EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022 Was Wonderfully Overwhelming

Some of the highlights of EAA AirVenture 2022. (All images: Author)

Oshkosh offers something for everyone, be it: general aviation, warbirds, vintage aircraft and modern military aviation.

What exactly is AirVenture? Simply put, it is the world’s largest air show, which is organized by the Experimental Aircraft Association, (EAA). The organization traces its roots to 1953 and was centered around aviation enthusiasts who built their own aircraft. Such aircraft fall legally under the “experimental” category as per U.S. government regulation, thus the “E” in EAA.

The latest show took place between July 25 and 31, 2022, and was held at Wittman Regional Airport, located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, U.S. The week-long celebration of all things aviation has grown over the decades and this year’s attendance was the largest ever with over 650,000 people taking part.

The weather was absolutely perfect with no rain whatsoever, moderate temperatures, and nice puffy clouds offering the perfect background for photography.

United States Air Force Heritage Flight consisting of a F-35A Lighting II in formation with three P-51 Mustangs.

Officially named the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, most people simply refer to it as Oshkosh, or just KOSH, which is the airport’s ICAO location indicator. In the end you can it as an annual pilgrimage to aviation Mecca, for the general aviation crowd. At Wittman alone there were 18,684 aircraft operations from July 21-31, making it temporarily the busiest airport in the world.

Ford Trimotor taxing out with another load of lucky passengers

This high volume of activity is partially accomplished by having up to four aircraft land on the main runway simultaneously. There are four brightly colored circles painted on the runway, and incoming aircraft are instructed to land on a specific colored circle.

MiG-17 thrashes it during an unlimited acrobatic display.

Oshkosh is not the Pairs Air Show nor Farnborough, where billions of dollars in civilian and military sales are proclaimed. Oshkosh is centered around the general aviation community with thousands of pilots and their families flying their personal aircraft to the show. It is about community, general aviation business, plus the added fun of a huge air show with the associated civilian, military and warbirds performing daily.

Douglas C-47s and DC-3 just after sunrise.

An event as large as Oshkosh is made possible by over 5,000 volunteers. The air show is also a convention with 803 commercial exhibitors present. There were in excess of 1,400 forums, workshops and industry presentations held throughout the show.

And it’s also an event to promote the private Polaris Dawn mission on a SpaceX Dragon capsule, as done by Commander and billionaire tech entrepreneur Jared Isaacman with his MiG-29 that was definitively one of the highlights of the flying displays.

Camping at Oshkosh is a tradition for many. An estimated 40,000 visitors pitching their tents under their aircraft’s wing or at designated camps sites on the airport’s grounds.

Camping under the wing of your Beechcraft Model 18 complete with towels hung to dry.

Over the years EAA and AirVenture has evolved beyond its original roots of just the homebuilt aircraft culture. The show also highlights: ultralights, acrobatics, vintage aircraft, and warbird communities. Each of these categories are represented with well organized groups, under the EAA. In addition, the show boasts an impressive showing of modern military aircraft as well as commercial airliners, with daily flights and static aircraft on display.

North American B-25 Mitchell “Panchito” at dawn’s early light.

Oshkosh is much more than just the air show, it is a happening. Indeed AirVenture means many different things to those attending: some people may be more interested in taking part in workshops so that they can build their own planes at home; others fly in to meet old friends and interact with others in their own community.

Just a normal Oshkosh experience of three P-51 Mustangs taxing by for their morning flight.

The photos in this post will give you just an idea about the variety of aircraft that took part in this year’s EAA AirVenture airshow. It is definitely a bucket list item to check off: if you are an aviation geek, you will not be disappointed.

Lockheed U-2S “Dragon Lady”, from the 9th Reconnaissance Wing, Beale Air Force Base, making a low level pass.
About Randy Jennings
Randy Jennings is the proud son of combat WWII Mustang pilot, Warner Jennings. From birth, he has been obsessed by all things aviation; past, present and future. As a photojournalist, he has covered aviation events in the United States and Europe. He lives in the Washington DC region with his beautiful wife and rambunctious daughter.