Airventure, the US Experimental Aircraft Association’s great annual show was a showcase for home- and factory-built aircraft, new and old − and one or two notable debuts
Novelties at Oshkosh (Airventure electrics ‘extra’ p. 52)
Oskosh enjoyed perfect weather through nearly all the week of Airventure, which was a big contrast to the massive storms which left five inches of rain on the grounds the Friday and Saturday before the fly-in started. The rain left many areas waterlogged, with some aircraft parking areas closed until Tuesday to allow them to dry off. Despite this there were still 2,758 ‘show planes’ registered, including 1,057 homebuilts, 939 vintage aircraft and 400 warbirds. The event attracted a record 642,000 visitors, who came to see not just the aircraft but 863 commercial exhibitors, plus forums, workshops, presentations and, of course, the airshow.
The EAA was celebrating its fiftieth Oshkosh fly-in and there were a good number of aircraft present that had been to the first event and even some that had
flown to all fifty. While highlights among the warbirds and vintage aircraft are reported in ‘Old Timers’ (p.56) section, there were also many great homebuilts on show, both vintage and new, and some terrific flying displays, not the least being the ‘Air Attack’ demonstration of fire bombers, which starred the Viking Aerospace (Canadair) CL-215, supported by a Colorado ANG C-130, Air tractor 801, Aerocommander spotter plane and a flyby from a vintage A-26
This was another fantastic year for Oshkosh and Airventure: a week spent immersed in aviation with plenty for everyone to see, but never enough time to see it all.
For your diaries, next year’s dates have already been announced: 20 to 26 July
2019 marks fiftieth time the EAA has held its grand, and ever-expanding fly-in at Oshkosh Wittman Regional Airport (OSH)
1932 Pietenpol Aircamper, which flew to the very first EAA convention at Oshkosh in 1953 before the event moved to Rockford and then back to Oshkosh in 1970
CLOCKWISE FROM ABOVE: Game Bird duo (designed by Philip Steinbach and first produced in the UK at Wickenby, these aircraft are now made in Arkansas); Cub Crafters’ tri-gear NXCUB, intended to be easier to handle; Czech Koinzer Explorer, an all-composite, PT-6 engined six-seater flown across the Pond for Airventure; Curti Zefhir – first helicopter with a ballistic parachute recovery system; Texas Colt, a Rotax 912 engined, tube frame and composite LSA with a 485 lb useful load and 75% cruise speed of 110kt; a ‘new old’ aeroplane in the form of the KIP Aero Sopwith 1½ strutter kitplane, powered by a superb replica Gnome Monosoupape 100hp rotary engine manufactured by CAMS (Classic Aero Machining Service) in New Zealand; Viking Aerospace (Canadair) CL-215 in display action; this year’s Grand Champion plans-built homebuilt, Rutan Long Ez N82EZ; another ‘new old’ aeroplane – albeit more of a lookalike than a true replica – Timber Tiger’s 95% scale Ryan ST-L, designed for D-motor LF-39, Rotax 912 or Walter Mikron III power; and the ‘quantum leap forward’ NG, latest aerobatic design from Extra – an all carbon composite aircraft with a 315hp Lycoming AEIO-580 engine