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Soggy Start Fails to Derail EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019
Attendance totals anticipated to set another record
July 28, 2019 - EAA CEO and Chairman of the Board Jack J. Pelton began his closing remarks on Sunday by thanking EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019 attendees, volunteers, air traffic controllers, the FAA, and Wittman Regional Airport, as well as the people of Oshkosh and the surrounding local area.
Soon after, Jack transitioned to talking about what dominated the conversation early on — the rainy weather that created what he called a “tremendous challenge” to the fly-in convention. Fortunately, EAAers were ready to step up and address this challenge.
“I cannot believe the efforts of our 5,500 volunteers that turned what could have been a very challenging week into one that was successful,” Jack said.
Thanks to the work of everyone involved, Jack noted, AirVenture 2019 still had more than 2,700 showplanes as part of the more than 10,000 total airplanes. Warbirds saw growth of 6 percent to a total of 400. There were more than 100 seaplanes in attendance, which is 30 more than last year. Homebuilt camping actually set a record, as Oshkosh welcomed 592 homebuilt aircraft campers as part of more than 1,000 total homebuilt aircraft during the week.
The FAA ATC crews handled 14,500 aircraft movements through nine days, and that number is expected to exceed 15,000 easily after Sunday and Monday’s movements are factored in, Jack said.
A grand total of 863 exhibitors made Oshkosh home during the week, and according to Jack most of them experienced fantastic sales numbers during AirVenture.
“Across the board, feedback from exhibitors is that they had record years,” he said. “Many were saying sales were up by as much as 50 percent.”
Jack also covered some of the momentous events that took place across AirVenture 2019, including Michael Collins’ Theater in the Woods presentation, welcoming Burt Rutan back to Oshkosh, and The Gathering, which raised $2.8 million to advance EAA’s programs this year.
Near the end of his remarks, Jack shared that attendance numbers are projected to set another record this year, at roughly 625,000 all told. That’s a 5 percent increase from last year, which also was a record. Camping attendance was up 5 percent as well, and aircraft check-ins remained about even with last year.
“Overall, I am very proud of the efforts of our volunteers, staff, and everyone involved put forth this year,” Jack said. “Our 50th consecutive year in Oshkosh was one to remember for us, and for everyone who attended.”