Greetings from The Aero Experience Team


The Aero Experience is a celebration of Midwest aviation and aerospace achievement. We invite you to join us as we explore the treasures of Midwest aviation through first-hand experiences. Our contributors take turns flying lead, and we are always looking for new destinations. Check in with The Aero Experience frequently to see where we will land today, and then go out and have your own aero experiences!

Blue skies,

Carmelo Turdo, Mark Nankivil and Fred Harl - The Aero Experience Team

Sunday, August 20, 2017

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017: Boeing Plaza - Unique aircraft and Wrap-Up

By Fred Harl
The Aero Experience coverage of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017 continues with a look at a number of unique aircraft on display as we wrap up our look at Boeing Plaza.  Here we include more of the civilian, military, experimental and warbird aircraft following another look at Boeing Plaza in general and the ground crew who worked there during the week.  We hope you have lived the experience of visiting Boeing Plaza with us in this series, and will join us for our next series featuring the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017 airshow performers.

The Boeing L-15 Scout, one of only twelve produced in Wichita from 1947-1949, was a light observation/liaison aircraft designed to fill the gap between fixed wing and the budding rotary-wing designs.  Those produced were tested by the U.S. Army, and though no contracts were let, they were transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska.  Ironically, it gained more success as a flying scale model aircraft design.

The Beechcraft MC-12W Liberty is operated by the U.S. Army (formerly by the U.S. Air Force at Beale AFB, CA) for surveillance and intelligence gathering missions.  Used extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2009, they have flown over 400,000 combat hours and aided in the elimination of thousands of terrorist threats to U.S. and Allied forces.     

Secretary of the Air Force, The Honorable Heather Wilson, visited EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017 on Wednesday to celebrate WomenVenture Day.  A graduate of The U.S. Air Force Academy and current private pilot, Secretary Wilson is pictured here speaking with the B-52 crew in Boeing Plaza.

The only flying Fairchild C-123K Provider, Thunder Pig, was also a unique aircraft on display in Boeing Plaza.  This aircraft, delivered to the U.S. Air Force in 1956, served with units within U.S. until 1985.  Others of the type earned a reputation for rugged service in Southeast Asia as an intra-theater cargo carrier, defoliant sprayer, surveillance aircraft, night flare dispenser and participant in clandestine missions with the CIA's "airline," Air America.  The Air Heritage Museum of Beaver Falls, PA operates the aircraft in honor of those veterans who served in the Vietnam War.    

The DeHavilland NU-1B Otter is the oldest aircraft currently used by the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School.  The school uses the aircraft to teach low-speed handling and STOL skills while flying a mechanically controlled, conventional landing gear aircraft.  This ensures that the service pilots can adapt to flying aircraft other than only those in the active inventory.  

The Embraer Millennium Phenom features exterior graphics celebrating the Star Wars Millennium Falcon. Owner Mark Holt needed a small jet for his business, and the Phenom was the perfect choice.  Wanting to make the customer's flight experience memorable, he decided to paint the aircraft in a unique scheme - a base of blue and gray inspired from an F/A-18 Hornet and the Star Wars theme images airbrushed by Artistic Aviation in Oregon.   

The Scaled Composites Proteus is a unique aerial platform designed to carry payloads up to one ton on high-altitude surveillance, commercial imaging, atmospheric research and air launch missions.  It has flown missions for NASA, universities and other research organizations, and has set several altitude records for its class.  In nearly 20 years of service, it has demonstrated the longevity of its original design.     

A very unusual aircraft, the JetEZ, is a development of the Rutan LongEZ line and developed by Lance Hooley of Kissimmee, FL.  Conceived in 2004, the aircraft first flew in February.  Resembling it's smaller, piston-powered ancestor, the JetEZ is essentially a new aircraft housing the GE T58-8F helicopter engine.  The flight envelope is being expanded to include 310kt cruise speed at 18,000 feet.  

The Stratos 714 is a new very light jet design manufactured in Redmond, OR.  The composite airframe and advanced aerodynamics allow for a flight envelope that includes carrying six passengers and crew at speeds from 80-400kts with a proven single PW Canada JT15-D5 engine.  The 714 is in the development stage, and several years away from FAA certification.

We conclude our coverage of Boeing Plaza with a return to current military service aircraft.  This T-6 Texan II is from the 37th Flying Training Squadron, the "Bengal Tigers," from Columbus AFB, MS.  

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