EAA AirVenture Cross Country Air Race celebrates 25 years on July 23
This year the flyover finish line is in Merrill
On Sunday, July 23, 2023, the 25th annual EAA AirVenture Cup Race will take to the skies.
The air race, which will begin at 9 a.m., weather permitting, will start when planes take off from the Wausau Downtown Airport and will end at the Merrill Airport.
Approximately 70 unique aircraft in 29 race classes will race more than 400 nautical miles following a route from Wausau around and up into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and around back to cross the finish line at the Merrill Airport.
Flyovers (and some landings) will include the airports in Manistique, Menominee, Escanaba, Shawano, Land O’ Lakes, Sawyer, Wausau, Tomahawk, and Merrill.
Merrill residents will notice the heavier air traffic flying low over Merrill throughout the entire day. Some of the fastest aircrafts will complete the course in about an hour, while others will take most of the day, crossing the finish line in Merrill in mid- to late-afternoon.
Aircraft recovery will be at the Wausau Downtown Airport.
The purpose of the EAA AirVenture Cup Race is to provide pilots and aircraft builders an opportunity to race their aircraft in a safe and fun environment, all while promoting aviation in and over the communities where the races are held, organizers said.
From the very first EAA AirVenture Cup Race that took place in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1998 with 10 aircraft, the race has now grown to be “major aviation event.” It was created “in the spirit of recreating the old Bendix Trophy Race” and is dedicated to aviation advocacy and preserving the rich heritage of cross-country air racing, organizers said.
These days the event draws thousands of spectators, including those standing out in their front yards and those gathering at the airports for a closer look at the planes where they fly low to clock their progress and may land, fuel up if necessary, and take off again as they compete in the race.
The EAA AirVenture Cup Race is held annually in advance of EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, “The World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration,” and EAA’s yearly membership convention. For more information, go to www.airventurecuprace.com, www.airventure.org, and www.eaa.org, or find them on Facebook.
For more information on EAA and its programs, call 1.800.564.6322.