Thousands will gather to watch pilots fly a variety of aircraft through the blue skies this week at Oshkosh for the 2014 EAA Airventure Airshow. But for those who couldn't wait until Monday to see some planes in action, Sunday's Airventure Air Cup Race was enough to hold them over.
"Like stock car racers or anybody else, you're kind of an adrenaline junkie to go after this type of activity," said local EAA Charter member David Conrad, a pilot himself.
46 different aircraft took to the skies Sunday morning in Mitchell, South Dakota, where they finished at the Wausau Downtown Airport.
"They're all sport pilots, with mostly all home built planes. Some are very expensive home built plans in the fast classes," said Conrad. "It's quite an event and we are very proud that we got to host it this year."
Many of the pilots didn't waste much time after finishing their day's work in Wausau, where they soon flew towards Oshkosh for this week's festivities.
"Tomorrow is the opening of the 2014 Airventure Airshow at Oshkosh, which is the largest airshow of its kind in the country," said Conrad. "All the vendors and manufacturers show their wares at this event. If you want to rub noses with the very best in aviation you've got to go to Oshkosh."
Jon Parker, a participating pilot in this year's race, flies his home built 'Blue Thunder' plane.
"It's very exhilarating," said Parker. "It's a great airplane to fly. Once it's in the air it's just a dream to fly. Fast, and relatively efficiently."
An aviation enthusiast for more than 40 years, events like this race along with the upcoming airshow are what Parker sees as opportunities to expose more people to aviation.
"It's very important to bring new people into the aviation business,"said Parker. It's an important thing, because there's more to aviation than just being a pilot. There's all sorts of engineers, designers, software and firmware people that work in the industry that are very important."
The 17th Annual Air Cup Race is now complete. Aviation fans can look forward to the Airventure Oshkosh Airshow, where perhaps the sight of several aircraft will show people the progression of aviation over the years, and inspire more to join the aviation field for themselves.