One for the Books: Many Call AirVenture 2016 the Best Ever

The biggest aviation party of the year may also have been the most successful Oshkosh ever.

AirVenture 2016
AirVenture 2016 was a wild success.Jon Whittle

For the last couple of years, visitors to the weeklong party that is EAA AirVenture have described the high-octane, jam-packed, in-your-face aviation extravaganza as among the best they could ever remember attending. This year was different. Many of the visitors and exhibitors Flying spoke with throughout the week said 2016 will go down as the best Oshkosh ever, period.

EAA CEO and Chairman Jack Pelton agrees. With more than 14,300 aircraft movements, 553,000 visitors and a boisterous mood among visitors and thousands of EAA volunteers, Pelton called AirVenture 2016 an “unbelievably successful” event.

Big hits at the show were the Martin Mars water bomber, which doused the runway at Wittman Regional Airport with water from nearby Lake Winnebago, the first appearance in a long time by the Canadian Snowbirds jet aerobatic team, and the 2 millionth Young Eagle flight, piloted by actor Harrison Ford.

The EAA Pilot Proficiency Center, which moved to show center’s Four Corners, was a huge hit, with 12 redbird flight simulators and dozens of flight instructors providing an estimated 5,000 pilots with IFR and VFR flight scenarios to sharpen their skills.

Now that the party’s over, preparations are already under way for AirVenture 2017, which will be held July 24 to 30, and feature celebrations of the 80th anniversary of the Piper Cub and an appearance by Barenaked Ladies.

We can’t wait.