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Hightower Calls 2012 AirVenture 'Solid'

Attendance Tops 500,000, Over 800 Vendors

Official attendance numbers for AirVenture 2012 show the number of people through the turnstiles topped 500,000 ... but just barely for the 60th annual EAA fly-in. EAA president and CEO Rod Hightower said that 508,000 people attended the show. "That is a tremendous total considering the intensely hot weather, storms, and struggles in the overall economy. The aviation community knows that Oshkosh is the place to be to find out what’s new, and actually buy new equipment, components, and aircraft,” he said.

But the numbers are down from the previous two years, including the infamous "Sloshkosh" of 2010. Last year, EAA reported 541,000 people came to Wisconsin for the show, and the previous year, with persistent rains causing widespread flooding across the grounds leading up to the show, some 535,000 people and 10,000 airplanes arrived at Wittman Regional Airport. The event set an attendance record in 2009, reporting 578,000 visitors.

"This was a solid year at AirVenture and, most importantly, it was a safe event. I'm very happy with our operational execution, as there were a number of changes this year," Hightower said. "Our 4,800 volunteers and the EAA staff did a marvelous job of putting together a wonderful week. We had plenty of aviation and innovation on display during AirVenture 2012.”

The official totals from EAA indicate that there were more than 10,000 aircraft arriving at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh and other airports in east-central Wisconsin. The numbers included 2,489 showplanes, made up of 978 homebuilt aircraft, 907 vintage airplanes, 336 warbirds, 105 ultralights, 97 seaplanes, 35 aerobatic aircraft and 31 rotorcraft.

The organization reports 802 commercial vendors attended the show.

There were 2,078 international visitors registered from 71 nations, with Canada (479 visitors), Australia (286), and Brazil (216) the top three nations. The data includes only non-U.S. visitors who register at the International Visitors Tent, leading the EAA to estimate that there were actually more international visitors than the official count. There were also 897 media representatives on-site representing five continents.

"Expect bigger and better things for 2013 - certainly continuous improvements in what we call the visitor experience," Hightower said. "Stay tuned for many announcements about the 2013 fly-in and the history-making surprises that can be found only at Oshkosh.”

FMI: www.eaa.org/airventure

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