August 6, 2020 – An unprecedented effort to bring the EAA community at Oshkosh to aviation fans around the world was a grand success on July 21-25, as EAA’s inaugural Spirit of Aviation Week drew enthusiasts from throughout the country and around the world for five days of flying engagement and fun.
Created in the aftermath of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2020’s cancellation, the virtual event included streaming and on-demand content, plus a virtual mall for exhibitors normally found at Oshkosh.
“Tremendous credit goes to more than 50 EAA staffers who combined to make this work, along with the hundreds of EAA members, aviation community members, and business partners who quickly stepped forward to contribute their time and knowledge to make this happen in little more than three months,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA’s CEO and chairman of the board. “While Spirit of Aviation Week certainly was not a replacement for the in-person experience that is AirVenture each year, it was very successful in bringing together the flying community in a way that had never before been attempted.”
The following are some of the highlights of EAA’s Spirit of Aviation Week, which spanned five days, eight hours per day, over three live streams with 262 pieces of content developed for the event:
- More than 266,000 people connected via EAA.org and EAAtogether.org for the streaming and on-demand content, with nearly 800,000 page views and almost 1.6 million minutes of video viewing.
- Social media outreach totaled 4.5 million, with 827,000 video views throughout the week. Leading the way was a 2.2 million total reach on EAA’s Facebook page with 536,000 video views.
- More than 15,000 people attended 51 forums, with 20 of those forums issuing 6,300 FAA WINGS credits.
- More than 10,000 people attended the online workshops in sheet metal, fabric covering, aviation woodworking, and welding.
- The Pilot Proficiency Center hosted 25 Tech Talk sessions that welcomed more than 8,200 participants and accounted for an additional 4,500 FAA WINGS credits issued.
- Nearly 1,100 pilots “flew” the Oshkosh approach via SimVenture, thanks to a partnership with Pilot Edge and assistance from the National Association of Air Traffic Controllers (NATCA).
- AirVenture’s 800 exhibitors welcomed shoppers from around the world through the virtual expo, with more than 200 special events from exhibitors and more than 80 show specials for attendees.
“We are grateful for the large amount of positive feedback we received regarding Spirit of Aviation Week and we learned many things we’ll incorporate in the future,” Pelton said. “Most important, however, as we kept alive the sense of community and laid the foundation for an unforgettable aviation reunion at Oshkosh in 2021.”