EAA AirVenture 2011: A Retrospective

Hundreds of thousands of aviation enthusiasts turned out for this year's event. Here's a look back at some of the highlights.

Airventure 2011

Airventure 2011

Photo by Jon Whittle

When all was said and done, AirVenture 2011 was a good one. Despite some pre-show storms and a single day of rain, the weather was nothing short of spectacular. Even with the down economy, pilots came to Oshkosh for the festivities from all around. Airplane parking and on-site camping was maxed out early in the week. While the throngs thinned out by the end of the show, the overall attendance figures were good, though not spectacular.

The show was not without its surprises, however. EAA chairman and AirVenture head Tom Poberezny unexpectedly retired on the first day of the show in a hastily called and noticeably tense ceremony. Poberezny had been with EAA for nearly four decades. Happily, such drama took a back seat to the airplanes.

The two indisputable stars of the show were the Boeing 787 and the Boeing B-29. The 787 stopped by for a single day. The composite Dreamliner attracted tens of thousands of spectators from surrounding areas. The one-of-a-kind B-29 flew several times during the show. There were salutes to the 100th anniversary of Naval aviation and to the history of the mail plane. Two iconic figures in modern aviation, Burt Rutan and Bob Hoover, were honored with tips of the cap — Rutan for his remarkable and innovative designs and Hoover for his service to the country and for his awe-inspiring airshow routines. Beyond all the joyous details, the show was really all about the hundreds of thousands of people who came to see the legendary pilots and famous airplanes. Once again this year at AirVenture, they were treated to a display of the best of the best.