Three biggest shows of the year aren’t happening due to COVID-19.
Many aviation enthusiasts survive the doldrums of winter by anticipating the buzz of airshow season. We roll into the season with Sun ‘n Fun in Lakeland, Florida, which is the second-largest event of its kind in the world.
Well, it was initially postponed, from April to May, this year – need I mention why? And then – it was cancelled. Cancel Sun ‘n Fun!? Blasphemy!
Oshkosh b’gone too
So, airshow fans got through the lock-down anticipating AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI, the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) 68th annual event. The fly-in convention was scheduled for July 20-26 at Wittman Regional Airport.
EAA CEO and Chairman Jack Pelton said the state’s stay at home order prevented the organization from starting the grounds preparation. “We’re so dependent on 5,000 volunteers to show up, along with all of the exhibitors, vendors and supporters,” he said. “We weren’t going to have the resources to reschedule.”
Pelton also stated: “There is no way to describe the disappointment I feel for everyone who sees AirVenture as aviation’s family reunion each year. You can be assured that EAA is already eagerly looking forward to gathering along the AirVenture flightline on July 26 through August 1 in 2021.
Reno canx’d as well.
Reno Air Race pilot and enthusiast Dr. Arnold Angelici explains his disappointment over the cancellation of the September event. He describes how he will miss the gathering, not only for the thrill of racing, but for “the ten-day long family reunion” of fellow pilots, pit crews and fans.
Angelici owns a 1943 North American C-model T-6, “Go Ask Alice”, that he planned to race in the Legacy class in the fall. This would have been his inaugural outing with his own airplane; he has previously crewed with team Radial Velocity. Angelici describes the great amount of preparation each pilot and team put forth to participate in the races each year, beginning with extensive flight training. In addition to the required Pylon Racing School, he attends various formation flying clinics. The first one of the year – canceled. However, he plans to attend an upcoming North American Trainer Association (NATA) formation clinic in Dubuque, IA in July.
Given that his plane is based in Thomaston, GA, these preparatory events require considerable planning, travel and expense – not to mention unfettered dedication for the love of flying. To cancel an entire season of aviation events – the majors listed here, but also, the smaller regional shows – is nearly unfathomable. However, aviators are passionate people – and I have faith that will keep ‘em coming back, hopefully stronger and more united than ever – in ’21. ‘Til we meet again, airshow fans — hopefully beneath the skies that ring of the radial or the rip of a powerful aerobatic performer, check out this beautiful video from Flying Legends.