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Wed, Aug 06, 2008

EAA: AirVenture 2008 Attendance Dropped Slightly From '07

But Event Saw Growth In Number Of Int'l Visitors

We know it was big. It's big every year. But exactly how big was it this year?

On Tuesday, the Experimental Aircraft Association released official figures on attendance for AirVenture Oshkosh 2008, which officially wrapped up Sunday afternoon.

EAA President Tom Poberezny noted, "The concern was that 2008 would be less than a banner year, because of questions and challenges in areas such as fuel prices and the economy, but it turned out to be an overwhelming week. Each day on the grounds was filled with outstanding activities that made every day at AirVenture a unique event in itself. This year's 'Oshkosh' was the shot of enthusiasm, inspiration, and economic boost that aviation needed."

Overall attendance is estimated at 540,000, which is a slight drop from last year but on par with 2006. More than 10,000 aircraft arrived at Wittman Regional Airport and alternate landing facilities in the area, down about one percent from last year, but World War II-era warbirds were actually more numerous than last year, despite their thirst for increasingly-pricey avgas.

One big increase can be credited on the declining value of the US Dollar. Favorable exchange rates brought 2,128 registered visitors to Oshkosh from 71 nations, an increase of 25 percent. Campers in the fly-in and drive-in categories totalled more than 37,000 this year, and there were 865 registered media representatives on-site from five continents.

Poberezny says next year's event will feature Virgin Galactic's White Knight Two space vehicle, a reunion of participants from Concorde's five visits to Oshkosh over the past 25 years, and a salute to mission aviators who perform humanitarian work around the globe.

"Visitors in 2009 will also begin to see additional amenities and site upgrades that will make EAA AirVenture 2009 an even better experience and value as The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration," Poberezny said.

We're already marking our calendars, Tom!

FMI: www.airventure.org

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