All about airplanes

EAA AirVenture 2007

If you’ve got a future pilot in your house, or a kid in love with flight, there’s only one place to be in July: EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis.

The kid in love with flight in my house happens to be 46 years old. He’s spent years yearning for a trip to EAA. We finally managed it last summer.

The annual event, slated for July 23-29 this year, draws 10,000 aircraft, from high-tech military aircraft to homemade ultralights.

Our 10-year-old daughter was less than thrilled with the hours of walking around the hot airfield looking at the planes, but she perked up once the air show started. The show goes on for hours, with stunt pilots, fighter pilots, experimental aircraft and military monsters. Last year, we were awed by a staged reenactment of a World War II air battle, complete with bombs bursting on the ground. This year’s special feature: the military’s F-22 Raptor.

While you’re there, don’t miss the EAA AirVenture Museum. It’s got plenty to keep the 46-year-old airplane enthusiasts happy and a great hands-on kids’ section for everyone else.

If you go for the air show, plan to bring a blanket or chairs to sit on and sunscreen, hats or an umbrella to offer some protection from the intense July sun. Consider noise-reducing headphones or ear protectors for little ones—the air show is loud and can be scary. And make a hotel reservation. We decided to head to Oshkosh, about three hours north of Chicago, on a whim and planned to get a room somewhere along the way if we were too tired to make it home the same day. Every room within 100 miles of Oshkosh was sold out. We were nearly to Milwaukee before we found a hotel vacancy.

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