(Lead Photo Courtesy of Boeing Company)
Following a record-breaking show in 2017, EAA Chairman, Jack Pelton claimed it was possibly the best AirVenture week he had ever seen. Between the Apollo reunion, historic bomber flights, WWII reenactments and Blue Angels performances, EAA set themselves a high bar. Scheduled for July 23-29 this year, EAA hopes to build on last year’s success and host just as many – if not more – of the passionate aviators that unite to create the world’s largest aviation celebration.
“Everything came together last year – the weather, the programming, the airplanes…it was a full-house,” said Dick Knapinski, EAA Senior Communications Advisor. “Weather is always a wild-card, but we are fully expecting another 500,000-plus year.”
Last year’s show saw such an influx in attendees that some airplanes had to be turned away from Wittman Regional Airport. Aircraft parking and campgrounds (more than 11,000 sites) either reached or were pushing capacity for the majority of the week. This year, one of the core EAA initiatives is preventing a repeat episode of this logistical quandary. They have reanalyzed overall parking techniques, and have also carved out additional parking in the “South 40.”
“One of our topmost goals is to ensure that everyone who wants the unique experience of flying directly into Oshkosh has that opportunity,” said Knapinski.
Succeeding “Year of the Bomber,” EAA AirVenture 2018 is dubbed “Year of the Tanker.” Attendees will be treated to up-close looks at tankers and cargo aircraft including the KC-10, KC-135, C-17 and the monstrous C-5. The theme also dovetails nicely into a collection of historical anniversaries that will be celebrated throughout the week: the 70th anniversary of the Air Force Reserve (AFR) and the centennials of both the Royal Air Force and final year of World War I.
Saluting the Unseen
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Air Force Reserve, EAA AirVenture will be holding various programs, demonstrations and aircraft lineups throughout the week – with considerable support from the AFR.
“This year, we are saluting the folks who often carry out the unseen work, such as moving cargo or tanker aircraft, many of which are affiliated with AFR,” said Knapinski. “Oshkosh is a natural place for these Citizen Airmen to tell their story not only to fellow aviators, but the general public.”
Since 1948, the Air Force Reserve has played a critical role in the nation’s military and humanitarian operations. The division encompasses nearly 70,000 Citizen Airmen who carry out a variety of missions such as aircraft refueling, medical services, airfield operations, engineering, weather reconnaissance (“Hurricane Hunters”), combat rescue and others.
During AirVenture, Air Force Reserve Command aircraft will participate in the daily air shows, in addition to being displayed on Boeing Plaza throughout the week. Reserve Citizen Airmen will also actively participate in forums and programs, including WomenVenture.
2018 marks the centennial anniversary of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and the final year of World War I. Many of the aircraft participating in the week’s activities will be
connected to both anniversaries.
Formed toward the end of WWI, the RAF was formally founded in 1918 with the merger of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service. The service later became internationally recognized and revered following the heroism demonstrated throughout the Battle of Britain. The RAF also gained notoriety with the development of many early fighter jets. As a tribute, some of the oldest and rarest of British aircraft are expected to arrive to AirVenture, including the Gloster Meteor, the world’s oldest flying jet, and the rare de Havilland Venom and Vampire.
Additional World War I commemoration activities will include flying demonstrations on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays evenings. WWI programs will be ongoing throughout the week, and will largely take place in the vintage aircraft parking area on the flight line. Among the aircraft expected to be on display is a newly restored Dayton-Wright DH.4 Liberty biplane.
Two aircraft have caused rumblings throughout the industry and enthusiast base, as their debuts have become highly-anticipated AirVenture features this year: a one of a kind Yak-110 and an extremely rare XP-82 Twin Mustang.
New to the aerobatic scene, the Yak-110 is quite literally two Yak-55’s fastened together. As if that were not adventurous enough, a jet engine was then mounted in between the two fuselages to accompany the airplane’s two radial engines. Avid builder Dell Coller and aerobatic pilot Jeff Boerboon were the masterminds behind the project and are thrilled to bring the Yak-110 to its first AirVenture. The aircraft will be piloted by Boerboon.
Keeping in with the unique twin theme, the team behind the restoration the XP-82 Twin Mustang have been diligently working to ensure the aircraft makes its AirVenture debut. The rare aircraft has undergone an extensive 10-year restoration after aircraft restorer Tom Reilly discovered the complete airframe on a farm in Ohio. The XP-82 was originally designed as a long-range fighter escort to accompany B-29 bombers for thousands of miles on missions over the Pacific Ocean. Fewer than 300 of the airplanes were produced with the majority soon scrapped in the years that followed. AirVenture 2018 will be the aircraft’s very first public appearance.
The night airshows will showcase on Wednesday and Saturday night (schedule to be announced). To occupy your other evenings, consider taking a stroll down to the ultra-light area – they will once again hold a “twilight flight fest” on each non-night airshow evening. There you can find STOL aircraft, drones, paragliders and others “playing” on the grass strip as dusk settles on the grounds.
For the Warbird fans, other special aircraft to look out for this year include: Grumman F8F-1 Bearcat, Douglas A-26K Invader, Boeing B-29 Superfortress “Doc,” several Curtiss P-40s, multiple Grumman F7F Tigercats, North American F-86 Sabres, Lockheed T-33 Shooting Stars, a MiG-17 and Supermarine Spitfires.
“One of the really neat things about Oshkosh, it’s everything in flight – from the ultralight to the C-5,” said Knapinski. “It is all right here.”
While the overall procedure is generally similar to past years, there are a number of changes compared to the 2017 version. It is essential that pilots flying to Oshkosh thoroughly read the 2018 NOTAM for the most updated information. Some of those changes include:
- Oshkosh Taxiway Bravo has been realigned, with resulting changes to aircraft parking and camping areas;
- Oshkosh Ground Control frequency has been changed to 132.3;
- Descriptions of Seaplane Base procedures and Transient Helicopter area have been updated;
- Madison Approach Control frequencies and airspace boundary altitudes have changed;
- Two southern Wisconsin VORs have been decommissioned;
- IFR routings and the list of airports requiring IFR reservations have
Pilots can download a digital version of the NOTAM at www.EAA.org/NOTAM, or order a free printed copy via the website or by calling EAA Membership Services at 800-564-6322.