EAA Hosts Another Blockbuster AirVenture

The mood is upbeat, the crowds are huge and the planes are amazing – just the way EAA planned it.

AirVenture 2017
AirVenture 2017 is another blockbuster event.Jon Whittle

After Oshkosh last year, many people, including EAA chairman Jack Pelton, proclaimed it perhaps the best AirVenture ever. The show was well-run, hundreds of thousands of visitors poured through the gates and the weather was, for the most part, delightful.

Most people we spoke with at AirVenture 2017 acknowledged that it’s another blockbuster show, with much to do and see, great airshows, mostly good weather and incredible airplanes and aviation innovations at every turn.

The show has been so well attended, in fact, that aircraft camping sold out the night before AirVenture began. Aircraft parking areas are filled to capacity, camping areas are bustling and wide smiles on attendees faces can be seen everywhere.

For anybody lamenting the health of the general aviation industry or wringing their hands over hurdles the industry faces (like ATC privatization), a stroll through the grounds of AirVenture should put your mind at ease. GA is alive and kicking.

The show didn’t feature many new airplane introductions, but there has been plenty to report on in the way of new avionics and other electronic innovations. A variety of low-cost autopilots made their debuts this week, as did new low-cost cockpits for Part 23-certified airplanes from Garmin and Dynon.

Show center at Boeing Plaza features airplanes and exhibits we’ll be recalling years from now, including the Blue Origin rocket, Stratos single-engine jet prototype, B-1 Bomber, the B-29s FIFI and Doc, the Blue Angels and much more.

Under Pelton’s leadership, EAA has “invested a lot of capital into the grounds” over the past year, he told members on Wednesday. Improvements include a permanent Quonset hut in the Warbirds area and a new pavilion area in Homebuilt camping, which when fully completed will have a concrete pad, picnic tables, and charging stations. Expansion of the VAA Red Barn facility has been completed, while the Theater in the Woods has new seating and improved electronics.

All of which means next year’s show should be another blockbuster event not to be missed.