EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

There's a reason it's known as the World's Greatest Aviation Celebration.

The Early Years

The Experimental Aircraft Association's Fly-In Convention, now known as EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, has been in existence nearly as long as the association itself.

The first gathering was in September 1953 as a small part of the Milwaukee (Wis.) Air Pageant. That original EAA fly-in at Curtiss-Wright (now Timmerman) Field was attended by a handful of airplanes, mostly homebuilt and modified aircraft. Fewer than 150 people registered as visitors. The larger Milwaukee Air Pageant has faded away but the EAA gathering has become the world's premier aviation event.

EAA's fly-in grew quickly in its first few years and by the late 1950s it had outgrown the area of the Milwaukee airport it was allowed to use. In 1959, the event moved to Rockford (Ill.) Municipal Airport, where it would stay for the next decade.

The "Rockford Years" were where the EAA Fly-In Convention established both its prominence as a homebuilders' event and its friendly feeling that is retained to this day. During these years, such diverse aviation interests as Warbirds, antiques and aerobatic performers became part of the EAA event.