Amelia Earhart would have turned 115 this week.

Her birthday reminds us, again, to marvel at the incredible advance of aviation in, really, just a little more than one long lifetime.

But there’s an organization – and a glorious annual event – that keeps alive the dash and delight of those first heady days. The Experimental Aircraft Association and its EAA Airventure, in full swing this week. That’s just its official name. The world knows it as, simply, Oshkosh.

Oshkosh embodies the sheer fun and wonder of aviation. To anyone who doubts whether that spirit still lives, we offer this rebuttal: half a million. That’s how many people attend. Actually, 541,000 in 2011, and organizers expect that to increase 3 percent this year.

As marketers with a keen interest in aviation – and speaking from Wichita, the Air Capital – we take heart that Oshkosh demonstrates the unquenchable human thirst for flight. Nothing can or ever will kill that thirst. Only flight itself can satisfy it, and then it merely intensifies the desire. The show performs an invaluable service inspiring new generations of young pilots, helping alleviate the ongoing, serious pilot shortage – just this month Boeing predicted a global demand for more than 460,000 new airline pilots in the next 20 years.

Glacier Girl Kicks Up Her Heels

This year, one special event in particular draws our attention. The Lewis Air Legends – an outstanding collection of immaculately restored warbirds assembled and lovingly cared for by Rod Lewis in Texas – celebrates the 20th anniversary of the resurrection of Glacier Girl. The 1942 P-38F Lightning, rescued from under 238 feet of Greenland ice, flies again. It’s a tale that can melt the coldest heart. Go to the Lewis Air Legend site for the full story.

Insatiable Need to Soar

Oshkosh constitutes irrefutable proof of the power and glory of flight and its unrelenting grip on the human psyche.