July 30, 2017 - Following the excitement of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017, EAA CEO and chairman of the board, Jack J. Pelton, addressed the media in a press conference to deliver his closing remarks.
Pelton began by thanking the convention’s attendees and volunteers. He said it’s estimated that more than 600,000 people attended AirVenture this year, once Sunday’s attendance figures are finalized and added to the rest of the week. More than 5,000 volunteers made AirVenture possible with their collective efforts this year.
“It was an incredible week,” Pelton said. “Ten days for us, if you count the early arrivals, and certainly each day had its own truly unique venue or feature. It was hard to really pick what was the best.”
Both parking and camping spots filled up quickly, and stayed at capacity for five days, something that had never happened in Oshkosh before. Extra parking and camping were prepared and opened in the middle of the week to accommodate the increased attendance. Hangars A, B, C, D, and the Main Aircraft Display were all full with exhibitors showing off their latest products.
The number of showplanes was up five percent in 2017 when compared to AirVenture 2016, and more than 15,500 aircraft movements were recorded through Saturday, which breaks the record set last year and made Wittman Regional Airport the busiest airport in the world that week.
Pelton noted highlights, such as the Apollo gathering at the Theater in the Woods, Stan Lee’s visit and introduction of Aviore (the new Young Eagles superhero), and the Blue Angels helped make EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017 the biggest AirVenture to-date in terms of attendance.
As for the Blues, Pelton said while their presence makes for an incredible and busy show, EAA is not on their show schedule for the next two years. To lessen the impact and inconvenience the Blue Angel aerobatic box creates for some of EAA’s neighbors, who must leave their homes and businesses to accommodate safety requirements, the show cannot come to Oshkosh more than every three years or so.
Pelton attributed the record attendance figure to what EAA was able to offer attendees this year, and the beautiful weather. He said staff will begin work Monday, preparing to make EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 even better than 2017.