The first day of the biggest aviation
celebration in the world kicked off Monday. More than 10,000 pilots
descended upon Oshkosh for the week long EAA AirVenture.
The event features everything from
exhibits, to air shows, to seminars. Organizers say more than 600,000
people will attend the event before the week is over. Pilots say it's
a time they look forward to all year.
"I've got my pilot's license,
this is, there's no other event like this on earth. This is truly
unique," said Jim Hausch of Juneau.
The show starts up again at 7 a.m.
Tuesday. AirVenture makes the airport in Oshkosh the busiest in the
world for the week.
This year's show comes just months
after billions of dollars in federal budget cuts. Some of them
directly impacting AirVenture. For the first time, the FAA is
slapping the EAA with more than $400,000 in fees.
Those fees pay for the air traffic
controllers at AirVenture, but EAA officials say those workers are
paid for with fuel tax.
"We think those are unjustified
and unauthorized and we're working with congress and working in the
courts to have a judgment on that, to have a decision and have a
petition for that. But yet, the air traffic controllers are here.
They're eager to be here, they do a great job," said EAA
Spokesman Dick Knapinski.
The EAA paid those fees, but has since
filed a lawsuit for a refund. Pilots say they hope the issue gets
"I'd like to see EAA made whole
again for having to pay that, that cost, but we'll see how it shakes
out," said Hausch.
Newsline 9 tried to reach out to the
FAA for comment. Officials told us they wouldn't be talking, as long
as the lawsuit was on-going.
A popular attraction at AirVenture is
the WWII planes, but one thing missing this year because of the
sequester is the modern style military planes. People say those are
"I really like looking at them and
getting up close to a plane that you probably never would before,"
said Jennifer Hausch of Juneau.
Thunderbird pilot Major Caroline Jensen
says she hopes to get her planes' wheels off the ground at AirVenture
"A lot of us are working on our
education, professional development so there's been good things that
came out of it but I'm hoping next year we get to fly and we get to
come back and grace the skies of Wisconsin," said Jensen.
While those planes aren't gracing the
skis, visitors say they're grateful there's still plenty more to do
at EAA AirVenture.