AirVenture 2013 Sets Records

With great weather and new leadership, AirVenture thrives.

AirVenture 2013 Grounds

AirVenture 2013 Grounds

** AirVenture grounds (Photo by Jim Koepnick) **

AirVenture 2013 wrapped up on Sunday after a week that was remarkably successful despite a number of challenges leading up to the show.

Before AirVenture, EAA was in negotiations with the FAA over the agency’s plan to charge the association $650,000 to staff the controllers at the event, a fee that the EAA was able to negotiate down to $450,000. The bottom line was AirVenture was a safe show, with no injuries or noteworthy accidents. EAA continues to fight the ATC fees in court.

Pelton also pointed to the lack of military aircraft at AirVenture, a consequence of sequestration, and indeed Phillips 66 Plaza looked somewhat sparse this year without the usual military hardware to decorate the skyline.

There were other attractions to make up for it, though. Yves Rossy, aka "Jetman," entertained showgoers on three different days, and the Terrafugia flying car also made its first flying appearance at AirVenture. Later in the week, Disney premiered the coming blockbuster Planes in a showing that drew a record 15,000 people to the Fly-In Theater — to rave reviews.

In terms of attendance, Pelton said it was about the same as last year, with 500,000 people and 10,000 airplanes at KOSH or one of its reliever airports. There was also a record number of exhibitors this year.

One big change that Pelton only hinted at was the palpable improvement in morale around the show grounds, a stark difference from a year ago when a near revolt at the annual meeting seemed to presage the end of former EAA President Rod Hightower’s short time at the reins.

This year, in contrast, was upbeat, with hundreds of volunteers and EAA’s core constituency of homebuilders and warbird and antique/classics restorers, seemingly feeling appreciated and happy to be able to call AirVenture fun again.

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And for more photos from AirVenture, check out our other galleries from throughout the week.

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