Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Aero Experience at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019: Around the Grounds - A Whirlwind Tour

The Aero Experience coverage of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019, sponsored by Elite Aviation, continues with a whirlwind tour of the main event grounds. In this edition, we take a look at the general layout of the public areas (more detail on each to come later) to show where most of the week's outdoor activities were held. Other areas, such as Pioneer airport, the EAA Aviation Museum, the Seaplane Base, exhibitors and peripheral locations will be included in their own series of posts. We have also included the more mundane but important observations to round out the experience.

The Brown Arch

The "Brown Arch" has been a staple of the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh experience since 1971, the year following the move to the current event location. Just as the St. Louis Gateway Arch serves the "Gateway to the West," the Brown Arch serves as the "Gateway to Aviation" and a standard meeting place for visitors. The Brown Arch is also a place for memorial stones, some of which are shown here. This year, the Brown Arch hosted a display of aircraft commemorating the 50 Years In Oshkosh theme for 2019. It also served as a backdrop for a kickoff interview with EAA CEO and Board Chairman Jack Pelton and framed the daily airshows.

Main Gate and Transportation 

The EAA AirVenture Oshkosh grounds are spread out behind the north-south runway airshow crowd line and along the major byways of the airport. The main gate is located to the west, where the roads intersect with Celebration Way. It has a unique arrangement, along with a T-33 jet on display. Just within the gate is the bus stop and golf cart stand. The control tower looms straight ahead, and the nearby tram station is your first step toward getting to your destination.

Boeing Plaza

Boeing Plaza is the main aircraft display area, center stage for events and general orientation point to the grounds. Throughout the week, aircraft are rotated in and out as they are available, and even during the day others may be added for special displays. We will cover specific aircraft in future posts, so here we show the general layout and arriving aircraft being positioned by the ground crews. Here we also see some scooter drivers being waves through!


The daily airshows (with Wednesday and Saturday night shows) were a main attraction to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019. The airshow performers are household names to aviation enthusiasts, and attract the general pubic by the hundreds of thousands over the week. We will feature each performer in future posts, so here is an overview of the crowds as they gathered for the day and Saturday night airshows. You can see the progress as the people gather, having laid out their folding chairs in advance. Also included is a "scooter guy" prowling the crowd line for any transgressors! We also include your authors, poking out from the crowd and on the photo stand.


Homebuilt Area

Homebuilt aircraft are what the EAA is all about, and they have their own parking and display area. There are also forums and workshops addressing aircraft building, maintenance and regulatory topics. Throughout the week, programs were held there and they will be included in upcoming posts. Here we show the Homebuilt Headquarters before opening day, a sample of homebuilt (experimental) aircraft, and some forums and workshops we visited.


Ultralight Area

On the south end of the airport, the ultralights had their own airfield and marketplace area. During the morning and evening hours, one could observe all manner of ultralight, light sport and parasail aircraft flying in that corner of the grounds. Here we show activity in the marketplace and in the air.  

Vintage Area

The Vintage Area hosted a variety of aircraft built mostly before 1970, but there was a mix of types in the parking area that are still popular general aviation models. The Vintage Red Barn held its Grand Reopening this year, and daily programs were held in the nearby display area. The big story of the first few days was the effect of torrential rains that caused local flooding, especially in the Vintage Area parking field. Here we tour the grounds and show the remaining water during the first weekend before opening day.

Warbirds Area

The Warbirds Area is a wonderland of former military aircraft that currently live on as civilian-owned and operated warbirds. Many are from the World War II era, but there are a growing number of aircraft, including jets, from the Korean War, Vietnam War and Cold War periods. Some flew during the day and in the airshows, so there was always activity in the Warbird Area. There are far too many to include even in a survey, so here we have some views of the facilities and the apron as they appeared in the first few days of our visit. 

 We have barely begun to report on America's largest aviation event, and we will continue our signature year-round coverage in the months ahead. Check back frequently for more posts in this series and other Midwest Aviation stories! 

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