Without a doubt, the A380 and WhiteKnightTwo are the draws this year. Garmin has yet more new products, the OEMs are generally happy and optimistic, and technological innovation is continuing to transform flying. But none of that matters when you get to see the world’s largest airliner and the future of space travel fly on the same day in the same place. I feel very fortunate to have been there. The A380 will be old news in a few years, but seeing that behemoth fly slowly by the crowd was simply incredible. But watching WhiteKnightTwo was, for me, infinitely better. I feel like it was a moment I’ll get to tell my grand kids about–the first time I saw the future of space travel. What’s most amazing to me is not that Rutan and his crew have built this incredible airplane, but that we all believe they will really succeed in this adventure. It’s practically a foregone conclusion at this point. Imagine relatively normal (I say relatively because certainly most people will never be able to afford it) people going into space as tourists. It’s the stuff of science fiction and we’re going to see it in the near future. Incredible.
Otherwise, there’s lots of new stuff going on at the AOPA tent, including a P-51 from The Horsemen on display, and some cool new outfitters, including one guy who’s making beautiful vintage aviation clothing. All in all, it’s a great year for OSH.