Last week, I reported that on July 17, the Lincoln Municipal Airport in Nebraska was the world's busiest airport. This week, that honor goes to Wittman Regional Airport, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, home of AirVenture 2010.
Federal Aviation Administrator Randy Babbitt invited me to join him in Oshkosh yesterday, and I'm sure glad I did. AirVenture was phenomenal!
Together, we watched the famous air show--spectacular!--toured the grounds and saw the A4 Skyhawk, the F4 Phantom, a variety of light sport aircraft, and a restored Eastern Airlines DC 7B. We even saw a couple of electric-powered planes and a real-life flying car.
Special 75th anniversary fly-ins included DC-3's--the first aircraft to fly passengers coast-to-coast--and B-17's--the famed "Flying Fortress" of World War II. I particularly enjoyed the Warbirds area, where EAA honors our veterans with an amazing collection of military aircraft dating back to World War I.
Then, there was KidVenture, an area where young people can build model rockets or balsa planes and fly in a high-tech simulator. KidVenture also features engaging programs to get kids interested in flying, air traffic control and next generation technology. It was great to see the kids' excitement, and Randy and I spotted many future pilots and air traffic controllers in the crowd.
Our FAA is also an important part of AirVenture. Throughout the week,
the agency will host dozens of forums on a variety
of safety-related issues. There are topics on little-known facts about
visual and instrument flight
rules, mistakes that pilots make and subjects such as “The Engine
Failure: A Survival Guide” and “Cloudy
And the crowds are impressive. The hundred or so seats each forum holds are often packed to standing-room-only levels. Mike Adragna, a pilot who has been attending AirVenture--and the FAA safety forums--for 25 years, said:
“They used to have fans instead of air conditioning. It was even worth sitting in the heat. I think the forums are the most useful presentations at Oshkosh.”