August 14, 2014 – The Fun Fly Zone was a blur of activity at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014, attracting large audiences and thousands of aircraft movements, with the much anticipated and largest evening program, the Valdez STOL demonstration on July 1, drawing a reported 6,000 people.
“I believe this is probably the best week we’ve had in, let’s say, eight years,” said Ultralight Area Chairman Lee Crevier, EAA 355499. He said that the area saw a strong turnout of aircraft and nearly ran out of general parking.
Exhibit space in the area was sold out and audiences in the hundreds participated in the 23 forums, 10 workshops, and four evening activities. Carla Larsh, EAA 245755, chairwoman of Ultralight Red Barn operations and EAA board member, said admissions and camping passes were up 13 percent and merchandise was up 35 percent.
“It was just a hopping year for us,” Larsh said.
A total of 122 registered light-sport aircraft, 40 rotorcraft, and eight hot air balloons made it to the Fun Fly Zone during the week. Crevier said the Fun Fly Zone volunteers were vital to this year’s many successes. “I have 122 volunteers, and if I wouldn’t have had them I wouldn’t have been able to do it as safely as we did,” Crevier said.
Crevier said his volunteers appreciated the many upgrades to the Fun Fly Zone, which included
a new sound system, bleachers, and safety fence. He said that it shows EAA is willing to continue to invest in and improve the Fun Fly Zone.
The programming schedule for the area was packed from dawn to dusk, but one of the busiest days was arguably Saturday. A massive hot air balloon launch on August 2 in the Fun Fly Zone greeted early risers and the 1,000 people who came to support the Oshkosh-based Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services and participate in the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Runway 5K Run/Walk. In addition, 3 Make-A-Wish children and their families received flights in an ultralight of choice as part of daylong Make-A-Wish activities.
EAA partners with Make-A-Wish each year to help young children experience the power of aviation. Crevier said the most enjoyable part of the day was a 3-year-old boy who was too small to ride in an airplane and instead got to be taxied around the field and move the stick like he was flying.
The Fun Fly Zone, formally referred to as “Down on the Farm,” was renamed at the beginning of the year and Larsh says the name fits. She said it best emphasizes the enthusiasm and passion for aviation found in what many refer to as AirVenture’s best kept secret.
“I think that the Fun Fly Zone has the warmth, the energy, the pulse of the EAA membership on our end,” Larsh said.
Crevier said he is giving his crew time off for 30 days before starting to get ready for AirVenture 2015 and make it even better. It’s that passion that keeps volunteers like Crevier and Larsh dedicated to improving AirVenture year after year.
When asked if there was anything else she’d like to share with the EAA membership, Larsh said, “Come on down in 2015! We’re looking forward to seeing them all. Come join the fun.”