EAA AirVenture Oshkosh solidified its status as the premier venue for major aviation industry announcements with the recently concluded 2006 weeklong gathering. Cessna, HondaJet, and others made major aircraft announcements. Eclipse Aviation became the first VLJ manufacturer to receive a provisional Type Certificate. FAA Administrator Marion Blakey announced plans for new pilot medical certification intervals. Representatives from GA’s leading organizations appeared together united against the idea of user fees. And the list goes on.
"Innovation and technology are an important part of our event, and EAA AirVenture 2006 featured more new aviation announcements than any EAA fly-in in history," said EAA President Tom Poberezny. There were also many more activities and events that added value for EAA members and aviation enthusiasts, including the Beach Boys concert presented July 24 by Ford Motor Company; the greatly successful EAA Fly-in Theater sponsored by Ford and Eclipse Aviation; and the world aviation premiere of the movie Flyboys.
Monday's Beach Boys concert helped EAA establish a new record for opening day attendance, Poberezny said. However, several other factors, such as the weeklong heat wave and high fuel prices, worked to diminish attendance by about 10 percent -- to an estimated 625,000 -- over the previous year.
"We had anticipated an attendance decrease after the unique attractions that highlighted the 2005 event," Poberezny said. "Attendance was also affected by factors such as the difficulties caused by unfavorable weather compared to last year, and the past year’s sharp increase in fuel prices."
Auto fuel prices are above three dollars a gallon and aviation fuel prices top four dollars per gallon in many regions.
"EAA AirVenture 2006 was a tremendous event," he continued. "Comments from visitors are overwhelmingly positive about the aircraft, events and organization of EAA AirVenture, which is a credit to the volunteers, staff and community who work hard to make it successful. We’re already looking forward to EAA AirVenture 2007 on July 23 through 29 next year."
Other facts and figures from EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2006:
Total aircraft: More than 10,000 aircraft arriving at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh and other airports in east-central Wisconsin.
Total showplanes: 2,310 (preliminary) including 852 homebuilt aircraft; 798 vintage airplanes; 387 warbirds; 130 ultralights; 121 seaplanes; and 22 rotorcraft.
Commercial exhibitors: 812
International visitors registered: 1,704 from 65 nations, led by Canada (407), Australia (218), and South Africa (176). NOTE: This total includes only non-U.S. visitors who register at the International Visitors Tent, so the actual international contingent is undoubtedly larger.
Media: 868 media representatives on-site, from six continents.
The 56th annual edition of EAA's fly-in convention takes place July 28-August 3.
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