"Oshkosh, B'Gosh! World's Largest Airshow!!!" Top 5 Page for this destination Oshkosh by Tugboatguy

Oshkosh Travel Guide: 24 reviews and 112 photos

On the (High) Road Again!

The word Oshkosh and the town Oshkosh in Wisconsin are universally known by aircraft pilots as shorthand for the annual World's largest Airshow put on by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and known this year as EAA AirVenture 2008. Midwest flooding rains and storms prior to the week's show commencing 28 July this year through 3 August kept attendance down somewhat, but over 10,000 aircraft and 540,000 paid attendees made the premier aviation event of each year a huge success. In 2007 by comparison 560,000 paid attendees were recorded. We were blessed with unusually good weather and no rain at the show all week. This year, 2009, attendance was 578,000 for the week. I didn't attend in 2009, but wished that I had done so. By comparison, the every-other-year Paris, France Airshow attracts about 350,000 people in a week.

Over 2,100 foreign visitors were in attendance in 2008,
including a pilot who flew his small, single engine homebuilt aircraft solo all the way from Israel to Oshkosh, Wisconsin more than 5,000 miles in 47 flying hours taking nine flying days via Scotland, Iceland, Greenland ($16/gallon gas!) and Goose Bay, Labrador. My flight was far less intrepid-no ocean crossing! I arrived early on Saturday 26 July by a Beech Bonanza model 36 in a day and a half trip from Camarillo, California's airport near my home. I took the above photo off the Bonanza's wing tip tank enroute.

We continued on flying the Bonanza after the big airshow to Dayton, Ohio to visit the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. We then skirted a midwest storm to Springfield, Missouri and then stopped in Albuquerque, New Mexico before returning home on a great flying vacation.

Lest you think this is just a trip summary, I have prepared tips on where to stay and eat in Oshkosh. There are other attractions year around in and around Oshkosh. I used to fish near Oshkosh which is in Wisconsin's extensive lake country years ago when in Grad School living in Illinois.

Oshkosh is home of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, which profits by the big annual airshow by offering inexpensive dorm accommodations to airshow visitors, as every hotel and motel for miles around is solidly booked for the annual event, which is in the last week of July each year. I stayed in the University dorm private room this year on a floor with many Australian visitors. Some have attended every year for 32 years or so, making Oshkosh an annual pilgrimage. If you are interested in light aircraft or are an aircraft nut like myself, Oshkosh is the place to be in late July each year. Please click on the smaller photos to enlarge them.

Open 6:30 am to Late Night Each Day.

The airshow grounds open at 6:30 am each day and and visitors are admitted showing their wristband they wear all week. Single day or multiple day attendance is also available using color-coded wristbands. Several celebrities were in attendance. Movie star John Travolta flew his own Boeing B707 jet in from Florida and Harrison Ford of filmdom was also there. Ford was then the head of the EAA Young Eagles Program, which nationwide offers free light airplane rides to children from 8 to 18 to foster interest in aviation and flying. Harrison Ford owns and flies several light aircraft. Evening programs hosted by these stars introduced and showed their films. Pro golfer and pilot Arnold Palmer spoke at the annual Gathering of Eagles dinner in the EAA Museum hangar one evening. Arnie Palmer has logged 18,000 hours as pilot and has stated he couldn't have been a pro golfer without learning to fly.

Display aircraft to be judged are grouped by vintage or make and model in a well orchestrated fly-in and specific parking areas on the huge grounds. Sixty-seven Piper Comanche aircraft flew in arrival formation, recognizing the 50th birthday of the model. The 50th anniversary of production of the Nanchang China CJ-6A tandem trainer warbird aircraft was also celebrated with 38 of them flying formation forming a big 50 in the sky. The Goodyear Blimp gave rides, as did a historic Ford Tri-Motor. The EAA Museum was open and a special treat. The new F-22 Raptor fighter gave amazing vectored thrust flight demonstrations. The U.S. Marines' V-22 tilt-rotor Osprey aircraft flew and was on display, as was the WWII P-38 "Glacier Girl", restored after buried for years under Greenland ice and snow. The huge Boeing modified 747 Dreamlifter wowed the crowd. Warbirds and new aircraft models vied for the crowd's attention. New technology introductions, including an electric motor-powered aircraft, always are a feature of the annual show. A special section of WWII warbirds is always a special treat, with famous P-51s, P-38s, P40s and big bombers such as B-17s, B-24s and B-25s always a crowd favorite. Some rare one-of-a-kind flying warbirds were on display.

There are many seminars, a daily airshow from 3;30 to 6 pm with incredible aerobatics and indoor and outdoor manufacturers' displays to tempt the visitor. So many things occur simultaneously it is impossible to take it all in. The EAA publishes their own 40 page free daily newspaper with event schedules and color photo stories from the previous day's events, using their own photographers and writers. There is something for everyone, including children. A photographer's dream, I took 2,000 aircraft photos available from my other site linked on my VT Home Page.

The EAA's Seaplane Base on Lake Winnebago

Vette-Blust 96WI is the official name of a seaport cove on Lake Winnebago just a few miles south of Wittman Regional airport that serves the floatplanes and amphibian aircraft for water landings that attend the EAA AirVenture airshow. It is a cool, shady respite from the sun at Wittman Field during the annual event, where you can also tent or RV camp there if attending the airshow and eat there also. I highly recommend you also visit the seaplane base while attending the annual airshow. Regular bus service round trips are provided from the airshow airport to the seaplane base. I have just added a special Travelogue on the seaplane base.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The Town has been put on the World Map by the EAA.
  • Cons:It Only Lasts One Week Each Year
  • In a nutshell:You Must Experience It to Be Overwhelmed By It All.
  • Last visit to Oshkosh: Aug 2008
  • Intro Updated Feb 21, 2013
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Reviews (7)

Comments (6)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Aug 30, 2010 at 3:28 PM

    I can see why you got up to this area with all the plane-air shows events. Nice pictures and comments, and you surely enjoyed yourself.

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Mar 20, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    Lovely page Doug. I enjoy your travels!

  • gilabrand's Profile Photo
    Jan 2, 2010 at 10:21 PM

    To me Oshkosh is the name of a kid's clothing company. My boys walked around in their overalls for years when they were growing up...LOL Ha, I just saw your tip, after writing this comment.

  • Gillybob's Profile Photo
    Aug 10, 2009 at 12:43 AM

    With a name like Oshkosh, who couldn't resist a visit to this great page with wonderful photos! Your passion shows through! Gillybob greetings

  • Maria250's Profile Photo
    Oct 25, 2008 at 1:04 PM

    Fantastic read & information on Oshkosh/aircraft show! Also about "Blue Goose" & 1951 Beech SNB-2 Navigator - your old ride. Awesome adds!

  • SteveOSF's Profile Photo
    Oct 2, 2008 at 3:09 PM

    Excellent page with great travelogues and pictures. Nice to see a page on Oshkosh. I remember when "Glacier Girl” was pulled from the ice. Good to see it's restored. I‘m impressed that you got 2000 photos shorted. I still sorting pictures from last May.


“"1 if by Land, 2 if by Sea, But 3 if by Air!"...d(^_^)b”

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