AirVenture 2019: 5 (OK, 10) Cool Things To Do

From a long list of exciting events, we share our top picks.

EAA Theater in the Woods
The week kicks off with a 50th anniversary presentation at the Theater in the Woods.Courtesy EAA

The Experimental Aircraft Association celebrates 50 consecutive years of its famous convention this summer—now known as EAA AirVenture, but referred to by most as "Oshkosh". We've scoured the significant conference schedule, and picked out these highlights for you to consider as you plan your week at the show this year—which runs from Monday, July 22, to Sunday, July 28.

To get a good overview of the week, check out the Oshkosh 50th Anniversary Kickoff at 8:30 pm Monday evening at the Theater in the Woods, featuring more than 30 big names from past conventions, and led by longtime EAA member Steve Buss. It's also the 50th anniversary of the Boeing 747, and this legendary airplane will sit front and center with programs all week featuring its incredible history.

For a glimpse into the future—starting today—check out the Aviation Gateway Park's Urban Air Mobility Showcase, featuring innovations stretching from electric aircraft to VTOLs and hover bikes, with companies like VerdeGo. The Drone Light Show returns during the night air shows on Wednesday and Saturday as well.

Boeing 747
The legendary Boeing 747 celebrates 50 years at AirVenture in 2019.Courtesy Jim Koepnick

If you haven't explored the Vintage area or Warbird Alley, you might check out daily forums on Monday through Friday where experts interview aircraft owners and restorers at each location. The Vintage in Review presentations run from 10:30 to 11:30 each weekday during the show, while those in Warbird Alley's main area start at 1:00 pm Monday, with examples such as the T-28 and T-34 anniversary featured on Tuesday at 10 am, and the P-51 Old Crow at 1 pm.

For those camping or sticking around after hours, you’ll want to see the Balloon Night Glow on the Flightline Monday evening at 8 pm. The colors of the balloons illuminated by the burners take on a magical aspect at night.

Are you a part of a college aviation program—or want to be? Join the Collegiate Tailgate at Aviation Gateway Park on Tuesday from 5 to 6:30 pm for a tasty cookout and networking with likeminded pilots just launching their careers.

To soar above it all, Bell Helicopter offers rides on Wednesday at Pioneer Airport from 8 am to 6 pm. You can purchase tickets at the airport’s Pitcairn Hangar, behind the EAA AirVenture Museum. Other rides in the B-17 Aluminum Overcast and the Ford Tri-Motor are available too.

EAA drone light show
The Drone Light Show returns to the night skies of AirVenture.Courtesy EAA

If you're a supporter of bringing more women into aviation, join the EAA WomenVenture Group Photo at 11 am at Boeing Plaza, followed by the WomenVenture Power Lunch at 11:30 at the Theater in the Woods. Register for your t-shirts and lunch tickets before the show on EAA's website

Polish your skills and update your flying knowledge any time during the week at the EAA Pilot Proficiency Center, where you can train with a flight instructor on one of the Redbird LD flight training devices—testing yourself through VFR and IFR scenarios. If you're an active CFI, you can volunteer here

On Friday, AirVenture comes out in force to honor veterans with a special parade at 1:30 pm, tracking from Warbird Alley to Boeing Plaza, to welcome those who served, and to launch the afternoon air show. A group photo at 2 pm captures the moment for history.

And we can personally recommend the Runway 5K, departing from the Ultralight Barn at 7 am on Saturday. The course loops around the busiest airport in the world while the air is still fresh, and the morning sun shines on the aircraft—with any luck! You can register ahead of time here and plan to run off all of those brats and cheese curds you've indulged in during the week.