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Look Up! The Midwest Skies Are Filled With Unusual Aircraft

There are a lot of unfamiliar aircraft in the skies over northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin this week. They’re on their way to the annual Experimental Aircraft Association get-together in Oshkosh. 

Tony Molinaro is with the Federal Aviation Administration for the Great Lakes region. He says as many as ten-thousand small planes converge on the small Wisconsin airport.

You’ll see them in the skies much more often. And not just the regular Pipers and regular planes, you know, the Cessnas. You’ll see the aircraft from WWII and all sorts of unusual planes.

The annual event is one of the biggest in the aviation industry. There’s also an uptick in air crashes. Molinaro says not too assume too much:

You’ll see occasionally the accidents that happen because someone is are on their way to Oshkosh or leaving Oshkosh. You’ll see one or two of those. But for the most part, if you see accidents happen this time of year, it’s because it’s good weather all over the country and more of those small planes are flying.

The FAA hosts a safety pavilion at the Airventure. Molinaro says it’s the best way to access 100-thousand people to talk about safety issues for general aviation pilots. The hottest safety topics this year? Weather, health issues, and drones.

The week-long fly-in has been going on for more than 60 years and was even based in Rockford for a decade. It runs through Sunday.

Susan is an award-winning reporter/writer at her favorite radio station. She's also WNIJ's Perspectives editor, Under Rocks contributor, and local host of All Things Considered.
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