August 1, 2013
The sad reality is that I think there is little to debate, interest in airshows is in fact declining. There is a lengthy list of reasons that may contribute to that including a decline in the pilot population, weak economy and the grounding of military demonstration teams as a result of sequestration to name a few.
A source I often look to when trying to establish a trend is Google Trends. Sadly, as you can see from the charts below there is an indisputable decline in interest for airshows, if search traffic is used as an indicator.
AirVenture, America's largest annual gathering of aviation enthusiasts, widely considered the largest airshow in the county, has seen modest declines if you rely on their data which shows a 12% decline from 2009 (578,000 attendees) to 2012 (508,000). However, the picture is more bleak when you look at the Google Trend which shows a peak in July 2006 declining to nearly half the search volume of 2006 in 2012. With Airventure 2013 closing in a just a couple of days it is unlikely that enough searches will come in during the final days to improve the 2013 trend. As Airventure is more about experimental aircraft and general aviation it should be of note that the decrease in interest in the show this year is likely not drastically effected by sequestration.
The Chicago Air & Water Show which is just around the corner will surely suffer serious interest and attendance declines without the Thunderbirds headlining this year. The Google Trend shows that current interest is below where it was just five years ago. I think this show which historically relied heavily on military demonstrations will be adversely effected by sequestration. It will be very interesting to come back to this report in a few weeks to see what the 2013 search volume was like for the Chicago Air and Water Show.
I think this data clearly shows that interest in airshows is declining. The questions is what if anything can be done about it?
July 27, 2009
Pilots and aviation enthusiasts from all over the world have once again begun to converge on Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin for AirVenture, the annual celebration of aviation. This event helps to stoke the fire of enthusiasm for aviation dreamers. I vividly remember attending this event and dreaming of coming back some day as a pilot. This week, I will be making my third visit to AirVenture since realizing my dream. On Saturday I will celebrate the five year anniversary of earning my Pilot's License in the best way possible: surrounded by fellow pilots and aviation enthusiasts at Oshkosh.
One of the biggest challenges for a visit to AirVenture is planning your days. I will have little more than two days at this event and will do my best to fit all I can during my time there. The AirVenture website offers a nice planning tool that allows you to search the vast list of activities and meetings and filter them by your own preferences. You can save and print your personalized itinerary. Sadly, they have not figured out a solution to clone speakers or attendees so I am going to have to miss some exciting events to participate in others.
Here are just a few of the events, meetings or sights I plan to enjoy during my visit to AirVenture.
- Aviation Social Media Meetup hosted by the folks at MyTransponder
- Night Flying presented by Max Trescott
- US Airways 1549 presented by Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and his crew
- The EAA Runway 5K
- Screening on the A Pilot's Story Documentary
- Screening of the FlyAbout documentary
- Walking the flightline, exhibit booths and enjoying the flight performances
July 29, 2008
This past weekend I made a whirlwind visit to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh. I packed as much as I could into my twenty-four hours at the show. I intend to write more about the things I saw and experienced at AirVenture in the coming days. In the meantime I wanted to share an unexpected highlight, and also share a of my photos for those not able to make it to this years event.
I have attended AirVenture several times in the past. Though, I have never departed from the main event at Wittman Regional Airport to visit the Seaplanes. This year after checking out the few seaplanes that landed at the airport I decided to take the short bus ride to lagoon in the western shore of Lake Winnebago to check out the seaplanes. The moment I arrived I was so glad I made the trip. After leaving Wittman with the huge crowds and non-stop activity it was nice to take a quiet stroll down a wood-chipped path that opened up to a beautiful lagoon that serves as a the EAA AirVenture Seaplane Base.
For three dollars you can take a 15 minute pontoon boat ride through the lagoon giving you a chance to view the planes up-close. My pontoon boat captain had flown down from Canada earlier this week in his seaplane and enjoyed talking with us about all the planes in the cove.
So if you are are at Oshkosh or planning to make the pilgrimage later this week then take an hour or two to re-charge your batteries with a visit to the EAA AirVenture Seaplane Base.
Speaking of seaplanes, later in the day while walking through the exhibit hall I met George Erickson, author of True North. In his book he writes about his experiences flying through the Alaska, the Yukon and Northwest Territories in a Piper PA-11 Seaplane. After a brief conversation with him I knew I had to read his book. I look forward to cracking it open this evening.
I have uploaded a variety of my photos from my trip to Oshkosh including a few photos of the Seaplane base.
July 27, 2008
It is that time of year again where pilots from around the world descend on an airport in central Wisconsin for a week long celebration of Aviation that is EAA AirVenture. Thousands of planes descend on Oshkosh making it the busiest airport in the world for a few days. For aviation enthusiasts this is an event you need to attend this event once in your life. I was unable to attend last year but had a great time at AirVenture in 2006.
I will be participating in the 2008 Aviation Blogger Fest at 4pm on Monday. Fellow blogger, Rob Mark of Jetwhine, has organized an event specifically for aviation bloggers. I am looking forward to meeting some of the bloggers I interact with online but have yet to meet in person.
I will post a few short updates through Twitter (MyFlightBlog) while in Oshkosh and then post a summary later in the week on MyFlightBlog.