by Dave Weiman
No sooner than one EAA AirVenture Oshkosh ends, we are thinking about the one to come. This is especially true for EAA President & CEO Rod Hightower and the rest of the folks at EAA headquarters. But it is also true for everyone involved, beginning with we members who attend, the exhibitors who make the event possible, and to those who participate – the volunteers, speakers, and the performers who entertain us in concerts and in the air.
This year’s event to be held at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 23-29, 2012, will be special if you take advantage of the activities available to you.
Let’s begin with the “mass arrivals” of aircraft.
Each year, aircraft of like make and/or model will organize so they can fly in together and park in the same general area on Wittman Field. This year, Piper Cherokees will arrive on Friday, July 20 at 1:00 p.m.; Bonanzas will arrive on Saturday, July 21, also at 1:00 p.m.; Cessnas will arrive on Saturday, July 21 at 2:30 p.m.; Mooneys will arrive on Saturday, July 21 at 4:00 p.m.; and RVs will arrive on Sunday, July 22 at 1:30 p.m. Regardless of the aircraft we fly, many of us enjoy getting together with others who fly the same aircraft to share information and socialize, and the mass arrivals provide that opportunity. Just watching aircraft of any type get in line in the air and land at Wittman Regional Airport, one after the other, is entertaining, and listening to the radio transmissions adds to that experience.
Daily highlights will include a salute on Sunday, July 22, to Paul and Audrey Poberezny, who founded EAA 60 years ago. Ask yourself where General Aviation would be today if it were not for the Pobereznys and EAA. They have done more for GA than we will ever know.
The ever-popular RV and its founder, Dick VanGrunsven, will be saluted on Monday, July 23, as Van’s RV Aircraft celebrates its 40th anniversary. Also on Monday, there will be the opening day air show beginning at 3:30 p.m., presented by Rockwell Collins, followed by a concert by the “Steve Miller Band” beginning at 7:00 p.m., presented by Ford Motor Company.
Tuesday, July 24, the 75th Anniversary of the Piper J-3 Cub will be celebrated.
Wednesday, July 25 will include a tribute to “The Greatest Generation in the Air,” with salutes to the Doolittle Raiders and Tuskegee Airmen. There are only a handful of Doolittle Raiders still living, and you can see them and hear their stories during EAA AirVenture.
Thursday, July 26 is “Jet Day.”
Friday, July 27 will be EAA’s “Salute To Veterans,” featuring Tora! Tora! Tora!, an aerial reenactment of the battle raged at Pearl Harbor, presented by the Commemorative Air Force; the Canadian SkyHawks, the official skydiving team of the Canadian Forces; and an expanded air show with warbirds from various eras.
Saturday, July 28 is “Super Saturday,” and will again feature Tora! Tora! Tora!, and the Canadian SkyHawks.
Sunday, July 29 is “Family Day!” Students ages 6-18 are admitted to the grounds FREE when accompanied by an adult.
The evening entertainment could not be better, with special programs in Theatre In The Woods to coincide with the theme of the day, and at the outdoor movie theater, featuring aviation-related films, free popcorn, and often hosted by the actors themselves.
Each day there will be numerous workshops in the outdoor pavilions, and hundreds of commercial exhibits to see, including the latest in aircraft technology.
Among the special aircraft to be on display during AirVenture will be the ORBIS DC-10 “Flying Eye Hospital;” the DC-3 “Flabob Express;” the Commemorative Air Force B-29 “FiFi;” and the Lockheed P-38 “Glacier Girl,” celebrating its 20th anniversary since it was recovered in 1992, after spending 50 years beneath the Greenland ice cap.
Brazil’s famed Esquadrilha da Fumaca – “Smoke Squadron” – will be making its Oshkosh debut this year. The last time a full national military demonstration team performed at AirVenture was in 1986.
The Esquadrilha da Fumaça was established in 1952 and is the official air demonstration squadron of the Brazilian Air Force. The team features 13 highly trained pilots flying the Embraer T-27 Tucano aircraft, who will perform 55 high-performance aerobatic maneuvers.
Whatever you do, do not miss visiting the EAA Seaplane Base on the southwest bay of Lake Winnebago, and the EAA AirVenture Museum on the northwest corner of Wittman Field. The best way to get to both locations is on a complimentary shuttle bus that departs the EAA parking lot.
Check the EAA AirVenture website for dates and times for a complete schedule of events and activities (www.AirVenture.org/bucketlist4), or call 1-800-564-6322.
If you see me walking around the grounds, please stop me and introduce yourself. (I will likely be wearing a “red” Midwest Flyer Magazine cap and sunglasses). It is always nice to meet our subscribers!
NASA Space Shuttles Featured In This Issue
Special thanks to contributing editors Greg Reigel and Matt Olafsen for covering the final ferry flight of the Space Shuttle “Discovery,” featured in this issue. Matt was at the Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Florida in April for “Discovery’s” departure, and Greg flew from Minneapolis to Dulles International Airport in Chantilly,Virginia, later that month for its debut at the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. Then just weeks later in May, Matt returned to the Kennedy Space Center for a special tour of “Endeavour,” while NASA was preparing the spacecraft for transport to the California Science Center in Los Angeles in September (www.californiasciencecenter.org). All of this and more in this issue of Midwest Flyer Magazine.