Later this month, July 23 - July 29 to be exact, thousands of pilots will descend upon Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the 2007 Airventure extravaganza. I've yet to make the pilgrimage and I won't make it this year, but I do plan to go in the next two years. The reasons are simple: Oshkosh is where manufacturers of aircraft, avionics, and most anything else related to aviation announce the latest, cool stuff. And I have some theories about what might be unveiled at this year's show.
I'd expect Cessna to provide more details on their Next Generation Piston prototype, perhaps nailing down the power plant (Lycoming, Continental, Thielert diesel?) along with a date when a certificated type might be available. Hey, this plane has three doors and it looks like they all close securely with a latching handle, too! For now, be content to drool over this titillating AvWeb video that reveals a few more details, like a G1000 panel and a control stick.
I suspect that Garmin will announce a new portable aviation GPS, seeing as the price on the 496 and 386 was recently lowered by $400. One improvement 496 users would like to see is an integrated GPS/XM remote antenna and fewer wires, which would make it easier to hook-up and remove. And what could Garmin add to the 496 feature set that isn't already there? A small, QWERTY keyboard perhaps?
Eclipse is set to display their AvioNG avionics suite, which was originally just called Avio and was to be made by Avidyne before they got cold feet. Cirrus will probably be on hand to show their Cirrus Jet mock-up and I bet Diamond Aircraft will display their D-Jet mock-up, too.
Pilots I know who've gone to Oshkosh always came back with lots of cool, free trinkets. Many of the vendors sell products at a discount, so good deals can be had all around. But to my mind, nothing could compare with the buzz of flying into Wittman Regional Airport, parking on the grass, pitching a tent next to your plane, and enjoying summer in Wisconsin.
Some day ...