While the NBAA convention reigns in the business aviation kingdom, the biggest show for general aviation is AirVenture, held each July in Oshkosh. But business aircraft and business deals there are playing a bigger role.

“AirVenture is billed as ‘the world's greatest aviation celebration’ while also being aviation's family reunion,” says EAA communications director David Berkley, pointing to the more than 10,000 aircraft that flew in and attendance that reached 540,000. “Aviation's drivers and doers come to AirVenture because of that passion, that thirst for the latest innovations and advancements in aviation,” he adds.

Suits and ties are nowhere to be seen, but the business jets on display grow in number while their sales there grow. Berkley can’t say yet which new aircraft will debut there next year, but says: “Several of the leads we’re working on right now are very exciting and, well, really big.”

 EAA Airventure

The HondaJet debuted at AirVenture in 2005 and first went on sale in 2006. This year Virgin chairman Sir Richard Branson and Burt Rutan announced they’ll bring the WhiteKnight 2 spacecraft to the 2009 event. Rutan continues to dream of one day watching a spacecraft he’s designed begin a spaceflight from the Oshkosh runway.

By then construction should be complete on EAA's comprehensive plan to upgrade dramatically the Oshkosh convention site. Costing approximately $17 million, the work will reshape transportation services, outdoor exhibits, restroom and shower facilities and will expand wireless Internet access.

This week, EAA (Booth 1263) is displaying the Flight Design MC two-seat aircraft being awarded in their annual sweepstakes, along with a RotorWay International Talon A600 kit. Other prizes are a John Deere tractor, a Bose Wave music system, and a Canon digital camera.

Proceeds from the sweepstakes benefit EAA’s outreach efforts that “seek to motivate youth, encourage personal achievement, and relive aviation's storied history - all with an eye toward cultivating the innovators and pioneers of tomorrow".

Source: Flight Daily News