The innovation area tents which will house new and interesting technology sit open to the elements most of the year.

There’s a countdown clock at EAA Headquarters, and today it showed just 87 days and some-odd hours until the start of AirVenture 2019. In the meantime, a tour of the grounds on the west side of Wittman Regional Airport shows nothing but… skeletons.

The vast open areas and vistas we see today will eventually become the teaming sea of people, tents, vendor booths – and airplanes – that we come to know every July. Until then, the skeletons remain, the structures that support the large tents that are put up and used once a year. Like contractors who leave their heavy equipment at the previous job until they have a new one to start (presumably to save on owning a storage yard), the companies that provide free-span “tents” for the Big Show leave the structural steel in place, and all they have to rig is the canvas.

Quick – if you get in line for lunch now, you wont have to wait so long for service!

Meanwhile it is fun to see the showplace stripped of all the view-blocking temporary buildings that make it look crowded (but in a good way) for that long week in mid-summer when it becomes the aviation Capital of the planet. You can now see all the way from the Homebuilder’s Hagar almost to Theater in the Woods with almost nothing in the way – especially since the old Federal Pavilion has been removed to provide new parking for aircraft kit vendors closer to show center. The Brown Arch still proclaims the year as 2018, but that will soon be changed – because as I have ben writing this in the museum lobby, that countdown clock has been inexorably continuing its countdown, even as the radio talks of one last April snowstorm on its way to southern Wisconsin.

It may seem early but… we’ll see you at the show!

The area that formerly housed the long-standing Federal Pavilion is being recycled for the homebuilding community!
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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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