“You’ll see people with suitcases full of stuff,” said vintage-aircraft expert Roy Fox beside the rare Compers Swift he brought all the way from Australia to display. “They come back with instruments and things like airspeed indicators, which are much cheaper here, so it makes the journey financially viable.”
Candiota estimated at least 30 experimental-aircraft kits purchased at the airshow are under construction in Brazil, and noted that a few years ago his contingent’s purchases wouldn’t all fit in their ground transportation. “We had to rent an additional truck to carry the avionics and parts” to the departure airport, he said.
Spend a little time with the internationals and it’s obvious the relationships forged here transcend borders and cultural differences. Many talk of visiting friends made here, keeping in touch by e-mail, and helping out pilots who tap into the international network when traveling abroad. And 2010 may have marked a new era in international relations, made possible by social media. Last spring AirVenture created a Facebook page, and several international visitors cited the Facebook connection as their impetus for coming. That’s what brought the four Portuguese friends together here, and they said friends back home were now following their adventures via Facebook and Twitter, and were in turn vowing to make their own first trips to Oshkosh this summer.
James Wynbrandt, a pilot and writer, has attended every AirVenture since 1994 and writes for AirVenture Today, the show’s daily newspaper.