The COVID-19 pandemic prevented aviation fans from gathering in Oshkosh to enjoy the Experimental Aircraft Association annual AirVenture fly-in. In response, EAA launched the inaugural Spirit of Aviation Week July 21-25, delighting fans across the country and worldwide.
Billed as “five days of flying engagement and fun”, this virtual event included streaming and on-demand content and a virtual mall for exhibitors typically found at Oshkosh.
EAA’s Spirit of Aviation Week utilized three live streams and developed 262 pieces of content. More than 266,000 people connected via EAA.org and EAAtogether.org for the streaming and on-demand content, with nearly 800,000 page views and almost 1.6 million video viewing minutes. Social media outreach totaled 4.5 million, with 827,000 video views throughout the week.
As well, more than 15,000 people attended the 50+ forums.
AirVenture’s 800 exhibitors welcomed shoppers from around the world through the virtual expo, with more than 200 special events from exhibitors and more than 80 show specials for attendees.
Most importantly, the event fostered a sense of community and built anticipation for an “unforgettable” aviation reunion at Oshkosh in 2021. The 68th EAA fly-in convention is scheduled for July 26-August 1, 2021.
Aviation is a significant part of Wisconsin history – from the first flight in 1909 to EAA’s founding in 1953 – and its economy.
Wisconsin has eight commercial airports and 125 diverse general aviation public-use airports that enhance Wisconsin communities’ economic vitality. And AirVenture is a boon to the five counties in the Oshkosh region (Winnebago, Outagamie, Fond du Lac, Calumet, and Brown), generating an estimated $170 million economic impact in 2019.
Aviation in Wisconsin and around the globe may have taken a hit with the COVID-19 pandemic, but look to the skies for it to come soaring back.