NATCA Attends 2011 EAA AirVenture
Wednesday, August 03, 2011
On July 25-31, over 500,000 EAA members and aviation enthusiasts gathered in Oshkosh, Wisc., to attend 2011’s EAA AirVenture. Starting in 1953 as a small gathering of less than 150 visitors, AirVenture has now grown to attract attendees from over 60 countries.
As it has in years past, NATCA headed off to the annual event to make its presence known. As a 2011 exhibitor, NATCA set up its booth between the tower and runway where it was sure to receive the most amount of visitor traffic. And visitors it got. From pilots to NTSB officials, thousands flocked to the NATCA table to sign NATCA’s electronic letter to congressional leaders in the fight against FAA furloughs, and positive feedback was in abundance. In fact, even Senator Inhofe (R-Okla.) came by the booth to talk with members regarding their efforts.
“The amount of traffic we had in that booth was incredible!” shares NATCA Outreach Coordinator Kelly Richardson. “This was a great year for NATCA at EAA as our presence was felt all over the grounds.”
In addition to our own booth, NATCAvists were also present six hours a day at the AOPA tent, working alongside the Air Safety Institute to talk to pilots and answer any questions they may have. On top of this, members helped the FAA by working shifts at the NASA/FAA EAA Smart Skies booth as part of EAA KidVenture. Due to the furloughs, the FAA could not send anyone to man this program. NATCA took over as the only organization working with the children at the Smart Skies booth, and did a great job filling the holes left by the FAA absences!
NATCA’s presence didn’t stop here, however. We participated in three forums this year, two of which took place on Tuesday, July 26. “Top 10 Pilot Mistakes: A View From the Tower” saw between 300-400 attendees, and about 100 pilots were in line for GFK FacRep Chuck Adams’ presentation, “Flying In and Out of Oshkosh.” Our forum participation concluded with Wednesday’s “Tips for Navigating the NAS,” which saw another 300 pilots. The forums are a great way to really reach out and educate pilots, and proved some of the most popular attractions at AirVenture.
NATCA rounded out the week with participation Friday and Saturday on AOPA Live, as well as three separate EAA Radio appearances Friday, Saturday and Sunday, featuring NATCA’s Leanne Martin (AZO), Chris Caraynoff (ZMA) and Dave Osteen (OKC).
We greatly thank all the NATCA members who came on their own dime to help out at this year’s AirVenture, using their own days off to work full 8-hour days. “The crew who was present did a great job! They represented this organization, their professions and themselves with the highest level of professionalism,” says Richardson.
“I'm so proud of the work we accomplished this year and look forward to the progress and possibilities of next year.”
We received the following testimonial, among several others, from a pilot at Oshkosh:
I visited the AOPA tent this year at Air Venture, and was delighted to see the "Ask a controller" booth. I talked with FAA controller Leanne from Kalamazoo on Friday afternoon and got several questions answered. I promote the use of ATC services to my flight students and am in favor of anything that gets pilots and controllers understanding each other better. This is a great idea, and I hope you will continue it at future Air Ventures. Dave Yost
Above: NATCAvists gather in Oshkosh!
Below: Sen. Inhofe visits the NATCA booth.
For the full collection of NATCA's EAA AirVenture Oshkosh pictures, visit our Flickr page at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/50541310@N03/sets/72157627356943498/