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Community Roots: Selections from the Local Legacies Project
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Pilot Jim Franklin and his wingwalker son Kyle perform in their Waco biplane, 1997
Pilot Jim Franklin and wingwalker son Kyle perform with their highly modified Waco biplane at EAA AirVenture, 1997 Photo courtesy Experimental Aircraft Association

Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture

First meeting in September 1953, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture has been in existence nearly as long as the association itself. Since the time of that first EAA Fly-In, attended by 100 people, the EAA gathering, now held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, has become one of the world's largest aviation events and the world's largest general aviation gathering. It has an annual average attendance of more than 800,000 and in excess of 10,000 airplanes. More than 70 nations are represented, and more than 4,000 volunteers and 700 exhibitors take part. It been called part fly-in, part air extravaganza, part trade show, part educational seminar, and part family reunion.

A walk down the EAA AirVenture flight line allows the visitor to make contact with every aspect of aviation. Vintage aircraft from the first three decades of flight are featured in one area; other areas highlight the always-popular warbird aircraft, which are former military aircraft now privately owned. There are also areas for ultralights, aerobatic aircraft, seaplanes, rotorcraft and more. One of the largest groups are the home-built aircraft, the genesis of EAA; nearly 1,000 of these aircraft are featured each year.

In addition to its displays and demonstrations of aircraft, the EAA AirVenture has an educational facet. More than 500 forums offer knowledge in nearly every aspect of aviation. Continuing workshops offer hands-on instruction on the basics of aviation construction and maintenance.

But perhaps the hallmark of the EAA AirVenture is the hospitality and commitment of the Oshkosh residents, who volunteer their time in the hundreds of tasks that must be done during the event, and many of whom open their homes to AirVenture visitors. The city "rolls out the red carpet," annually staging an open-air breakfast for thousands of people in downtown Oshkosh.

The project is documented with text, a video tape, 12 color slides, an official program from the 1999 event, and background information on the EAA.

Originally submitted by: Thomas E. Petri,Representative (6th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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