EAA Airventure is an annual aviation orgasmotron which sucks you in and, after a week, spits you out dazed and sated. It is big, it is brash, it is ALL AMERICAN. Tractors haul trailers crammed with sunburnt enthusiasts to and fro while a commentator strategically placed in the rear provides a running commentary on the passing delights ala MGM Studio Tour. Exotic aircraft types keep up a continual hum overhead while announcers whip up the crowds in a patriotic fervour. There are rows and rows of Mustangs, T6’s, DC3’s and…a Spitfire!!!

Not only that, the Kiwis have brought over my next favourite aircraft… a living breathing Mosquito. What a beautiful machine. I have only ever gazed longingly at the dusty wooden shape hanging from the roof of the South African Museum of Military History in Saxonwold, South Africa. Here it was, freshly painted with purring Merlins. Fantastic!

Photo by Colin Addis

If you can tear yourself away from the daily airshows and Shock and Awe, the real value of Oshkosh lies in its tutorial workshops and hundreds of small stalls. Here you find a wealth of knowledge just waiting to be shared.

The experience here has been amazing. The evening airshow and pyrotechnics is unique in the world.

Photo by Kieran Bell

Not least of all the owners of the visiting Spitfire were very interested in hearing about the HFS Spitfire project and requested additional information.

I also met up with Corjan, creator of Air Manager, in one of the stalls. Air Manager will be an essential link in the X-Plane 11 interface of the HFS Spitfire Simulator. Corjan is based in the Netherlands and we had a lovely chat in Dutch (sorry, couldn’t help myself, I am of Netherlands heritage πŸ™‚ What was very positive is that Corjan offered a 50% discount for commercial applications when applied to museums and educational institutions. This reduces the once off cost from Euro800 to Euro400 per licence.

Anyway, I have enjoyed my time here tremendously amongst my fellow South Africans. As per many times in the past, I understand we are the biggest international visitors group this year, again beating the closest competitor, the Aussies πŸ™‚

Plakkersfontein (squatters fountain), the South African camp at EAA Airventure
Oshkosh arrivals over 4 hours! (Note the Spitfire!)

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