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EAA attendees reflect on the 70th anniversary

"This is the aviation's version of Mecca"
E.A.A. attendees reflect on the 70th anniversary
Posted at 6:18 PM, Jul 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-30 19:28:12-04

OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — Sunday marked the end of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh’s 70th anniversary.

"This is the only place where I can stand to be around this many people for this long and enjoy it this much. That speaks volumes," said Martin Filiatrault.

Filiatrault attended EAA for his thirteenth year, and flew himself here, for the second time.

"There's nothing like that first time of flying in here and having them do the song for you at home-built camping registration," said Filiatrault.

Martin flew two-and-a-half hours from Pontiac, Mich., to attend the event and he said the community surrounding aviation is the best part.

"Hanging out here at the home-built camping pavilion. It's just a wonderful place to be,” said Filiatrault.

CEO and chairman of EAA Jack Pelton says this year had great attendance and they predict this year’s numbers will be on par with or better than last year’s 650,000. They also tied their own record of having 93 different countries present.

One of those countries is Canada; the Stinnes family flew in from Toronto for the event.

Derek Stinnes has been attending EAA since 1985.

"EAA is always about the people. It's just bringing this many pilots together. It just - it's a fantastic experience and it's pretty much the only place in the world you can do it," said Stinnes.

Stinnes, his wife, and two sons flew three hours from Canada in their home-built RV-10.

Having a place to speak about aviation with other passionate individuals makes the travel worth it.

"This is the aviation's version of Mecca. It's someplace that everybody's got to go every once a year to find all the people who love the same things you do," said Stinnes.

Both Stinnes and Filiatrault said they plan to continue visiting EAA for years to come.