features Photo feature: EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022

This year's EAA AirVenture Oshkosh was worthy of the tagline “Unlike Anything Else.”
Avatar for Bradley Wentzel By Bradley Wentzel | August 12, 2022

Estimated reading time 7 minutes, 3 seconds.

After years of restricted events around the globe, the 2022 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh airshow, held from July 25 to 31 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, did not disappoint. With near-perfect weather for the 10,000+ aircraft that flew in to Wittman Regional Airport and other airports nearby, this year’s event was “unlike anything else,” according to the Experimental Aircraft Association. At Wittman airport alone, there were 18,684 aircraft operations in the 11-day period from July 21 to 31. A total of 3,226 show planes were registered, including vintages, homebuilts, warbirds, ultralights, seaplanes, rotorcraft, and aerobatic aircraft.

Most notable was the attendance, which broke records with over 650,000 attendees from 93 countries, in addition to the 5,000 volunteers who worked tirelessly each day from sunrise until long after sunset.

There was plenty to see this year both on the show grounds and in the sky, including some firsts for AirVenture. One of those firsts occurred when Rod Lewis and the Lewis Air Legends crew brought two F7F Tigercats, an F8F Bearcat, an F4F Wildcat, and a B-25 to the show. The team partnered with the Fagen Fighters WWII Museum, which brought its F6F Hellcat to complete a four-ship sortie for the “Year of the Cat” flight during the AirVenture airshow. This was followed with aerobatic performances by Stewart Dawson in the Tigercat and Gordon Richardson in the Bearcat.

The Grumman “Flight of the Cats” was one of the highlights of the week. In the air starting clockwise from the lower right: F4F Wildcat, F6F Hellcat, F7F Tigercat, and F8F Bearcat. Joe Letourneau Photo

The Polaris Dawn crew also marked an AirVenture first when they arrived with their MiG-29, wowing the crowds. The crew performed in the airshow with a unique sortie consisting of the MiG, two Alpha Jets, and three L-39s — all of which were painted in a strikingly modern grey, white, and black camouflage scheme.

When attendees weren’t looking to the sky, they may have found themselves in an endless sea of exhibitor booths filled with some of the latest industry technology. But aside from the beautiful aircraft and innovative technology on display, one of the best parts about AirVenture is the people.

The camaraderie at AirVenture is truly unique; one minute you’re watching F-35 Demo Pilot Kristin “Beo” Wolfe perform an eardrum-rattling performance, and the next, you find yourself pulling up a chair alongside new friends to enjoy the rest of the show. It’s a great reminder that the foundation of the aviation industry is the people that it’s made up of.

Next year’s event is sure to be just as exciting, as the EAA will be celebrating its 70th anniversary. See you in 2023!

Fifty Van’s RV aircraft make up the largest formation flight of the 2022 AirVenture airshow, all to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Richard “Van” VanGrunsven’s vision of an affordable, easy to assemble, homebuilt aircraft. To date, more than 11,000 RVs have been built and flown. Joe Letourneau Photo
Douglas C-47s “Miss Virginia” and “Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber” fly the Oshkosh circuit during the warbird portion of the AirVenture airshow held every afternoon throughout the week. Joe Letourneau Photo
One of only two B-29 Superfortress aircraft still flying. This B-29, “Doc,” was built in 1944 and never saw combat in the Second World War. It was recovered from the desert where it was used for missile target practice, and restoration took over a decade. Doc now resides in Witchita, Kansas, and is cared for by the nonprofit “Friends of Doc.” Joe Letourneau Photo
Matt Younkin cranks his 1943 Beech 18 “Twin Beech” through the skies while copious amounts of white smoke billows from the aircraft’s Pratt and Whitney R-985 radial engines. Joe Letourneau Photo
Red Bull pilot Kirby Chambliss cranks his Edge 540 through a tight reversal. Chambliss has flown in numerous Red Bull Air Races, and practices daily at his home and private airstrip in Arizona. Joe Letourneau Photo
Maj Kristin “Beo” Wolfe takes to the sky with 43,000 lbs of thrust, rattling the flight line. “Beo” is in her third season as the F-35 Demo Pilot. Joe Letourneau Photo
A morning sortie on Day 3 of AirVenture 2022 with Lewis Air Legends and Breitling, featuring two F7F Tigercats and four P-51 Mustangs. Bradley Wentzel Photo
A trio of P-51D Mustangs and the USAF F-35A Demo form up for the USAF “Heritage Flight.” These flights have been taking place for over 20 years and aim to serve as a living memorial to those who are and have served. Joe Letourneau Photo
Canadian airshow performer Kyle Fowler with Go EZ Aerobatics debuted not just an AirVenture first, but the world’s first Lumilor aircraft. Lumilor is an electroluminescent lighting system available as paint or vinyl that can illuminate any product without changing its form or function. Art Craft Paint Inc. did an awesome job on Kyle’s EZ, pictured here. Nash Moreno Photo
Flying the 1956 de Havilland Super Chipmunk “GhostWriter,” Nathan Hammond had the crowds in awe as pyrotechnics, fireworks, smoke, and superb flying combined to produce an amazing display. Hammond may have also been the busiest pilot at AirVenture, sky writing messages and emojis high above the show grounds in the early mornings and evenings. Joe Letourneau Photo

See more fantastic photos from this year’s AirVenture in the August/September issue of Skies!

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