The Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) annual
AirVenture held in Oshkosh, Wis., July 22–39, had a record-breaking attendance
of 601,000 people throughout the week, up 2 percent from the 590,000
attendees in 2017. More than 10,000
airplanes were at this year’s event, as well as 867 exhibitors. Among them was NAAA, sharing booth space with Air Tractor, Thrush Aircraft and GPS
NAAA staff and volunteers spoke with hundreds of attendees
throughout the week, and over the past three years of NAAA exhibiting at
Oshkosh we’ve signed up 289 prospective pilots interested in a career in ag
aviation. NAAA follows up with those genuinely interested in an ag aviation
career to nurture their interest by informing them of upcoming NAAA events and
providing them with a yearlong subscription to Agricultural Aviation magazine.
Attendees admiring the Thrush 802 on display at the NAAA
During the week, there were also over 1,000 educational forums
on aviation topics attended by 75,000 visitors. NAAA Executive Director Andrew
Moore gave an educational presentation to AirVenture attendees on how to pursue
a career in ag aviation, along with Lee Turnquist, 2018 NAAA Secretary, Eric
Rojek of Thrush Aircraft and Nancy Andersen of Air Tractor.
In addition to recruiting, NAAA also promoted the importance
of agricultural aviation to food, fiber and biofuel production, as well as to
forestry and public health protection, by distributing its “Flying for Your
NAAA Executive Director Andrew Moore also conducted several
media interviews throughout the week. You can listen to his interview with
local Wisconsin radio station WHBY here.
Some future ag pilots taking a closer look at the Thrush
Many NAAA members contributed important manpower to equip
and staff the NAAA booth at EAA AirVenture, particularly staff from Air
Tractor, Thrush and AG-NAV as well as AgAir Update’s Graham Lavender,
Transland’s Anthonie York, Eagle Vistas’ Randy and Beverly Berry, and several
past and present members of NAAA’s Board of Directors including 2018 Vice
President Darrel Mertens and 2018 Secretary Lee Turnquist.
More than 10,000 aircraft arrived at Wittman Regional
Airport in Oshkosh and other airports in east-central Wisconsin. At Wittman
alone, there were 19,588 aircraft operations in the 11-day period from July
20-30, which is an average of approximately 134 takeoffs/landings per hour. This
made the control tower at Wittman the busiest control tower in the world for
that period of time.
The NAAA booth space was also shared by AG-NAV, a leading GPS
Looking forward to next year, EAA Chairman Jack Pelton said,
“We are celebrating our 50th consecutive year in Oshkosh during 2019, so we’ll
be looking back on a half-century of unforgettable highlights at Wittman
Regional Airport, and planning activities that involve EAA’s hometown and its
unique place in aviation history. While 2018 is barely in the record books,
we’re talking to many groups and individuals with intriguing new ideas for
aircraft, innovations, exhibits, and events. We’re already planning for 2019
and are looking forward to announcing features and attractions very soon.”
NAAA Vice President Darrel Mertens of Sterling, CO, explains the spray system installed on the Air Tractor 802.