Wednesday, September 28, 2016

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016: EAA Memorial Wall Receives 2016 Dedications

Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo traditional EAA Memorial Wall Ceremony was held on Sunday morning, on the last day of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016.  During the ceremony, the names and biographies of those EAA members who have passed away in the last year were  presented to the audience of family and friends.  Their names are also dedicated on the EAA Memorial Wall that serves as the backdrop for the gathering.  A wreath was posted near the wall by EAA Chairman and CEO, Jack Pelton, and a "Missing Man Formation" was flown by several of the airshow performers.   

The Aero Experience was honored to attend and present this story in dedication to those remembered at the ceremony and into the future, including our friends Joe Dobronski and  Bob Kraemer, who both passed away recently.  

The EAA Memorial Wall

Chaplain Cam Martin opens the ceremony

Jack Pelton reads the names of those dedicated this year
A wreath is posted near the 2016 dedication

McDonnell Douglas Chief Test Pilot Joe Dobronski 

U.S. Navy Veteran and EAA 32 member Bob Kraemer

Family and friends can rub off the names of loved ones from the wall

P-51 Quick Silver and Aeroshell Team members lead the formation

Missing Man Formation passes over the ceremony

Monday, September 26, 2016

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016: Wicks Aircraft Supply Enters Field of Solar Powered Vehicles

Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo Aero Experience coverage of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016 continues with a look at a Midwest Aviation business that has ventured into the area of solar power technology.  Wicks Aircraft Supply Company of Highland, IL has been serving the aviation community since 1974, and has shown an inherent ability to serve a variety of industries with their specialty products, materials and excellent customer service.  The Wicks Aircraft Supply Company, a favorite of experimental aircraft builders, is an outgrowth of the Wicks Organ Company (founded in 1908).  For more about the Wicks family of companies, please see the excellent article on this link.

The Aero Experience Team made sure that we visited the Wicks Aircraft Supply booth at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016, and we were intrigued by a new project under development: Solar power kit built into the roof of their golf cart, constructed using the latest solar cell technology and composite roof materials.  Company President Scott Wick (left) and project leader Zach Crawford proudly showed us their new product just outside the exhibit hangar.    

Zach Crawford described the features of the solar power roof kit: 

It contains 400 watts of solar panels using high-quality mono-crystalline cells.  A small instrument panel in the cart shows the amount of current battery charge, voltage and amperage production from the panels, and the total power production from the onboard batteries.  The 1500 watt inverter provides a power source for common consumer products. 

"The goal is to have a very simple kit that anybody can install that will have just two wires leading down from the roof to plug in," Crawford said.  "We ran this here for five days, and it ran very well," he added.  Scott Wick was quick to mention the practical uses of a solar- powered cart during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016.  "A cart like this can be very useful in a camp ground like this, providing transportation and power to the campers...They can get around and cook their coffee as well."  Of course there is no need to find a recharge station.

Scott Wick predicts that the solar power roof kits will be available as a regular product by the end of 2016.  "This is a prototype that we built over the last several months, and so far it's working really well," he told The Aero Experience.   "We will supply this as a kit so the customer can hook it up themselves."  The kit will contain the roof with the solar panels, the instruments described above, inverter and necessary accessories with straightforward installation instructions.         
Future developments may include solar roof kits for larger transport carts and utility vehicles for groundskeepers and maintenance crews.  The inverter will provide the added value of electricity to operate and charge power tools and other devices in the field as well.    

This video clip describes the features and uses of the solar power roof kit on an operational cart:

The Aero Experience thanks Scott Wick and Zach Crawford for showing us their new solar power roof kit, and we look forward to checking back with Wicks Aircraft Supply for updates soon.

Friday, September 23, 2016

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016: Zenith Aircraft Company shows Off Current and Future Designs

Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo Zenith Aircraft Company had an impressive exhibit again in the Homebuilt Area at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016.  The Zenith Aircraft Company was formed in 1992 to manufacture kit-built aircraft in their Mexico, Missouri facility featuring designs based on the Zenair designs from Chris Heintz.  In addition to the excellent design of the aircraft models offered in kit form, the company maintains generous customer service and building assistance programs that make the purchase and building processes more successful. According to company President, Sebastien Heintz, Zenith Aircraft Company sales have been steady, even during the recent economic downturn, due to the soundness of the aircraft kit designs and the customer support given to each new owner.  Advanced technology manufacturing techniques have made the parts relatively easy to assemble, and the numerous hands-on workshops give ample opportunity for new kit owners to assemble one sub-assembly at a time as they progress through the building process.  Each aircraft is designed to offer ease of assembly, fuel economy and flight performance.  

The Zodiac CH 650 is the stylish, sporty model with excellent visibility and great flight performance.  A variety of engines and instrument combinations may be used with the aircraft.  The STOL CH 750 and STOL CH-701 offer short-field, off- airport performance with plenty of interior room for two and luggage.  The bubble door window offers excellent visibility and the beefy landing gear gives off-field capability with steerable nose landing gear.  

A new model offering will be the SAM-EX design acquired by Zenith Aircraft (and Zenair Ltd. in Canada) last year.  It is being improved and prepared for production and is based on the prototype that has been exhibited for several years.  It has a retro military trainer look and uses aluminum skin over steel frame construction.  It will be offered in quick-build kits and will offer a variety of engine and avionics options for each kit.  Check the Zenith Aircraft SAM page for production updates.    

Zenith Aircraft has regular builder workshops and annual Open Hangar Days, including this weekend, September 23-24.  These events are great opportunities to visit the factory, interact with the friendly staff and go on a demonstration flight around the local area.  We highly recommend a visit to this great Midwest Aviation aircraft maker.   

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016: Young Eagle Flight Milestone Reached, Marks Success of Program

Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo EAA's Young Eagle Program reached an historic milestone at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016 - the two millionth Young Eagle was flown during a ceremonial flight Thursday afternoon.  The program, founded in 1992, provides youth 8-17 years old the opportunity to experience flight through the volunteer efforts of local EAA chapter members.  EAA chapters conduct Young Eagle flight events regularly at local airports during the good weather flying months throughout the U.S.  These events can be found on the EAA Young Eagles Schedule website.

The commemorative flight was conducted along with several other Young Eagle flights on the overcast and drizzly Thursday afternoon.  Four flights were given in rapid succession:

No. 1,999,998: Pilot Jeff Skiles (Co-pilot on Miracle on the Hudson jet) flew Braeden Edbert (10) of LaValle, WI
No. 1,999,999: Pilot Sean Tucker flew Owen Wrolstad (13) of Oshkosh, WI

No. 2,000,000: Pilot Harrison Ford flew Jodie Gawthrop (16) of Westchester, IL


No. 2,000,001: Pilot Fred Stadler (6,500 YE flight veteran) flew Annalee Wrolstad (11) of Oshkosh, WI

Coverage of the Young Eagle flights was very challenging, as the non-EAA media was kept out of the immediate area of the aircraft as they prepared for the flight.  We apologize to Jeff Skiles and Braeden Edbert for not providing photos of their flight due to lack of access.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016: The Phantoms Depart

Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo AirVenture Oshkosh 2016 provided the last opportunity for many attendees to see, hear and FEEL the power of the mighty McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II during the appearance of two of the remaining manned QF-4E jets. Two QF-4Es were on static display for a few days during the week - one in Boeing Centennial Plaza with aircraft from the Operation DESERT STORM era and the other in the Warbirds Area.  As expected, both jets were popular with visitors, and pilots Lt. Col. Ron King and Jim Harkins were in the plaza to meet the Phantom Phans.   But alas, they had to depart on Thursday. 

These manned QF-4Es were used in Heritage Flight performances in recent years, so they were clad in the more attractive Vietnam-era and "Hill Gray" paint schemes.  The aircraft are from the 82nd Aerial Targets Squadron, Detachment 1, based at Holloman AFB, NM.  The last unmanned QF-4E operational target mission was flown on August 17 when several missiles from an F-35 failed to actually hit the aircraft, which later landed.  These aircraft were scheduled to make appearances at several other events following EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016, and all QF-4E operations will cease by the end of 2016.  The QF-16 will take over the aerial target mission, and in fact some have been flying for several years out of Tyndall AFB, FL.

The Aero Experience captured these images of the two Phantoms as they were positioned on the runway and during takeoff: