AirVenture 2013… Looking Back & Looking Forward!

by Jim LaMalfa
Dave Weiman, Contributing Editor

Standing at the main gates to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013, July 29 thru August 4, one had to recognized and give thanks to the efforts of a young National Guard aircraft mechanic named Paul H. Poberezny, who gathered some friends in his basement in Hales Corners, Wisconsin and at Gran-Aire, Inc. at Milwaukee Timmerman Field, and started a new aviation organization for aircraft builders and restorers called the Experimental Aircraft Association some 60 years ago. In honor of Paul, a special tent was set up featuring his P-64 pre-World War II pursuit plane and his #4 P-51 North American Mustang, a razorback with the Allison engine. Read more about EAA’s beginnings at

Looking forward, we were able to view the aircraft designs that have evolved over the decades since then, including Honda, Piper, Cessna, Cirrus, Beech, Daher-Socata, Epic, Eclipse, and Mahindra Aerospace aircraft. We also visited with engine manufacturers such as Pratt & Whitney Canada, Lycoming, Continental and Rotec; and avionics manufacturers such as Rockwell-Collins, Motorola, Avidyne and Garmin. Garnering a great deal of interest this year were the new electronic apps that convert our iPads to color weather radar, which can provide current weather for a fraction of the cost of conventional aircraft weather radar equipment.


Honda Aircraft President and CEO Michimasa Fujino-san held a press conference amidst two of his FAA-conforming HA-420 HondaJet aircraft, and received a rock star reception from convention-goers. EAA Chairman Jack Pelton introduced Fujino to the crowd, stating that he has tremendous respect for the aeronautical engineer who has been able to develop a revolutionary aircraft with its natural-laminar flow wing, composite fuselage, and Over-The-Wing Engine Mount (OTWEM), powered by two GE Honda Aero Engines. These combined innovations make the HondaJet the fastest, most spacious and most fuel-efficient jet in its class.

The two conforming aircraft flew in tight formation during the air show on opening day.

“EAA AirVenture Oshkosh has special significance for me,” stated Fujino. “This event is where I introduced the proof-of-concept HondaJet to the world for the very first time. It was truly the beginning of Honda’s exciting venture into aviation. I am very excited that EAA AirVenture Oshkosh has once again provided the setting for the first public appearance and demonstration flight of not one, but two FAA-conforming HondaJets.” Conforming aircraft meet the final specifications of a production HondaJet.

The $4.5 million light jet seats up to six in a standard configuration (one crew and five passengers or two crew and four passengers) and includes a private aft lavatory. Honda Aircraft Company is targeting the end of 2014 for FAA certification.

Honda Aircraft Company is headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina. Refer to the Midwest Flyer Magazine archives for more news and information on the HondaJet and HondaJet Midwest:

Honda Aircraft Company once again brought a stage show to its pavilion with its humanoid robot, “ASIMO.” Between ASIMO, the Disney’s film “PLANES,” playground equipment provided by Ford Motor Company, and all of the activities at Pioneer Airport to explore aviation, kids had it made at AirVenture 2013.


Piper Aircraft rolled out a beautiful Mirage 800 and other general aviation aircraft in their current line. Air show performer, Kirby Chambliss, who performs aerobatics in the Red Bull USA Zivko Edge 540 mid-wing monoplane, was on hand outside the Piper Pavilion to meet fans, sign autographs, and talk airplanes.

Chambliss flies a Piper Meridian from air show site to air show site, and from his home at “Flying Crown Ranch,” located between Tucson and Phoenix, Arizona.

Chambliss flies the Meridian about 200 hours a year, and says that he appreciates the pressurization, fuel economy, speed and altitude capabilities of the turboprop aircraft.

The Meridian is a single-engine turboprop that seats six with club seating. It is powered by the P&WC PT6A-42A 500 shp engine and has a 260 KTAS / 482 km/h max cruise speed and a range of 1,000 nm / 1,885 km. The Meridian is equipped with the Garmin G1000 avionics suite.

Chambliss was raised racing motocross, but always knew he would become a pilot. He began flying at age 13 and by 24, became the youngest commercial pilot at Southwest Airlines. By the time he made captain at 28, he was already polishing his aerobatic skills, an interest acquired during aerobatic training for his job flying a business jet.

To date, Chambliss is a five-time U.S. National Aerobatic Champion (FAI World Aerobatic Championships, bronze and team bronze in 2005, silver and bronze in 2003, bronze and team silver in 1998). Named one of the top 15 aerobatic pilots in the United States, Chambliss was invited to compete in the first Red Bull Air Race events held in 2003. Chambliss is a two-time Red Bull Air Race World Champion.

Chambliss’ wife and fellow pilot, Kellie, and their daughter, were part of his support team during AirVenture, as was Piper President and CEO Simon Caldecott.

Piper Aircraft Inc. is headquartered in Vero Beach, Fla., and manufactures both single-engine and twin-engine aircraft, including the single-engine M-Class series – the Meridian, Mirage and Matrix – the Twin Class Seminole and Seneca V, and the Trainer Class Archer TX and Arrow. All Piper models feature advanced Garmin avionics.


Cessna Aircraft Company has introduced three (3) new single-engine models during the past year including the Grand Caravan EX, the Turbo Skylane JT-A, and the all-composite Cessna TT. Also featured at Oshkosh was the new Citation CJ4 corporate jet, pressurized and able to cruise at 41,000 feet. The 50-foot swept wings and 53-foot length of this sleek twin corporate jet, contrast with the Citation Mustang’s straight-wing design.


Flight Design is offering its slick little two-place Sport Light with a loaded glass cockpit called “Skyview” with ADS-B, which allows the pilot to monitor weather, traffic and Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs). I chatted with Flight Design sales representative, Tom Baker, a southern Illinois dealer for Flight Design.

“Our aircraft are certified in LSA category, but if you hold a private pilot’s license, you can do IFR training with them. In the cockpit you have GPS, synthetic vision and a moving map. You could add color radar. We can add the AFD (Aviation Forecast Discussion) module, so you can get current weather. Being that it’s an LSA aircraft, we’re not going through FAR 23 certification. The mockup (on display) is our new four-place airplane – the C4. We’ll start deliveries in 2015. This ship will have a useful load of 1320 lbs and an empty weight of about the same, 1200 nautical mile max range, and you can carry four adults with full tanks.” The C4 will feature a ballistic parachute, IFR certification, carbon fiber components, and cruises at 160 kts.


Aerotek offers four models of their LSA category with tri-gear or tail dragger configurations, and features a 30-foot wing, 40-mph stall speed, useful load of 580 lbs, cruises at 120 mph, and sells for around $85K. The wings fold for storage, so you could conceivably trailer your aircraft behind an SUV or truck. It is powered by a Rotex 100 hp 912 ULS engine. There are dealers in Bloomfield, Indiana and San Francisco, Calif.


I have watched the growth of Cirrus Aircraft over the last 30 years as they have moved themselves into the forefront of the general aviation market with over 5000 sales to date. A big selling point for the Cirrus SR series has been its all-composite airframe, speed and ballistic parachute. Its newest selling point is that it seats up to five (5) people. Now, Cirrus is poised to enter the light jet market in  -2015 with its Vision SF 50 V-tailed jet (shades of the old Beechcraft Bonanza).

I watched the press conference at AirVenture 2013 on opening day as Cirrus co-founder and board chairman, Dale Klapmeier, and other company executives, laid out their plans for improving the SR series and the forthcoming jet. Not only are the SRs selling well in general aviation, but they are being purchased by government entities, including the U.S. Air Force and foreign militaries, plus several universities for flight training.

Seventy-six (76) lives have been saved to date by deploying the ballistic chute. The SR’s useful load has been increased by 200 pounds, making it a five-place aircraft. You can order the SR with advanced Garmin avionics.

Cirrus will build three Vision jets for their certification program, C-0, C-1 and C-2, and expect to begin selling the aircraft in 2015. To date, Cirrus has received 500 pre-orders. Who needs an Italian sports car when you can cruise at 500 kts at 40,000 feet above snarled traffic on the ground?


Epic Aircraft rolled out its turboprop, which features a true airspeed of 325 kts, climbs to 34,000 feet in 15 minutes, has an 1170 lb. payload with full tanks, and a 1650 nm range at economy cruise.


The SkyReach “Bush Cat” is an attractive LSA as a tricycle, taildragger or floatplane. SkyReach recommends the Rotax series of engines starting with the 65 hp 582, up to the 100 hp 912 ULS. The gross weight of the nose wheel and taildragger versions is 1245 lbs, and 1430 lbs for the amphibian floatplane version (


Sonex would like to sell you a simple-to-build kit with a fan up front, but they would also like to sell you one of their JSX-1 mini jets!


The RANS S20 Raven is a kit-built Experimental Category bird that is just the ticket for flying to your favorite aircraft restaurant on a lazy summer day. All the plane needs is fabric, lacing and dope!


If round engines are your thing, Rotec has several including a seven-cylinder R2800 that puts out 110 hp.


No real pilot who has been interested in flying machines can fail to feel his or her pulse quicken when the warbirds make a pass on the north-south runway at Wittman Field, and AirVenture had some beauties this year.

Featured opening day was a beautiful PBY Catalina called “Dumbo” during World War II, and the savior of many a downed Navy pilot. Next to Dumbo was a gleaming F7F Grumman “Tigercat” twin-engine fighter-bomber. Looking south we spotted a B24 Liberator, parts of which were manufactured in Menominee, Michigan, and sent to the Ford Motor Company’s mile-long assembly line at Willow Run, Michigan during World War II.

Crossing the taxiway into the warbirds paddock, we spotted the P-51 “Little Horse,” and a P-51 razorback version painted up in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen, which is part of the Commemorative Air Force Red Tail Squadron.

One of the few genuine A6M2 Nakajima-built model 21 Zero fighters in flying condition was featured in “Warbirds Alley.” A carrier version, it belongs to the Texas Flying Legends Museum. The aircraft has hinged wingtips to facilitate storage aboard a carrier.

Several North American B25 Mitchell bombers were on display, including “Betty’s Dream.” General Kenny modified the B25 in the Pacific war theater during World War II by installing 14 50-caliber machine guns. The tough twin-engine bombers would attack Japanese ships Indian file, literally sawing them in half. Several beautifully restored Grumman TBF Avengers were parked in the warbirds tie-down area, with their extensive “plumbing” was visible with the wings folded back.


EAA always seems to come up with something new and novel to show conventioneers and this year the prize must go to Yves “Jetman” Rossy, 54, of Neuchatel, Switzerland. An engineer and pilot, his flight on Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at Wittman Field was the first in the United States. He flew in formation with EAA’s B17, “Aluminum Overcast.” Rossy literally straps a wing and jet engines on his back and becomes the living personification of ROCKET MAN.

Another air show act that caught our eye were the Red Stars – a group of air show performers who fly Yak 9s and other Russian fighters in formation.


No report would be complete without a tip of the hat to the many volunteers who make AirVenture run smoothly. In addition to the hundreds of individuals who lend a helping hand, EAA Chapters, the Wisconsin Wing of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), and the Boy Scouts of America Explorer Posts from across the country devote time parking planes, and tracking down ELTs that spontaneously go off throughout the week for one reason or another.


Speaking of volunteers, EAA Chairman Jack Pelton announced July 31 during EAA’s general membership meeting that air show performer, Sean D. Tucker, was named the new honorary chairman of EAA Young Eagles, replacing co-chairmen Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles. Tucker said that he looks forward to motivating young people to embrace flying as he performs at air shows throughout North America, and pledges to personally fly one Young Eagle each week. Other past honorary chairmen have included Cliff Robertson, Chuck Yeager, and Harrison Ford.

EAA’s Gathering of Eagles benefit auction raised $2.679 million this year alone.

Leading the list of contributors was Ford Motor Company, which donated a one-of-a-kind 2014 Ford Mustang that was auctioned off for $398,000. The car was painted in U.S. Air Force Thunderbird colors. More than 1.6 million young people have been flown through the EAA Young Eagles Program since 1992.


While most people attend EAA AirVenture Oshkosh for their love of aviation by day, come evening when their feet are tired from walking miles at Wittman Regional Airport, the evening concerts kick in full gear. Ford Motor Company presented the band “Chicago” on opening day, July 29, and the group was in top form. The concert was free to all AirVenture attendees that day and was held on the Ford Stage on Phillips 66 Plaza following the afternoon air show.

Also featured on the Ford Stage during the week was country star and pilot Aaron Tippin, and actor/musician Gary Sinise’s “Lt. Dan Band.” Sinise’s band raises money to support American veterans.

EAA honored Viet Nam veterans this year with another honor flight from Oshkosh to Washington, D.C., sending 114 Vietnam veterans to Washington to visit the Viet Nam Memorial.

An Evening With Bob Hoover

It was a “Who’s Who In Aviation,” as 200 of some of Bob Hoover’s closest friends joined him at a special dinner during AirVenture, July 31, 2013, in yet another salute to the man who enthralled air show audiences for decades with his Shrike Commander, Sabreliner and P-51 Mustang performances.

Among those in attendance was Dr. Rob Liddell. Dr. Liddell is the Australian physician who issued Hoover an Australian airman medical certificate after the Federal Aviation Administration revoked his U.S. medical certificate in 1994. After a lengthy legal battle, Hoover’s U.S. medical certificate was reinstated in 1995. The FAA received thousands of letters supporting Hoover during the ordeal.

The dinner at AirVenture was sponsored in part by Honda Aircraft Company.

To see photos from AirVenture go to the October/November 2013 Midwest Flyer Issue on the On-Line PDF Version or the On-Line Interactive Edition


EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013 succeeded in overcoming some of the most daunting challenges the annual event has faced in its 61 runs. Among them the federal sequester that put a halt on any military participation, and the Federal Aviation Administration fee charged to EAA for air traffic control services in the amount of $447,000.00 (

“There are so many things that make this year’s AirVenture memorable,” said EAA Chairman Jack Pelton, “such as the first public flights of Jetman and the Terrafugia Transition, to the screening of Disney’s Planes, to all the aviation innovations we’ve seen unveiled at Oshkosh.” Some of the more memorable display aircraft included the Commemorative Air Force B29 “FiFi,” and a Federal Express Airbus 320, which was the only large transport aircraft open for public tours this year.

“Once again the spirit of aviation within EAA helped us overcome challenges to make this the world’s greatest aviation celebration,” noted Pelton, who gave special thanks to the hundreds of volunteers for their service to make the event a success.

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh had the highest number of  commercial exhibitors ever this year with over 800.


EAA AirVenture Oshkosh has set its dates through 2020. While the 61st annual fly-in will be held July 28-August 3, 2014, future years will schedule the event to run completely in late July. That slight schedule shift affects only three or four years out of every seven, with a goal of ending on the last Sunday in July each year.

“We realize that the dates of EAA AirVenture affect yearly schedules for the entire aviation community, as well as events throughout Wisconsin and the Midwest, so we want to secure these future dates to minimize conflicts,” said Rick Larsen, EAA’s vice president of marketing.

The dates for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh through 2020 are as follows:
2014:  July 28-August 3

2015:  July 20-26*

2016:  July 25-31

2017:  July 24-30

2018:  July 23-29

2019:  July 22-28*

2020:  July 20-26*

(*denotes change from previous schedule format)

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