AirVenture Oshkosh 2023: Record Attendance and Cutting-Edge Aviation Innovations
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2023, the premier annual gathering for aviation enthusiasts and industry professionals, reached new heights of success this year, setting records in attendance and featuring groundbreaking aviation innovations. Organized by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), the event took place at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
With over 677,000 attendees, 10,000 aircraft, and a myriad of awe-inspiring exhibits, this year’s event underscored the unwavering spirit of flight that unites enthusiasts from across the globe.
Here are some key highlights from the event:
This year’s AirVenture Oshkosh event shattered previous records:
- Over 10,000 aircraft descended upon Wittman Regional Airport and nearby airfields.
- An impressive 1,497 vintage aircraft were registered in the event’s vintage aircraft parking category.
- Approximately 40,000 visitors enjoyed accommodations at 13,000 camping sites.
- Enthusiasts from 93 countries outside the U.S. added a global dimension to the event.
- The economic impact estimate reached an astounding $170 million across the five counties in the Oshkosh region (Winnebago, Outagamie, Fond du Lac, Calumet, and Brown).
Aircraft Showcases and Restorations
The event featured remarkable aircraft showcases and meticulous restorations:
- A historic highlight included the highly anticipated appearance of the mirror-finished Lockheed VC-121A Constellation “Bataan,” once used by Gen. Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War.
- Impeccably restored aircraft, including the razorback P-47D Thunderbolt and a P-51C Mustang, captivated attendees. The P-47D Thunderbolt earned the prestigious title of Grand Champion in the World War II category.
- A rotating exhibit of aircraft from the U.S. Air Force Education and Training Command added to the aviation extravaganza.
Electric Aircraft Innovation
The event showcased pioneering electric aircraft innovation:
- “Cora,” the remotely piloted Wisk electric aircraft demonstrator, made waves as a subscale prototype of a fully autonomous electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicle. Attendees marveled at its remarkable maneuverability and seamless transition from vertical to forward flight.
Aviation Education and Engagement
AirVenture Oshkosh was a hub for aviation education and engagement:
- A diverse range of sessions, including forums, workshops, and presentations, totaled over 1,400, covering various aviation topics.
- “The Gathering,” the EAA Aviation Foundation’s annual event, raised over $2 million to support critical aviation education programs.
Outstanding aircraft received the prestigious Lindy Awards in six categories: Homebuilts, Warbirds, Vintage, Rotorcraft, Ultralights, and Seaplanes. A complete list of winners is available here.
2023 UAS4STEM Championship
The 2023 UAS4STEM competition, sponsored by Skydio, saw student teams from across the country competing using self-built drones. The competition emphasized teamwork, competition, and STEM skills.
This year’s winners were:
- Advanced Category: McIntosh Aeronautics (first place), Some Assembly Required (second place), Midtown Mavericks Drone Team (third place).
- Beginner Category: St. Mary’s Composite Squadron (first place), Redstone Composite Squadron (second place), Greeneville Composite Squadron (third place).
- Dewey O. Broberg Jr. Scholarship: Awarded to Muhammed Bryant of Some Assembly Required for dedication and adherence to the competition’s rules.
FAA Research Study Opportunity
The FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) embarked on a pioneering research study, recruiting pilots attending EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2023. The study aims to enhance pilot normative data, support recertification after medical events, improve aeromedical decision-making, and contribute to national airspace safety. Eligible pilots (18 years and above) with valid medical certification Class I, II, or III received exclusive invitations to participate.
Insights From NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy
NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy, who is personally pursuing a private pilot’s license, discussed the financial challenges of flight training and advocated for aviation inclusivity, especially among women and children. Homendy underscored the importance of stricter FAA oversight for commercial passenger-carrying flights under Part 91 general aviation rules.
High Demand for Trainer Aircraft Despite Pilot Shortage
AirVenture 2023 highlighted the demand for training aircraft as manufacturers received numerous orders and launched new training programs.
This demand underscores the critical need to address the pilot shortage:
- Tecnam introduced the P-Mentor two-seat aircraft tailored for the training market, securing orders from prestigious institutions.
- Elixer Aircraft secured a substantial order for 100 two-seat carbon trainers.
- Piper Aircraft announced orders for nearly 100 Piper Archer DX and TX aircraft from flight schools, including those in India.
- Sierra Charlie Aviation committed to 50 Archer TX trainers, with expansion plans encompassing four locations. Indian flight schools also placed orders for Piper Archer DX aircraft.
Tragic Accidents Strike AirVenture Fly-in
On July 29, a series of devastating accidents occurred at the AirVenture annual fly-in convention, resulting in the loss of four lives. Two separate crashes led to heightened scrutiny and investigations to determine the causes behind these tragic mishaps.
Knisley Welding Aircraft Exhaust System expresses our heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of those who tragically lost their lives at the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2023 event.
Future of Aviation
EAA Chairman and CEO Jack Pelton emphasized the pivotal role of advanced air mobility in shaping the future of aviation. Discussions on FAA reauthorization underscored potential challenges and debates surrounding airline-related issues.
While EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2023 celebrated the triumphs of aviation, it also acknowledged the challenges that lie ahead, making the partnership between industry leaders like Knisley Welding Aircraft Exhaust System and the aviation community crucial for a brighter aviation future.
Boeing’s 20-Year Demand Forecast
- Boeing forecasts a demand for 2.3 million new commercial pilots, technicians, and cabin crew members over the next two decades, excluding the needs of business aviation or the Advanced Air Mobility industries.
- Global demand is projected to consist of 649,000 pilots (32,300 per year), 690,000 maintenance technicians (33,000 per year), and 938,000 cabin crew members (47,000 per year).
- Over the next decade, more than 30% of U.S. aviation technicians and over 25% of current commercial pilots will reach retirement age.
- The growing fleets contribute to workforce challenges, and the military sector also faces workforce shortages.
- Inspiring, developing, and training the next generation of pilots is a significant challenge for North American airlines to address retirements and attrition. North America is projected to require 127,000 new pilots, 125,000 technicians, and 177,000 cabin crew members through 2042.
- Eurasia (including Russia) is forecasted to need 143,000 pilots, 156,000 technicians, and 235,000 cabin crew members, while China will require 134,000 pilots, 138,000 technicians, and 161,000 cabin crew members.
- Increasing competition for talent has led to double-digit wage increases for airline mechanics and significant rises in pilot salaries.
- Domestic air travel has fully recovered, and international traffic is approaching pre-pandemic levels.
- The industry faces challenges related to flight training capacity as workforce demands continue to rise.
Ongoing Tradition and Growth
- EAA AirVenture Oshkosh continued to foster the spirit of aviation and bring together aviation enthusiasts worldwide.
- Planning for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2024 began, with preparations for significant activities, including the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Despite challenges, including adverse weather conditions and logistical complexities, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2023 reaffirmed its status as a leading event in the aviation calendar. It showcased a diverse array of aviation innovations, meticulously restored aircraft, educational opportunities, and community engagement.
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