassed 600,000 and within 5 percent of 2019’s record total. Comment from Pelton:
- “We went into this year not knowing what AirVenture would look like and how big of an event was possible. The aviation community spoke loudly, though – it was ready to come to Oshkosh and we were happy that we could welcome them. Our theme was ‘The Wait is Over,’ and indeed it was. And the wait was worth it. There was joy and excitement throughout the grounds and it set the stage for the return of AirVenture, making us very excited for the future.”
Total aircraft: More than 10,000 aircraft arrived at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh and other airports in east-central Wisconsin. At Wittman alone, there were 16,378 aircraft operations in the 10-day period from July 22-31, which is an average of approximately 116 takeoffs/landings per hour when the airport is open.
Total showplanes: 3,176 included: A record 1,420 vintage aircraft registered, plus 1,089 homebuilt aircraft, 354 warbirds, 148 aerobatic aircraft, 112 seaplanes, 33 ultralights, and 27 rotorcraft.
Camping: More than 12,000 sites in aircraft and drive-in camping accounted for an estimated 40,000 visitors.
Volunteers: More than 5,000 contributing in excess of 250,000 hours.
Commercial exhibitors: 747.
Forums, Workshops, and Presentations: A total of 1,055 sessions hosted throughout the week.
Social Media, Internet and Mobile: More than 18.95 million people were reached by EAA’s social media channels during AirVenture, with engagement of 1.08 million; EAA video clips during the event were viewed 3.48 million times.
International guests: Despite travel restrictions that greatly limited the number of attendees from other nations, EAA still welcomed visitors from 66 countries during the week.
The Gathering shines: The EAA Aviation Foundation’s annual event to support its aviation education programs attracted more than 500 people and raised more than $1.7 million dollars that will be focused on EAA’s mission of growing participation in aviation.
Media: 567 media representatives on-site, from four continents.
Economic impact*: $170 million for the five counties in the Oshkosh region (Winnebago, Outagamie, Fond du Lac, Calumet, and Brown). * – based on 2017 University of Wisconsin Oshkosh economic impact study
What’s ahead for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022 (July 25-31, 2022)? Comment from Pelton:
- “Planning is well underway for next year’s event, including discussions during AirVenture 2021 about possible features and attractions for 2022. We also look forward to welcoming more international visitors next year to return AirVenture to a truly global reunion. In the next few months, we will be finalizing highlights in all areas to make the 69th EAA fly-in convention the World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration.”
Information updates posted at www.eaa.org/airventure
GA groups: FAA flight training policy changes will reduce safety, create administrative logjam
Agency’s interpretation threatens to halt most training in experimental aircraft
EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wisconsin — (June 9, 2021) — Federal Aviation Administration policy interpretations on flight training arising out of a recent court decision will have a chilling impact on general aviation safety and create a bureaucratic nightmare for pilots and federal officials, according to numerous GA groups including the Experimental Aircraft Association.
In a letter sent to FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson, the groups called the policy changes “unnecessary and unwarranted guidelines based on irrational legal positions” and called for the FAA to immediately revise the policy to prevent degraded safety in flight training and unnecessary legal battles. The combined groups noted that they are “prepared to use all available means to ensure this situation is corrected as soon as possible.”
“Why the FAA would want to diminish the flight training that made the U.S. aviation system the safest in the world boggles the mind, but that’s what these new policies will do,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA’s CEO and chairman of the board. “For years, the FAA has correctly stated that training in the specific make and model of aircraft to be routinely operated, with a well-qualified instructor, is the best training. These policies would unnecessarily limit that access and measure of safety.”
The GA groups noted four specific areas where safety would be diminished or bureaucratic backlogs created:
- Prohibiting owners of experimental aircraft from receiving flight instruction in their own aircraft without specific FAA permission to do so in the form of a Letter of Deviation Authority (LODA): With nearly 40,000 experimental category aircraft on the registry, Flight Standard District Offices would quickly be overwhelmed by applications for a LODA where there is no legal requirement to have one. That creates an additional barrier to aviation safety and is contrary to FAA’s own mission.
- Prohibiting owners of more than 300 limited category aircraft from receiving flight instruction in their own aircraft with specific FAA permission in the form of an exemption: Never before has the FAA required limited aircraft owners to obtain an exemption to be trained in their own aircraft, nor is there a legal requirement to do so. This change will not further aviation safety.
- Prohibiting owners of primary category aircraft from receiving flight instruction in their own aircraft without specific FAA permission to do so in the form of an exemption: The FAA does not have policy in place to issue such an exemption and it is unknown how long it would take to issue such exemptions.
- Limiting access to flight training in a specific make and model of an aircraft: The FAA must issue a policy affirming the pathways that allow owners to obtain training in their own aircraft. To not do so creates an immediate and significant hindrance to flight safety.
The policy grew from a cease-and-desist order from FAA to Warbird Adventures in Kissimmee, Florida, to which a U.S. Court of Appeals issued an unpublished opinion that allowed the order to stand. EAA and other aviation groups filed an amicus brief cautioning the court to narrowly tailor its decision consistent with historic FAA policy preventing compensation for aircraft use in training. That would stop negative consequences on a wide range of flight instruction activities provided to owners in their own aircraft.
“What the FAA has done here is exactly the negative effects we in the GA community had warned about when we filed the amicus brief, regardless of the particulars of that specific case,” Pelton said. “The agency has not only created great confusion in the flight training community, it has countered its own mission that emphasizes safety. It’s important that the FAA revisit this immediately and not enforce any new policies until this is resolved.”
The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and embodies The Spirit of Aviation through the world’s most engaged community of aviation enthusiasts. EAA’s 240,000 members and 900 local chapters enjoy the fun and camaraderie of sharing their passion for flying, building and restoring recreational aircraft. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 800-JOIN-EAA (800-564-6322) or go to www.eaa.org. For continual news updates, connect with www.twitter.com/EAA.