Oshkosh 2009 was graced with some of the most pleasant weather in recent years. After being baked, broiled, rained on, hailed on, nearly blown away by convective activity, and suffering a near lightning strike in years past, a new weather related phenomenon awaited. Cold! After visiting Oshkosh annually since 1997, this meteorological phenomenon was a new one.
Weather related challenges aside, the question begged, what would we find in the face of a down economy, low employment, and a declining level of activity in general aviation? Well, as far as enthusiasm for flying is concerned, there was no apparent downturn here. Fair skies beckoned crowds to Aeroshell Plaza where the re-engined Lockheed C-5M stood open to long lines. Prominently displayed nearby was the newest heavy lifter in the Air Force arsenal, the C-17. The Customs and Border protection unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) was a first time attendee as well.
The newest offering from the Airbus stable wowed the spectators with a graceful arrival and a breathtaking departure. The A380 was a show stopping crowd pleaser.
Preliminary figures indicate show attendees, campers, and exhibitors all posted gains over Airventure 2008. One thing for certain is the metamorphosis that has transformed Oshkosh from the world’s largest fly-in to a major aviation trade show. As has become commonplace, manufacturers now use this venue to introduce new products and services.
The economic situation seems not to have affected the interest level or enthusiasm of those in attendance. It seems Oshkosh has the ability to suspend, at least for a time, all that travails us.