Being woken up by a formation of P51 Mustangs is one of the most pleasant ways to wake up. A morning patrol is launched every morning and they make their rounds. Just as well we were awoken by P51's and not a continuation of the ferocious storm that swept through the area last night. Luckily all the tents and facilities around the campground escaped mostly unscathed.
As is tradition on a Friday, International Parade Day at EAA Airventure, the entire South African camp got dressed in their Air Adventure Tours shirt and cap (or hat) for the customary group photo and parade later the morning.
The group would all join later in the day for an international parade. In the interim, I realized a dream of my own. Gary and Vanda from Bathawk USA kindly invited me to participate in an air-to-air photoshoot over the Wisconsin countryside. I was certainly not going to pass up this very big opportunity. I met with Gary and Vanda at the Ultralight field, where I was going to be flown by Sean Cronin of Silver Creek. Incidentally Sean has over 2000 hours on Bathawk aircraft alone flying in both his personal capacity as well as being a sought-after instructor. As we headed Southwest out of Oshkosh the rolling green countryside revealed itself. What else but an open cockpit aircraft could give this sense of freedom in warm summer weather? It was thoroughly enjoyable!
After the excitement of the flight, we had to return to the international visitors tent at EAA Airventure where one could see the number of visitors from that travel from all over the globe to this event. A total of 79 countries are represented with a visitor total of 1993 an increase of 517 from 2022. These are visitors that register their presence in the international tent during the week.
Canada took first position with 351 visitors, Australia took second position with 227 registered visitors, South Africa took third place with 189 visitors. From the international tent, the country representatives formed up behind their flag bearer and marched to the show centre building on the flightline. Honourable mention must go to the South African flag bearer, Karl Jensen, who I have had the privilege of spending some time with this week. He can only be described as a walking talking aviation encyclopaedia, his aviation knowledge is something to behold!
The afternoon airshow was filled with all kinds of exciting aircraft. The variety of aircraft gathered at EAA Airventure Oshkosh is astounding! When you visit, you will certainly find an aircraft or airshow act that you will enjoy.
Tomorrow is Saturday and we can look forward to another spectacular airshow. I am also going to take a trip to the seaplane base which is always a highlight of the week! Be sure to check back tomorrow at www.pilotspost.co.za for my Saturday report at EAA Airventure along with the Air Adventures team. Book your space for next year NOW! www.airadventure.co.za