Oshkosh...and What It Means

For those in the know, just the mention of “Oshkosh” brings an instant glimmer of recognition. It is simply the “Mecca” of aviation, at least in the United States. The largest General Aviation (GA) show in the country, it is said that at any one time, 10% of the GA fleet in the USA is at Oshkosh during the week of the fly-in. It is a fly-in, a trade show, an airshow, but it is also much more.

I didn’t fully realize this until I went for the first time this year. Not only are there several thousand (yes, thousand!) GA planes in the area, but the scope and variety of aircraft covered is just about limitless. Everything from pontoon equipped sea planes to single-seat paragliders, to all manner of current and past military aircraft, from the very small to the gargantuan. The Boeing Dreamlifter is the largest aircraft in the world, by volume, and is just overwhelming in a visual sense. Who knew you could cut the fuselage in several different places, and then add to it? The folks at Boeing obviously did, and by creating this aircraft have also created a market for it’s use. Smart thinking…

Although the aircraft on the grounds are of all shapes, sizes, vintages, and are meant for different missions, the variety of people is equally fascinating. Many have attended every year, for many years, and wouldn’t be anywhere else this time of year. There are even a fair number of volunteers that come a week early, just to get ready, and stay throughout the show. I”ve been around passionate people before, but I’d have to say that airplane people rank right up there with artists, musicians, actors, and the like. They are just “nuts” about aviation, and everything associated with it.

It might even be classified as an addiction, or a sickness…take your pick. But one thing is for certain, the passion is real, and they love sharing that passion. Did I mention that they are a bunch of genuinely nice people too? I haven’t met anyone in aviation that I haven’t liked, and they are ready to share their favorite tip, trick, advice or story at the drop of an aviation hat. It’s a well-mannered, generally well-educated group too, and leadership seems to run deep throughout. Find out who the aviator’s are in your community, and you’ll find the leaders too…

I made about 1100 pictures this year over the course of the week, which is a “light” week for me, visually speaking. I’m already planning on what to shoot next year. If you get the chance, grab your camera and come along too…