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Barnstormers Logo ISSUE 443 - August 2016
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Oshkosh - Checking Out the Static Line-Up
By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer
Watford, Ontario, Canada
One of the most loved warbirds is the iconic Supermarine Spitfire. Pictured here is the Texas Flying Legends Museum MK959, beautifully restored in the colours of the Free French.
In North America, the mecca for most pilots and aviation buffs is, by far, a trip to the AirVenture Fly-in Convention at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Held at Whittman Regional Airport, along with the seaplane base on Lake Winnebago, the event draws in an enormous amount of aircraft from across the United States, Canada and even the occasional aircraft from outside of North America.
Some pilots didn't mind spending a few days, or the entire week, camped underneath or beside their aircraft, left. Others simply parked their aeroplane, right, having made other arrangements for accommodation.
Pilots and aircraft owners, crews, aviation buffs and their spouses (because the event draws in men & women) make plans, in some cases years in advance, to attend the event. Whether flying or driving in for the event, there are hotels or camp sites to be booked, contacts to be sorted, aircraft to be preened and polished, tents and camping gear to be purchased, friends to be contacted and excitement to be contained.
When you first enter the grounds from the main parking lot, you'll find a very large map, left, that can be quite useful before making your way to the exhibits and aircraft. There were lots of aircraft and aviation related exhibitors you can browse such as Aviat Aircraft, right.
All the information you need before heading to Oshkosh you are likely to find on their extremely informative website (listed below) from accommodation, exhibitors, feature attractions, daily airshow information & schedules, pilots and crews, airport information & so much more, everything you need to know before heading to AirVenture.
Probably the most popular of all aircraft at the show are the warbirds such as the P-40K Warhawk, left, and the FG-1D Corsair, right, both from the Texas Flying Legends Museum.
Whether you're attending the event as a social gathering to meet up with other like-minded people and/or aircraft owners, or you're interested in warbirds, aerobatics, classics and/or vintage aircraft, you'll find at least one of just about every type of aircraft still flying in North America and, in many cases, around the world.
The largest aircraft at the show was the USAF C-5M Galaxy, left.
Some of the smallest aircraft were various Pitts Specials, such as this one, right.
From ultralight & light sport aircraft to warbirds of all types, military aircraft and airliners as well as your every day general aviation aircraft such as Cessna 172s and Piper Cubs, there is something for everyone. Aircraft are arriving and departing throughout the day except during the actual airshows, using the 'left' & 'right' runways, landing as advised by the "world's busiest control tower" on one of the coloured dots. Oftentimes, you'll find 20 aircraft or more lined up along the taxiway awaiting departure while 4, 8 or even a dozen aircraft are inbound for landing. "Busy" is one way to describe it and pilots need to be experienced enough to handle the challenges of such a busy airspace!
At times, aircraft awaiting to depart numbered in the dozens
while awaiting the arrival of incoming aircraft.
Throughout the week of the event, Whittman ATC will arrive and depart in excess of 10,000 aircraft and, during the 2016 AirVenture Fly-in, there are days when pilots arriving in their aircraft who wanted to camp were turned away due to lack of space. With thousands of aircraft coming and going throughout the week, many of whom will camp locally or under the wing of their airplane, space is limited so book ahead and come early!
There were many exhibitors including aviation suppliers and aircraft manufacturers such as ICON Aviation, left, and Sonex Aircraft, right.
While attending Oshkosh you'll have the opportunity to, not only walk around the many aircraft, chat with pilots and/or owners, and see a vast number of these aircraft take to the air, you can also attend seminars and visit vendor booths situated in the exhibitors park. There are aircraft manufacturers, parts suppliers, pilot supplies vendors and much more. You would need at least one full day in order to spend time visiting the multiple exhibitors spread out through the huge exhibitors park.
There were a wide variety of aircraft from vintage twin engine aircraft such as
the Howard 500, left, and the late 1940s designed & built T-28 Trojan, right.
Aircraft parking areas were full of a huge variety of assorted aeroplanes from ultralights, to single engine high, mid and low-wing aircraft, biplanes, multi-engine aeroplanes, vintage, classics, warbirds, cold war jet aircraft, airliners and today's high tech military fighter jets. The numbers of aircraft, according to official Oshkosh tallies, were astounding to say the least but if you break it down to specifics those numbers included 2,855 showplanes, more than 1,100 homebuilts, over 1000 vintage aeroplanes, over 370 warbirds, more than 100 seaplanes, 135 ultralight/light-sport aircraft, 31 rotary aircraft, 41 aerobatic type and, finally, 20 "non-categorized" aircraft. Where else in the world are you going to see numbers & varieties like this?!
Warbird Alley is a warbird enthusiasts outdoor man-cave with rare warbirds like this Blue Angels Grumman Bearcat, left, and some of the dozen plus P-51 Mustangs, right.
Though aircraft came and went throughout the week, on any given day you would find "Warbird Alley" filled with millions of dollars worth of stunning, and in some cases, rare aircraft. There were, of course, the usual contenders such as T-6s, SNJs and Harvards, P-51 Mustangs, Stearmans and Yaks but then, alongside those, were the rare Grumman Bearcat, this one in US Navy Blue Angels colours, a Fairchild C-123 Provider and a Cessna Bobcat among many other stunning warbirds on hand.
Among some of the other warbirds were B-25 Mitchells, de Havilland Chipmunks, USAF Globe Swift, left, P-40s, Corsairs, beautiful example of the Grumman Duck, right, and many others.
Among those warbirds were a number of replica Japanese warbirds, B-25 Mitchell bombers, de Havilland Chipmunks, a Globe Swift, a Grumman Duck, a beautiful Mk IX Spitfire, a Stinson Vultee (available for sale), P-40 Warhawks, Corsairs, P-47 Thunderbolts, Cessna Skymasters, T-28 Trojans, Douglas Skyraiders, Lockheed & Canadair T-33s, L-39 Albatros and more. These aircraft represent different eras in warplane development and different wars but they all have something in common... they have been restored and are kept flying by owners, pilots, crews and maintenance folks who put their all into keeping them flying and in such great condition.
An assortment of beautiful twins such as the Beech 18/C-45, left, and other twins were parked together and this large Pitts Model 12, right, hanging out at the aerobatic booth.
There were also thousands of privately owned, civilian aircraft that were flown in for the event from your typical variety Cessna & Piper aircraft to a variety of Rutan designs, Zenith aircraft, Van's Aircraft, Pitt's and many, many more. Some of these folks flew in and parked their aircraft for the week, staying in tents with their aeroplanes or at local hotels, motels, B&Bs or in some cases with friends. Some owners only made day trips, meeting up with like-minded owners of the same aircraft type or maybe came in for the day to see a specific performer. Whatever their reasons, they were part of one of the largest aviation events in the world and it was an experience, for most, that they'll never forget.
Among performers at Oshkosh were the Super Hornet, left, and aerobatic display pilot and champion, Patty Wagstaff, right.
In the weeks to come we'll have a look at the various performers that graced the skies over Whittman field as well as other rare and/or unusual aircraft that attended the event. From the iconic Canadian Forces, RCAF Snowbirds aerobatic display team, assorted warbirds, to various single aircraft aerobatic performers and the new, high tech Super Hornet, there were aircraft and acts for all aviation interests. If there's something you want to see, something you've never seen before, an aircraft you're interested in purchasing or just want to see sleek, speedy, beautiful, loud, classic, vintage, powerful, performance and/or stunning aircraft, Oshkosh is the place to see it.
The Sintson Vultee, left, was one of a few aircraft that were available for purchase at AirVenture. The very sleek, and very quick, Lancair Legacy, right, on display in the exhibitors park.
One of the feature aircraft at the 2016 Oshkosh AirVenture Fly-in Convention was the Canadian Coulson Flying Tankers Martin Mars fire fighting flying boat, left. There were several different vintage/classic twins at the fly-in including Beech 18s, right, Lockheed Electra, Howard 500s and others.


The ICON A5 is a versatile aircraft, capable of landing on water or land. Another great feature is that it has foldable wings allowing it to be put on a trailer and tucked away in your garage or tucked away in a corner of a friend's hangar.


A beautiful and sleek looking B-25 Mitchell, "Russian Ta Get Ya!" and her nose art.


The unmistakable lines of the P-51D Mustang.
Canadian RCAF Harvard, protected by a canopy cover, left.
Similar to a Rutan Velocity, there were a couple of Speed Canard 1s on hand, right.


The ever popular and venerable Stearman, of which there were a half dozen or more.


Line up of Mustangs, left, and a line up of Harvards/T-6 Texans/SNJs, right.
By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer
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