Regardless of whether or not it is a self-authored sobriquet, the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual AirVenture held in Oshkosh, Wis. truly is the “world’s greatest aviation celebration,” and NAAA representatives exhibiting from July 25-31 and can attest to this slogan.
“More than 10,000 airplanes [and] probably more than a half million” people were at the event according to Dick Knapinski, spokesperson for EAA. This included over 1,000 forums on aviation topics and 800 exhibitors including NAAA. NAAA had three booth spaces and actively recruited pilots or pilots-in-training with a genuine interest in pursuing an ag pilot career. It was a successful venture for NAAA. A total of 155 prospective ag pilot contacts were made at the event that NAAA will be following up with to further nurture their interest in the agricultural aviation industry. NAAA’s booths were quite a draw. They included an Air Tractor 802A, Thrush’s Dual Cockpit 510G and the ag flying school Flying Tigers Aviation had their flight simulator for attendees to feel what it’s like to fly an ag plane.
In addition to recruiting, NAAA also promoted the importance of agricultural aviation to food, fiber and bio-fuel production as well as to forestry and public health protection by distributing its “Flying for Your Food,” brochure. The industry’s importance and career opportunities were also promoted quite well by Thrush’s Vice President Eric Rojeck on EAA radio 96.5 FM / 1210 AM in Oshkosh, WI. Listen to full interview here.
Many NAAA members contributed important manpower to equip and staff the NAAA booth at EAA AirVenture, particularly Air Tractor, Thrush and Flying Tiger, also NAAA President Brenda Watts and Secretary Graham Lavender, Transland’s Anthonie York, and Lane Aviation’s Logan Lane. All NAAA representatives were awed by the attendance and well-roundedness of aviation present at AirVenture, whether it was the WWII era, four-engined cargo transport seaplane the Martin Mars; Lockheed’s large military transport aircraft the C-5 Galaxy; or the Canadian Forces 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, the Snowbirds. AirVenture is the pièce de résistance of aviation events and it is likely NAAA will have an annual presence at the event to continue to recruit the next, great generation of ag pilots.