EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2023 has witnessed an unprecedented gathering of aviation aficionados, as an estimated 677,000 individuals flocked to Oshkosh for this extraordinary event.
This year’s attendance figure shattered the previous record of 650,000 set in 2022, solidifying the events place as an iconic aviation gathering.
Flying high with record numbers
Jack Pelton, the CEO and chairman of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), expressed his pride in the remarkable accomplishments of the event. He remarked, “We had record-setting totals of campers, exhibitors, volunteers, and more.”
Despite the challenges posed by weather, logistics, and other factors, the efforts put forth by the dedicated volunteers and staff elevated the event to new heights.
The skies above Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh and other neighboring airports witnessed a mesmerizing spectacle as over 10,000 aircraft made their way to the event.
Wittman Airport, the epicenter of this aviation carnival, witnessed a staggering 21,883 aircraft operations over the 11-day period from July 20 to 30.
This translates to an average of approximately 148 takeoffs and landings per hour during the airport’s operational hours.
The diversity of aircraft on display was truly awe-inspiring, with a total of 3,365 showplanes gracing the event. Among them, a record-breaking 1,497 vintage aircraft found their place in the vintage aircraft parking area.
Additionally, the event featured 1,067 homebuilt aircraft, 380 warbirds (a notable increase of three percent from the previous year), 194 ultralights, 134 seaplanes and amphibians, 52 aerobatic aircraft, and 41 rotorcraft.
More than 13,000 campsites, catering to both aircraft and drive-in campers, added to the vibrant atmosphere of the event. These sites accommodated an estimated 40,000 visitors who embraced the spirit of adventure and community that defines AirVenture Oshkosh.
The success of AirVenture Oshkosh can be attributed in no small part to the contributions of its volunteers. More than 5,500 dedicated individuals poured in over 250,000 hours of their time and energy to ensure the event’s seamless execution.
A platform for learning
Beyond its impressive statistics, AirVenture Oshkosh is a treasure trove of knowledge and expertise. All in all, the event hosted 1,400 sessions, encompassing forums, workshops, and presentations.
These sessions covered a diverse range of aviation-related topics and provided attendees with the opportunity to learn, engage, and network.
The digital impact
In an era defined by digital connectivity, AirVenture Oshkosh left an indelible mark on the online landscape. EAA’s social media channels reached more than 18.3 million people during the event, reflecting an astonishing 78 percent increase from the previous year.
Engagement also soared, with 1.9 million individuals actively participating in the digital conversation. Furthermore, over 189,000 hours were spent watching EAA video clips online, a remarkable figure that more than doubled the previous year’s count.
A global gathering
The event’s magnetic pull extended beyond the borders of the United States. In 2023, AirVenture Oshkosh welcomed 2,372 attendees from an impressive 93 countries around the world.
This international presence not only added diversity to the event but also highlighted its global significance.
Shaping the future of aviation
Beyond the fanfare and exhilaration, AirVenture Oshkosh serves a profound purpose. The EAA Aviation Foundation utilized the event as a platform to support its aviation education programs.
Over 1,000 individuals came together, collectively raising more than $2 million. These funds will play a pivotal role in advancing EAA’s mission of nurturing and expanding participation in aviation.
The event garnered the attention of media representatives from all corners of the world, with a substantial presence of 863 representatives from six continents. This media spotlight further amplified the event’s reach and impact.
A boon for the region
The economic impact of AirVenture Oshkosh extended beyond the event’s boundaries, injecting a substantial $170 million into the economies of five counties in the Oshkosh region.
This figure, based on a 2017 economic impact study by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, underscores the event’s significance as a driver of economic growth.
Looking ahead to 2024
As the curtain falls on the remarkable success of AirVenture Oshkosh 2023, excitement is already building for the next chapter.
EAA CEO and chairman Jack Pelton shared a glimpse of what’s in store for AirVenture 2024. He revealed, “We’ll start planning for EAA AirVenture 2024 a little later in August, but we are already looking at a number of big activities, including the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force.”
The anticipation is palpable, fueled by a multitude of innovative ideas from EAA members and enthusiasts, all of which promise to make the 2024 edition an even more unforgettable experience.