• The entry arch for Airventure at Wittman Airport, Oshkosh, Wisconsin. (EAA)
    The entry arch for Airventure at Wittman Airport, Oshkosh, Wisconsin. (EAA)

EAA AirVenture 2020 has been canceled due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) announced on Saturday.

The 68th annual EAA fly-in convention was scheduled to be held 20-26 July 2020 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Although the EAA was confident of going ahead in early April, travel and social distancing rules have made it impossible for the army of volunteers to begin gathering at Oshkosh in order to start organising the event.

EAA CEO and Chairman Jack Pelton said the EAA had done everything possible to keep Oshkosh 2020 alive.

“We looked at every possibility over the past six weeks as to how EAA could move forward with AirVenture this year, because it is such an important reunion for the aviation community,” Pelton said. “The current status in Wisconsin is that it is still under a stay at home order until May 26, which completely eliminates our ability to start grounds preparation May 1.

"The reopening of the state also has no specific dates, creating uncertainty about mass gatherings in July. Ultimately, preserving the health and safety of all who would attend–and all the varying guidelines between states and countries from where our participants arrive–along with the massive commitments needed now for an event to meet EAA’s high standards, made cancellation the only option for this year.”

AirVenture also attracts a large number of international visitors every year, which would have dried-up under current travel bans. Many Australians will have had their travel plans disrupted, with the Australian government providing no guidance as to when the borders may be opened again.

“There is no way to describe the disappointment I feel for everyone who sees AirVenture as aviation’s family reunion each year," Pelton said.

"You can be assured that EAA is already eagerly looking forward to gathering along the AirVenture flightline on July 26 through August 1 in 2021.”

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