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Jaunted at Oshkosh: Inside One Crazy Day at 'Aviation's Greatest Celebration'

July 30, 2012 at 11:33 AM | by | ()

Oshkosh, Wisconsin's Wittman Regional Airport has no regularly scheduled flights. And yet it manages to rack up over 90,000 landings every year. It has no impressive passenger terminal. And yet it counts visitors in the millions. What OSH does have, you see, is EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, a massive aviation celebration that swamps the tiny town for one week every summer.

At 8am this past Saturday we landed right in the thick of things, arriving on one of Southwest Airlines' newest, shiniest Boeing 737-700s after a quickie flight up from Chicago-Midway International. Here we could type a slew of fawning adjectives to describe our day (not even a full day!) spent zipping from the expansive cockpits of military transports to reclining in the slim leather seats of private props, but luckily a simple word—a word we maybe whispered and shouted a thousand times at OSH—sums it up: awesome.

Have you ever skipped in joy around the belly of a ginormous Air Force Lockheed C-5 Galaxy? We have. Have you perhaps caressed the meticulously preserved interior wood trim of a 1929 Ford Tri-Motor, and wondered at all the people who've done the same in the previous eight decades(!) of its life? We have! It's not bragging if it's the average experience enjoyed by those paying the $41 daily admission* to spot 10,000-15,000 aircraft during AirVenture. Okay...maybe it is a little bragging.

Let's get sentimental a moment...

A is the for Aerobatics that shot our heart into our throat with every loop-d-loop. B is for the big blue Boeing that brought us here. C is for the Cessna Citation that cranked up our imagination. D is for the dirty daydreaming that followed. E is for Experimental—the enterprising and their garage-built planes. And on and on until Z. Z for the zero chance that we'll be able to stay away next year, when EAA AirVenture returns to Oshkosh July 29-August 4, 2013.

*Disclosure: We traveled to EAA AirVenture for one day as a guest of Southwest Airlines, but all photos, video, Ford Tri-Motor rides and enthusiasm is completely our own.

[Video: Joe Corrigan/Omega Pictures. Photos: Joe Corrigan and Cynthia Drescher]

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