Thursday, August 27, 2015

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015: Boeing Plaza - RIMOWA F13

Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo Aircraft collection on display in Boeing Plaza at EAA AirVenture 2015 included a very special aircraft that connects the past with the present in a very unique way.  A reproduction of the classic Junkers F13 was available for public viewing at the RIMOWA exhibit adjacent to Boeing Plaza.  The RIMOWA Junkers F13, with its aluminum finish and 1920s styling, stood out in contrast to the dark grey Boeing B-52H strategic bomber and other modern aircraft parked nearby.  The story behind the project is inspiring to those working hard to preserve aviation history and support the current aviation industry at the same time.
Junkers F13 was the first all-metal commercial aircraft, making its first flight on June 25, 1919.  Hugo Junkers envisioned a post-World War I commercial aircraft effort to produce metal aircraft that were economical, reliable, comfortable and durable.  Metal planes, he reasoned, could fly in all weather and be left outside of hangar if necessary.  Junkers Chief Designer Otto Reuter’s solution was a 6-passenger aircraft made of duralumin (aluminum alloy) with tubular spars, tubular metal framework without longerons, and corrugated metal wing skins all providing light weight and strength.  Two crew sat behind the engine in an open cockpit while four passengers at in two seats and a bench seat in an enclosed cabin.  Floats and skis could be also be fitted for cargo/postal and exploration flights.  Over 300 were produced and served around the world.  

The budding aviation industry inspired RIMOWA of Cologne, Germany, to produce aluminum (duralumin) suitcases to protect belongings from tropical conditions while also being light and strong.  The connection to Junkers lies in the use of duralumin for manufacturing.  Fast forward from the 1930s to the present, and there is a second confluence of the two different industries using aluminum for aircraft and luggage again to revive the legacy of the Junkers F13.  EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 was chosen as rollout site because of the exposure the project would receive from the massive captive audience attending the week-long event.    

The current F13 reproduction was initiated in 2009 by Friends of Historical Aircraft Association, Swiss airline JU-AIR,  RIMOWA and other manufacturing and engineering firms.  The engine on the current model is the Pratt &Whitney R-985, a 450hp radial from Aero Recip of Winnipeg, Canada.  Although not the original engine, USA export models of F13 were fitted with R-985 engines in the 1930s.  The cockpit replicates 1920s configuration, with additions necessary for current government approval regulations, and the cabin interior models the high-end standard of leather and interior paneling.   Flight performance is close to the original F13 – slightly faster but with slightly less range.  The first flight is expected in March 2016, with certification in May 2016. 



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015: Boeing Plaza - Starship and Jet Cozy

Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo Plaza at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 contained many aviation treasures, as noted in the current series of features.  Anything from modern military jets to World War II warbirds could be found on any given day.  The two aircraft featured today do not fit well in any conventional category, and have become icons due to their unique designs and development histories.  

The Starship was a collaboration between Beechcraft and Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites formed to create a business aircraft that would be bigger and more efficient than the King Air series in the early 1980s.  During the production of an 85% proof of concept aircraft by Scaled Composites, the design of the full-scale Starship was underway at Beechcraft.  Due to the use and certification of new composite materials in a business aircraft, and difficulties integrating subcontractors into the production process, the program slipped well behind schedule and costs mounted. The first production Starship was ready in late 1988, and 53 were produced before the program was cancelled.  At least 24 were destroyed after being bought back by Beechcraft, and five remain airworthy.  One of them, N514RS, was on display in Boeing Plaza and flew in the airshows (see future posting) by pilot/owner Robert Scherer of Aspen, CO.

The Cozy homebuilt aircraft began as a derivative of the Rutan Long-EZ that was designed by Nat Puffer in the mid 1980s.  Originally in a two-seat (side-by-side) pusher propeller canard configuration, later models have grown to accommodate three or four-seats.  Aircraft Spruce and Specialty is currently the sole distributor of CozyAircraft plans and supplies.  On display in Boeing Plaza was the Jet-powered Cozy, "Kerosene Dreams," powered by a 600lb. thrust GE T58 jet engine.  Owner Ryszard Zadow of Waller, Texas hoped to use the aircraft on display to bring attention to his initiative to establish a Rutan Aircraft Flying Museum.      


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015: Boeing Plaza - F-22 Raptor and F-35 Lightning II

Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 has been recognized as not only the largest U.S. aviation event of the year, but also the place to see a great variety of aircraft not available elsewhere.  Two of the three main military attractions (besides the B-52) were the next generation of tactical fighters - the Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor and the F-35A Lightning II.  

The F-22 Raptor Demo Team has been performing at airshows for several years, and Major John Cummings and his team did not disappoint the airshow audience this year (the Raptor's airshow performance will be featured in a future post).  One of the two Raptors was on display in Boeing plaza during the week along with the first public display of the U.S. Air Force's new F-35A Lightning II, the Joint Strike Fighter, now entering service with U.S. and allied forces.  Two F-35As arrived on Wednesday prior to the afternoon airshow, and one was on display in Boeing Plaza for the rest of the week.  Both aircraft were roped off and under military armed guard.  Here are some views of both jets in Boeing Plaza:



Monday, August 24, 2015

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015: Boeing Plaza - Sample of Unique Aircraft on Display

Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo aircraft on display in Boeing Plaza at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 included a sample of unique models that are not usually seen in the same place.  Where else can you find the Airbus Perlan (with the A350), Cirrus Dude Air Jet, FedEx Airbus A300 and U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier II together?  

The Airbus Perlan project goal is to produce a pressurized glider that can fly at the edge of the atmosphere.  The mission of the Perlan Project Mission II (now in development) is to study stratospheric mountain waves and their effect on weather.  Later developments of the aircraft will aim for reaching transonic speeds at 100,000 feet.  

Another unique aircraft in Boeing Plaza was the Cirrus SF50 Vision personal jet with Dude Air promotion for the Monday Dierks Bentley country music concert.  Bentley, a current Cirrus pilot, has ordered the Vision jet as well.


On the other side of the size scale, a FedEx Airsbus A300F was available for public walk-through access.  The aircraft stood out among the smaller aircraft, but had to compete for attention beside other large aircraft such as the Airbus A350 and B-52.  The FedEx freighters are always an attraction among the static displays in Boeing Plaza.

In the later days of the week, two U.S. Marine Corps AV-8B Harrier II attack jets arrived.  One was used for the airshow and another was in Boeing Plaza for several days.  The Harrier II is a popular attraction in the air and on the ground, and made for a great addition to the military aircraft returning to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015.