EAA Airventure 2022 'takes off' in Oshkosh

NOW: EAA Airventure 2022 ’takes off’ in Oshkosh

OSHKOSH, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Back for its 69th edition, the Experimental Aviation Association's annual fly-in convention is officially underway in Oshkosh.

Every year, thousands of pilots and hundreds of thousands of attendees flock to Wittman Regional Airport for the annual event. This year, organizers expect roughly 600,000 attendees between Monday, July 25 and Sunday, July 31.

"It's really about the experience of being surrounded by everything aviation," explained Andreas Vernhard III, a pilot from Florida who made the 1,200-mile trip to Oshkosh with his 5-year-old son, Andy. "It's truly a special thing to be able to share that with your child and if this turns into something that makes him a pilot or engineer, great! If not, he just has fun with the aviation. It's a wonderful thing."

Each day, attendees are treated to different air shows, seminars and other events, making it fun for both pilots and folks who prefer to stay on the ground, but enjoy watching planes. That's the case for Barry Delhenty, who drove from Ontario, Canada, to be at the convention for the first time.

"Years and years I've wanted to come," Delhenty said. "Just love airplanes."

The excitement from day one of Airventure was shadowed by sadness after it was announced Tom Poberezny, the retired president and chairman of the EAA, passed away Monday morning at the age of 75 following a brief illness.

"It is not lost on us that Tom's passing occurred on the opening day of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, the event he led into world prominence as its chairman beginning in the 1970s," said Jack J. Pelton, EAA CEO and chairman of the board. "Tom's legacy is tremendous in the world of aviation, with his personal achievements as well as growth of the EAA, especially the development of the current EAA Aviation Center in Oshkosh, the Young Eagles program, and the creation of the Sport Pilot nearly 20 years ago. He will be greatly missed but more importantly, he will be remembered for all that he did for EAA and aviation."

Poberezny was EAA president from 1989 until 2010 and served as chairman for two years until his retirement in 2011.

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