EAA’s annual AirVenture in Oshkosh Wisconsin brings in over 10,000 planes and 500,000 people from 80 countries. These numbers make Wittman Regional Airport the busiest airport in the world for the seven days the event runs. I have been lucky enough to have attended 4-5 over the years, including this year (Friday, July 29th).
The EAA AirVenture is more than aerobatics, it’s a massive celebration of aviation in many forms, including: warbirds, vintage, homebuilts, ultralights, current and even reconstructed military planes, not to mention, hands-on workshops and informative programs.
Something to note, all of these planes fly-in, they’re not rolled off a flatbed. An unbelievable amount of time, money, and passion has been put into fixing the planes and then maintaining them. Like the B-25 Mitchell shown in the banner. Over 9000 were built during the second world war, of which only ~34 are still airworthy.
One might say it was perfect for an extended jaunt outside on a July day in Wisconsin. 65-70 degree Fahrenheit, light breeze, limited sun, wet/cool from last-night’s rain. Although I’m sure I wouldn’t have survived a normal sweltering summer day, the lack of light (overcast day) makes photography a little more challenging.
This 65 year-old F4U Corsair didn’t mind the wet. Why should I? I say, make the most of the it. -Not too bad, if I say-so myself.
One thing that you could not have missed on Friday was this behemoth moving-out. The C-5M Super Galaxy is a U.S. Air Force heavy cargo transport. It stands ~60ft tall and is about 5 school bus lengths long! From almost anywhere at AirVenture you could spot this guy. At about 10am the Super Galaxy started backing out of its spot, dead center of the airshow, and taxing on the runway.
Modern and vintage planes alike, all planes have a place at the EAA. This U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet caught my eye whilst on the ground...
...it shook my sole in the air (flown by United States Navy Demo Team). If you have never heard; or felt for that matter, the roar of a modern American fighter, it can not be explained, you must witness it.
Every start to a good-ol American event needs a flag and the national anthem, the folks at AirVenture have a unique approach to this.
This MiG-17F, a Vietnam era jet fighter, made for quite a show, especially with its afterburner's ~7000 pounds of force.
This F16 Viper held its own. As the first aircraft able to withstand higher g-forces that their pilots, the Air Force put the Viper to work, showing off some amazing agility.
David Martin flying in his 1930s German Bücker Jungmeister put on a stunning routine- it was like he was dancing on the clouds.
You know that “WrrRRRrrrRRrrr” noise you made when you were a kid, pretending to be an airplane? The Aeroshell Aerobatic Team, flying their 1938 T-6 Texan’s, are the epitome of that sound and feeling.
Did someone say flying boat? The Martin Mars (Hawaii), with a wingspan similar to a Boeing 747, is the world’s largest operating seaplane – built as a transport plane during WWII, it’s considered to be the largest warbird. Now, with the ability to hold over 7000 gallons of water, it’s the world's largest water bomber! There’s nothing like dropping thousands of gallons of water on a pyrotechnic display.
The Screamin’ Sasquatch; flown by John Klatt, is a one of a kind phenomenon. A 1929 Taperwing with a Pratt & Whitney 985 Radial Prop Engine combined with a General Electric J85 Jet Engine (3,000 pounds of thrust). With the addition of a few other modernizations, this plane can accomplish amazing feats, that many other stunt planes can’t, such as going straight up! It was like watching a Buick LaCrosse tear-it-up in a drag race -mind blown.
I’m glad I was able to check the Canadian Snowbirds airshow off my bucket list. I wasn’t terribly impressed, in comparison to the Thunderbirds or Blue Angels that is. To be fair, this was their rehearsal for a later show...
...Either way, their gracefulness in the sky made great entertainment. That little Rudolph nose-light was adorable too.
The AirVenture also hosts WWI and WWII reenactments! Those participating legitimately setup camp and live there for the week, rain or shine. This photo shows some classic World War II pilot and mechanic gear through the era.
Something that always surprises me at AirVenture is the people. Everyone always seems to be in a good mood, strangers will strike up interesting conversations, people are always willing to answer questions, show you around their planes...it’s a great atmosphere.
Maybe I’ll see you there next year!!??!
I’m still experimenting with my new (about a year-old) Canon 7D Mark II. Considering I can take 10; yes ten, pictures in a single second, it was easy for me to take over 3,800 photos (over 80 GB) Friday!
I have also been really enjoying my Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Lens. It’s a decent quality, not the best for extremes though. That said, it has made me lazy about lens swapping…16-300 -who needs a different lens? I might as well just glue the sucker to my Canon body (just kidding).
Alrighty 'nuff said.
Mike Goulian, Extra 330SC
Geico Skytypers, T-6 Texan SNJ-2
Douglas A-1 Skyraider
F/A-18F Super Hornet
Matt Chapman, Extra 330LX
Kirby Chambliss, Edge 540