The pressure of this summer’s event made me finally finish catching up with old posts, so I’ll jump right into the first post for the 2011 convention information.
AirVenture will be part of the 100 years of Naval Aviation celebration. Navy Day will be on Wednesday, July 27, capped off by an evening forum featuring renowned astronauts, Capt. Gene Cernan and Capt. Jim Lovell. Adm. Gary Roughead, the current U.S. Chief of Naval Operations.
Former “Good Morning America” host David Hartman will moderate the evening program as Cernan and Lovell will recall how their experiences as U.S. Navy pilots forged their careers into NASA and space exploration. Additional special guests will be announced at a later date. Theater in the Woods programming is presented by M&Ms.
“Navy Day” will kick off with an “Honor Flight” that will transport approximately 80 World War II naval veterans from AirVenture on a Southwest Airlines 737 to Washington, D.C., where they will spend the day touring the memorials in their honor before returning to Oshkosh to a heroes’ welcome.
Among the dozens of unique aircraft anticipated are several World War II and Korean War-era naval warbirds, including the only flying SB2C Helldiver Navy dive bomber in the world, one of two airworthy PV-2 Harpoons, OY1/L-5B USMC Observation aircraft that saw combat during the Battle of Iwo Jima, a rare Temco Pinto jet trainer, TBM Navy torpedo bomber featuring the paint scheme of the aircraft flown by President George H.W. Bush, an award-winning SNJ Navy trainer, F8F Bearcat in a Blue Angels paint scheme, Grumman J2F Duck Navy amphibian, F4U Corsairs, FM2 Wildcat, and F7F Tigercat.
Vietnam War-era will be represented by a Douglas R4D, Douglas AD Skyraider, Douglas A-4 Skyhawk, and North American T-2 Buckeye, with more to be added. Bookending the centennial attractions are a replica of the Curtiss-Ely Pusher that made the first carrier landing on the deck of the USS Pennsylvania in 1911 and more than 25 current naval aircraft repainted in colors from previous eras.
“Super Saturday” is sponsored by Southwest Airlines. It kicks off at 6 a.m. with a mass hot air balloon launch in the Ultralight area, and concludes with a feature film at the EAA Fly-In Theater, presented by Ford Motor Company and supported by Hamilton Watches, following the Daher-Socata Fireworks & Wall of Fire. The day also features the annual Runway 5K run/walk throughout the AirVenture grounds, beginning at 7 a.m.
The Saturday airshow will feature a Warbirds Extravaganza, then Aaron Tippin will take to the Theater in the Woods stage for an evening concert featuring many of his hits. Aaron appears in association with the Commerative Air Force who will be bringing FIFI, the world’s only airworthy B-29 “Superfortress,” to AirVenture after a 16-year absence. The Saturday night airshow will feature AeroShell Aerobatic Team (T-6s), Bob Carlton (Jet sailplane), Gene Soucy (Showcat), and Matt Younkin (Twin Beech) along with addition of Steve Oliver (Chipmunk). This will be followed by a fireworks show.
Southwest Airlines also will be supplying the aircraft for an “Honor Flight” that will depart from AirVenture on Wednesday, July 27, for Washington, D.C., where approximately 80 World War II veterans will have the opportunity to visit the powerful memorials dedicated in their honor.
The opening day concert, presented by Ford will present REO Speedwagon. The $60,000 Electric Flight Challenge will award prizes to aircraft that have the best endurance, speed and time to climb.
Tuesday July 26th will be Bob Hoover Day. Hoover, a 1988 inductee to the National Aviation Hall of Fame, and long-time EAA supporter, is best known for his air show performances in a Shrike Commander and P-51 Mustang and in a flying career dating back to World War II. The day will feature an afternoon air show with many of the legendary aircraft flown by Hoover over the years, in addition to programs chronicling his experiences and achievements.
Thursday July 28th will be a Tribute to Burt Rutan. Rutan is the founder and chief technical officer of Scaled Composites in Mojave, Calif., recently announced his retirement effective April 2011. He is best known for his unique, innovative airplane designs, many of which were first seen by eager homebuilders annually at AirVenture, like the VariViggen (his first), VariEze, and Long-EZ (his self-described “best” homebuilt); one-off marvels like the Boomerang, Voyager, GlobalFlyer, Grizzly, and SpaceShipOne; and, most recently, SpaceShipTwo and WhiteKnightTwo.
EAA is working with builder, owner, and pilot groups to encourage a major gathering of Burt Rutan-designed aircraft at AirVenture 2011, and will also create a special parking area for them on the flightline. Well-known Rutan aircraft designs will also be on prominent display and serve as a backdrop for various presentations during the week, as well as featured in the afternoon air show on Thursday, July 29.