As one day remains for 2011’s AirVenture, organizers made sure that ‘Super Saturday’ ended with a bang. The night was topped off with the second night airshow of the week and a spectacular fireworks display. The morning started off with the exact opposite of the nighttime festivities.
At daybreak, the hot-air balloon launch kicked off with the silent launch in the beautiful morning skies. A handful of balloons took part in the annual launch; however, winds were not favorable for the flights so the balloons had to remain tethered. The weather later in the day also did not cooperate as a storm front built up west of Oshkosh and resulted in the National Weather Service issuing severe thunderstorm warnings for the area. The storm front finally reached the airport during the afternoon airshow, resulting in the show being cut short. Thankfully, very little, to no rain, accompanied the gust front as it blew across the AirVenture grounds.
The damage report from around the field due to 40 mph winds was positive. With minor damage reported and limited to a few displaced tents, overturned port-a-potties and some lawn furniture taking flights and entering the airport movement areas. The storm thankfully moved out of the area to allow an on-time start to the night airshow and fireworks planned for after nightfall.
The night airshow and fireworks wowed the crowd, with the twitter feeds using the #osh11 hashtag quickly filling with congratulations and compliments for a spectacular show. It would be hard to think that the night airshow would not return next year as it has been a tremendous success and crowd favorite for two years now.
Tomorrow will be the mass exodus of aircraft from Wittman Regional Airport as AirVenture comes to a close. The skies will once again be quiet and the ATC tower will no longer be the busiest in the world. Sunday is family day, with free admission to kids 18 and younger and all day craft and activities for kids at Pioneer Airport. Come Monday, the airport and town will begin the recovery from 2011 AirVenture, and also begin looking forward to 2012 and the next, greatest celebration of aviation in the world.