OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — Hundreds of construction vehicles and thousands of workers packed the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) grounds this week, to prepare for the thousands of planes and hundreds of thousands of people expected to attend AirVenture next week.
David Leiting manages EAA's Eagles program and says "The week leading up to AirVenture is sometimes crazier than the week of." He adds that a group of volunteers has been staying on-site for about a month, setting up tents, exhibits, and all the infrastructure needed to run the airshow smoothly.
“Really by the time the convention rolls around we’ve got about five, 6,000 volunteers helping put everything together, which is pretty incredible," he said.
EAA Dick Knapinski says that all that hard work goes to supporting the massive crowds expected at the airshow.
“Last year we had a total attendance of about 650,000," he explained, "ticket sales early right now seem to indicate around that number again…we’ll probably get around 8,000 airplanes here at Wittman regional airport.”
Knapinski says this year marks both EAA and AirVenture's 70th Anniversary and says a lot of events will be held to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of U.S. active combat in the Vietnam War. He says he's most excited to see a group of WWII-era planes though, and hear about the future of space exploration.
“A few things I’m looking forward to is the reunion of the Corsairs…there are about 25 of them flying in North America…we hope to have as many as 14 of them here…" explained Knapinski, "NASA is here in a big way, not only with talking about the Apollo program of the past but the Artemis Program of the future, sending people back to the moon.”
AirVenture officially kicks off July 24 and runs through July 30.