This paper deals with the theoretical and experimental investigation on a rigid, rectangular plate oscillating in the proximity of a fixed surface. The plate is suspended by springs. The airloads generated by the oscillating motion of the plate are determined. Due to the fact that the plate is rigid, the system is modelled as a 1-DOF system. The influence of the surrounding air is detected by changes in the plate's natural frequency and damping. For the behaviour of the air in the gap between the plate and the fixed surface an analytical solution is presented. This solution includes the effects of inertia, viscosity, compressibility and thermal conductivity. It is shown that the main parameters governing the motion of the air in the gap are the shear wave number, the reduced frequency, the narrowness of the gap and the aspect ratio of the plate. With these parameters the validity of several simplifications can easily be demonstrated and solutions, given in the literature, can be put in perspective. Special experiments were carried out with an oscillating solar panel in order to verify the analytical model. The analytical results and the experimental results show fair agreement. The solutions shows that for low shear wave numbers the effects of viscosity cannot be discarded.