The banner image above is not a stock image. I took it mid-week and it should give you some idea of what the week and crowd at Oshkosh was like this year. Charlie Becker told us that by Wednesday night they had parked over 7,500 airplanes and the AOPA was saying that they'd counted 7,900. The EAA has not yet published the final count but we all believe it will exceed 10,000.
It amazed all of us to see how many people had flown in so early in the week. The weather was exceptionally good for VFR flying. An occluded front that was stabilized by Canadian high pressure to the north and a low pressure system to the south kept the skies open. There was a lot of haze - probably some from the fires out west and some just because it was summer. As for temperatures, it was high 80's with root beer floats in the forecast. By Friday things had changed with storm systems and pilots loaded up and many of the craft on the field departed.
Over the years we've made many friends at Oshkosh, in the campground and on the grounds as well. Unlike the washout of 2019 the campground was dry this year.
The campground was also full. Our chapter members started arriving on the week before the show with several coming in on the weekend. The picture below was taken on Saturday afternoon, two days before the show, about 4pm. For most of us, non-generator camping was where we locate. With Camp Schoeller having allocated more space for 24-hour generator campers as well as more sites with electricity and water, the general camping (that means you bring your own electricity and water and you don't run it after 10 pm - it's where most of us camp) was moved to new areas that are actually closer to the show grounds.
The North Forty also filled up very fast. The picture to the right was taken on Sunday morning, one day before the show. It was simply amazing to see how many planes had come in so early.
It was as if the year of COVID-19 had built up so much desire to get back together. The EAA officials told me that their early estimates, in the winter and spring of this year, before many had been vaccinated, were that the show, if it were to happen would be quite small.
At Sun-N-Fun (I really don't like that name, but then "AirVenture" is about as hokey.) the April date had limited attendance to 30,000 people per day. The EAA expected to get similar numbers.
Some vendors, such as Wicks and Axis Air Group pulled out. Some vendors like Rotec Aerosport and others that did not have U.S.-based sales agents simply could not show.
And many vendors took smaller booth spaces.
At the same time, the EAA purchased less souvenir merchandise than usual so the store outlets on site had fewer T-shirts and mugs and kids things.
The campground expansion has also brought a new shower building. The South Stits showers, which was to debut in 2019 but was unfortunately under water due to the wash out, features private showers similar to the ones that were trucked in during the 2019 storm.
While we did not have a chapter campsite, several of our chapter members and others that have just gotten to know us through the years gathered under Warren's red canopy at night to have dinner or just visit and exchange stories and good conversation.
There were more Keene and New Hampshire people that we know were at the show. The Camp Schoeller picture is only about 1/4 of the main campground. It does not show all of the people that were camped, not only in other Camp Schoeller areas but in private camp grounds, hotels, dorms and houses in the area.
And of course, all the people that pitched a tent under the wing of their planes.
Topics like what unusual aircraft or motor homes (see the DC3 picture below) or almost any topic from working for the airlines to the New York Mets ended up under the red canopy this year.
At right, Chris Bietz (Atlas Air 747 Captain), Rob Sackmann, Craig Stock (retired financial guy from Pennsylvania), me, Warren Hurd and Jim Daris who had flown out with daughter Hunter. With a little scotch and a few plastic cups, anything can become cause for celebration in the campground.
Meanwhile, Thor, the Pit Bull/ Yellow Lab guard at the south end of the campground keeps vigilant watch for those green stickers on the windshields of cars and campers driving in. He owns the table and never leaves his post.
But you want to see airplanes,eh? Ok, enough about the campground...
Oops, if you look carefully, that last one, the DC3, is now a motor home. Back to airplanes...
Jim Daris sent over this pic of Niagara Falls taken on his way home. Taken from the Canadian side, eh?
You can these and many more pictures here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/m5c2haebr0u5frr/AAA_kvwyeAw3MkHJ-vKyUevfa?dl=0
Want to see more? Check out this video that Hunter Daris made. It's short but maybe enough to entice you to join us next year: