EAA Cancels AirVenture Oshkosh 2020 Due To Pandemic Fallout

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

The Experimental Aircraft Association has canceled EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in Wisconsin, scheduled for July 20-26, due to the fallout and uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. 

AirVenture draws roughly 600,000 attendees for the weeklong event. Organizers cannot begin to prepare the site, and no one knows what health guidelines will be in place in Wisconsin in July, said Jack Pelton, EAA CEO and chairman of the board. 

Now is the time that volunteers would descend on Oshkosh to form work parties and set up tents and infrastructure. Staff would be printing wristbands, campers’ guides, programs and other information as execution begins, Pelton said. 

“Because of circumstances beyond our control, none of this can happen now,” he said. “As your leader, I see no clear path to meet our own requirements to ensure the health and safety expectations our organization demands for our employees, members, volunteers, exhibitors and attendees. That includes sanitization, separation and personal protection requirements.”

While it makes preparation for the event a scheduling problem, the bigger issue is the uncertainty of predicting health guidelines in July, Pelton said. Wisconsin has not yet begun Phase 1 of a three-phase approach of recommended procedures. Phase 3 will allow for mass gatherings with restrictions. The state is under a stay-at-home order through May 26. 

“My conclusion is, like in any good flight planning, don’t take the risk,” Pelton said. “Together, we can come back stronger, safer and ready for AirVenture 2021 to create a memorable world-class event. 


Molly McMillin

Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.