Goodbye Oshkosh!



Well, that about wraps up Kitplanes coverage of AirVenture 2016 here in beautiful Oshkosh, Wisconsin. As our various correspondents mount their trusty steeds and head for the four corners of the continent, they take with them fond memories of another hectic and full week of aviation. Oshkosh is allegedly about airplanes, but the longer one attends, the more they come to realize that as important as the airplanes, avionics, and engines might be – the real treasure of the EAA’s annual convention is the people.

While we all know a few bad apples, by and large, aviation people are – as a whole – a great group of folks. I like to believe it’s because aviation is based on trust and integrity – pilots, mechanics, designers, and builders have to be true to their word or people are going to die. That trust stems from honesty, and that honesty rings true in everything we do – including being genuinely happy to see one another year after year. We visit the same haunts, we enjoy the same highlights – and we help each other whenever we can.

A full week at Oshkosh presents one with as wide a variety of people as it does weather, food, and airplanes. We see people come, stay a few days, then leave – to be replaced by new friends and different airplanes. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life. A week of Wisconsin weather is almost guaranteed to present you with a few days of hot and humid, a couple of days with a little rain, and a couple of days with cool breezes, and 2016 was no exception. We escaped any severe storms, but there was opportunity to get soaked – and then to dry out again. The week started sticky, but ended up cool – and that’s a nice balance.

Airplanes of all shapes and sizes showed themselves, both old and new. We were especially excited to see several knew designs for kit aircraft appear in various states of completion. Our visits with vendors helped to create a list of projects to follow and airplanes we hope to fly this year – and we promise to give you our honest thoughts on them as we get a chance to try them out. The same is true for avionics and powerplants – the prospect for a full year of new product coverage is good!

Se we’ll sign off for now, and leave you with the thought that Airventure will come again next July, as sure as the sun will continue to shine and the corn will ripen here in Oshkosh!

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Paul Dye
Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.


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