OSHKOSH - For pilots and the general public, AirVenture 2012 is one to remember.
From the night air show Saturday – to the weather, like Thursday's storms that tore through the grounds, damaging some planes.
While the storms may have caused some problems for some, pilots like Jim Hill say the weather was the best he's seen in his 10 years at EAA.
"Probably the most perfect we've seen – cool," said Hill of Van, Texas. "Had a little rain showers that didn't give us any trouble."
"I'd say it's certainly not the slowest year, and certainly not the busiest year," explained Mark Schaible about the visitor attendance to his homebuilt aircraft booth.
The Sonex Aircraft General Manager says the high heat early in the week and eventual rain didn't impact booth traffic too much.
He says the market for homebuilt aircraft is strong and EAA only helps add to the bottom line.
"You know, we got a lot going for us at Sonex right now and another good year under our belt," said Schaible.
"Just an outstanding week at AirVenture 2012, and I'm so pleased with the results," said EAA President and CEO Rod Hightower at a Sunday AirVenture media briefing.
Hightower says he expects AirVenture attendance to be down compared to 2011, possibly because of the weather, but still expects attendance to break the 500,000 mark.
While attendance might be down, he says camping saw a ten percent jump compared to last year with about 40,000 campers.
Hightower touted the roughly 2500 show planes on display, as well as a large contingent of about 1000 homebuilt aircraft.
Hightower also told the media 69 countries were represented at the annual fly-in convention, totaling about 2100 international visitors.
Hightower says EAA hopes to make AirVenture bigger and better each year.
"Certainly, continuous improvements in what we call the visitor experience is we invest in making the visitor experience more fun and more enjoyable here, year, on top of year," explained Hightower.
"Have a good shower and a good breakfast in the morning and we'll fly home tomorrow," said pilot and EAA volunteer Ron Natalie.
As fun as camping for the past two weeks Natalie, he's ready to head back home to Herndon, Virginia on Monday.
But he's already planning for next year.
Final AirVenture attendance numbers are expected by the end of the week.
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