With No AirVenture, What’s Next?

By Scott Spangler on May 4th, 2020

S.M. Spangler

Humans hate uncertainty, so after reading EAA’s early morning email on May 1 that confirmed what many expected, uncounted thousands of aviation-oriented minds posed, in one form or another, an unsettling question, “With no AirVenture, what’s next?”

The honest answer is that there is no certain answer. The future is an ethereal miasma of possibilities good and bad. Only time will tell. In all probability, there will be another AirVenture, but only time—and our mitigation and vaccination of and against the virus will determine when that will be.

For many humans, bred to hair-trigger impatience by a consumer society dedicated to immediate gratification of our immediate wants (assuming, naturally, that we can afford them), this reality will insufficiently fill the vacuum left by no AirVenture in 2020. Pointing fingers at our political foes and blaming them and their allies for one’s individual inconveniences seems an unproductive pastime in a number of online conversations.


S.M. Spangler

When analyzed from any pragmatic perspective, EAA made the right decision, they made it for the right reasons, and they made it at the right time. And EAA reinforced the reality that the faithful who have made their annual pilgrimages to Oshkosh are, indeed, family. While it is easy for some to sacrifice strangers to the virus to ensure their economic and emotional survival, that willingness to sacrifice others is harder when those individuals are family.

For those pointing fingers, shoveling blame, and crying for sympathy because no AirVenture has inconvenienced them, they will readily find sympathy in the dictionary. Empathy might be a better emotional response. Consider this: For many aviation publications, especially those that monthly feed the needs of those who fly for fun, AirVenture is where they harvest many of the stories that fill the pages we so eagerly turn throughout the year.

Prudent publications always have a number of stories, ready to go, in the bank because, obviously, stuff happens. But that reservoir won’t last long, let alone a year or more. In finding ways to work with travel restrictions and social distancing, let alone the economic consequences facing all involved, their lives will be truly interesting.

The only living entity that truly has a right to be unhappy with no AirVenture this year is the coronavirus itself. Self-isolation and social distancing have made it harder for the virus to find and infect new hosts. If it was a sentient being, the virus was surely looking forward to what would have been a feeding frenzy every morning and evening at the communal bathhouses that serve the multitudes of aviation pilgrims living in Camp Scholler and the North & South 40s. –Scott Spangler, Editor

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