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Sat, Jul 27, 2013

Don't Look Now, But It's Time For Oshkosh

The ANN Team Is Geared Up And Ready To Go

In case you hadn't heard, aviation’s crown jewel will get underway Monday. But ANN has had people on the ground at Wittman Regional Airport for more than a week getting ready to bring you great coverage of the show.

Oshkosh may feel a little different this year. While the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds have not recently been part of the show, there has been a lot of military hardware on display. Because of sequestration, it’s a pretty fair bet that the active-duty military airplanes won't be in attendance at the show in 2013, and the sound of jets flying over the airport will not be as pronounced as it has been in years past, particularly during the afternoon air shows.

Perhaps the most significant addition for ANN this year is the establishment of a long-term presence at Wittman Regional Airport. We've purchased a portable building and have gotten the blessing of EAA to make it our permanent home at the airport. We'll still be in our normal spot near the AirVenture Press HQ, putting us in a central location for all the activities that go on during the week. Consider this an open invitation for you to stop by and see our new digs. Visitors are always welcome.

Once again this year, we'll be offering a daily video recap of AirVenture on Airborne. Our extensive team of journalists, videographers, and stringers will be combing the grounds for the most interesting and fun stories from the show each day, and host Ashley Hale will assemble those into a nightly program giving you all the highlights of the show from new product introductions to the daily air show. If you're not able to come to Oshkosh, Airborne will be the next best thing to being there.

Of course, AirVenture is often the venue for GA and sport aviation companies to roll out their latest innovations. We have assembled a seasoned team of volunteers (and Heaven help them) that will attend every major news briefing at the show so that you can stay up to date on the latest and greatest the industry has to offer. Those stories will all appear right here, with major announcements covered by Aero-TV.

How can you help? Drop us a note letting us know what YOU think is important to the industry, and what you may be bringing to AirVenture this year, from an unusual or classic airplane to thoughts on aviation policy. We want to know what's on your mind, whether it’s thoughts on the FAA's instance that EAA cover the costs of ATC for the show to the future of GA and sport aviation.

At the same time, we will be working to bring you all of the latest product announcements and updates from the hundreds of exhibitors and participants at the show this year, we also want to be sure that you're informed of what's going on in three areas of aviation:

  • Innovation - Building a New and TRULY Fresh Future
  • Renewal - Remember Who and What Got Us Here
  • Activism - Rebuild the Aero-Community and Invigorate Them For The Challenges Ahead

You've probably already heard that there are several innovative aircraft that will be on display at Wittman Regional Airport this year, from new electric-powered ultralights to the Transition, which may be a solid step towards the "flying car" we've been talking about almost since 1903. But innovation happens in other arenas as well, from newer, lighter avionics that reduce cockpit workload in nearly every category of aircraft to testing underway by Piper for the use of 93UL auto fuel in its production airplanes. But the costs of entry are still high, and other barriers exist that threaten GA. To borrow a phrase from TSA (sorry Zoom), if you see something, say something ... to us. We'll be looking for the stories that will make a difference in getting aviation off to a bright future.

At the same time, we need to remember how we came to be where we are, and take the best the past and apply it to the future.

But perhaps most important is activism. The recent bullying ... we can't think of a better description ... of EAA by the FAA over ATC fees for AirVenture is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the challenges that face GA. How many smaller events will simply not be able to pay if the FAA comes just weeks before they open and present organizers with a bill and an ultimatum? Certification needs to be dealt with, and the recent passage by the U.S. House of the Small Airplane Revitalization Act is certainly a step in the right direction. But the U.S. Senate needs encouragement to pass the companion bill. Activism needs to be pursued every day of the year, not just during the week of Oshkosh, and when it comes to dealing with Washington, or state and local governments, many voices are heard far more loudly than a few. The attitude of "that's just the way it is" is one of defeat and failure, and those who will take the time and spend the money to travel to Wisconsin in the summer are certainly the front line troops in a movement to change that perception.

All that to say that we hope to be your voice in these important areas. Drop us a note with your ideas. We'll be offering Oshkosh attendees an opportunity to appear on Aero-TV in segments that will carry these important messages.

We seem to stand at another critical juncture for sport and general aviation. We know it can be better. We hope you'll help us make that goal a reality.

FMI: Let Us Know Your Thoughts

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