The North American P-51 Mustang
P-51 Mustang at Oshkosh 2004
Airventure 2004 Home
story and photography by Curtis Fowles

The Experimental Aircraft Association Airventure 2004. The world's largest airshow. Stretching from Tuesday to Sunday (in 2005 from Monday to Sunday) everything an aviation enthusiasts would crave can be found here. Yes, even an air race event. Wet aircraft, biplanes, vintage, warbirds, jets, homebuilts, ultralights, military aircraft. Displays, forums, vendors and plenty of food can be found easily. You had better be in decent shape and bring some comfy shoes, because you will put some miles on you feet every day.

There is plenty of flying during the day. There is the big airshow for those who like to see some twisting, turning and fliping small monoplanes and biplanes. There is a big warbird flight during the afternoon. A B-17 and a Ford Tri-motor were giving rides and taking off and landing at different times during the day.

The P-51s are next to the warbird parking. The warbird area is near the intersection of the two main runways and the P-51 area is a little further away from the main taxiway. There is a taxiway that connects the P-51 parking to the main taxiway and is hot and cold during the day. It is closed during operation of P-51s, but is open for foot traffic otherwise. Closest to the main taxiway for the warbirds are the L-39s and the T-28s. Next to them are the navy cats, WWII fighters and attack aircraft. Also in this area was the BF109, the Spitfire and other WWII warbirds. Sometimes they park a few P-40s over with the P-51s. Go north and you find all the T-6s, T-34s and other trainers.

Further towards town and the freeway from the warbird area is the parking for fly-in aircraft. There are plenty of them. You can browse through enroute to a nice place to watch the warbirds taxi by during the afternoon. Again, it is a walk from the warbird parking. Be prepared to walk a fair amount during the day if you like to see a lot. Depending on what the wind is doing, the warbirds could be taxiing somewhere else.

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From the P-51 area, walking to the show center will be 1/2 mile or so. If you walk fast like me (about 3-4 mph), you still have a ten minute walk. If you do not want to walk much, you can see the show from the warbird area. During the week you don't have to dodge a large amount of foot traffic, but watch for cars and golf cart type things. They do have a shuttle that runs down the road that you can take if you get a little tired of walking.

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There is a full list of all the forums offered during the week of Airventure. Many types of aviation forums can be attended. There are also big names to go see like Gen. Yeager and Col. "Bud" Anderson. Celebs like are there because of there aviation side and their people draw.

If you have not been able to attend, you must make it at least once in your lifetime. Sometimes, all the people and the trouble finding good, reasonable-priced hotel rooms is difficult, many think it is too much trouble. Finding a good place to stay at a fair price is hard, but I had no (major) trouble with stuff like getting food or getting around with all the traffic. The event has been on for a long time and the people at EAA Airventure know how to handle the crowds.

As a media pass holder, I was treated very well and have no complaints. The weather was good, ok, bad, and all in the same day. Lots of little showers, most lasting a short time. One day it was grey all day with off/on drizzle and a few showers. Stick around the bomber area if the rain is coming. Lots of covered ground to get out of the wet.

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