Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Aero Experience Begins Year-Round Coverage of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019 Aero Experience team officially begins our signature year-long coverage of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019! We spent 11 days on site, gathering nearly 60,000 photos and video clips from the nation's largest aviation event to share with you over the coming months, through the winter and into next summer. This series is made possible by our sponsor, Elite Aviation, the premier flight school and aircraft service provider located at Spirit of St. Louis Airport. We appreciate their support for our coverage of this and other Midwest Aviation events.   

Our presentation will follow The Aero Experience theme of providing our first-hand coverage while encouraging everyone to experience the wonders of aviation for themselves. We hope that what you see regularly posted here will be educational, entertaining and inspirational in the pursuit of aviation for those already in the industry and for general audiences alike.

Fred Harl and Carmelo Turdo at the 
50th Anniversary Brown Arch
Our team coverage will include a mix of in-depth articles, pictorials and videos that will attempt to convey a portion of the overwhelmingly vast array of activities and events occurring at any given time during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019. Wittman Regional Airport, Pioneer Airport, the Seaplane Base, EAA Aviation Museum and the surrounding grounds were abuzz throughout our visit, and we will include views from all of those locations. We will also go behind-the-scenes and include a look at the unique institutional features of this venue. It is indeed a world of its own!

As reported in the EAA-provided graphic below, the attendance and activity numbers for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019 speak for themselves:

EAA graphic

This introductory post will merely illustrate how much there was to see during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019. Though we are still in the beginning stages of sorting the media, it is a good time to begin the series with a look at some highlights. Our general approach to gathering media included a combination of attending media events held in the Homebuilts, Vintage, Warbirds, Ultralights and Forums Areas or at an exhibitor while systematically visiting each geographic area to see what was organically happening. Add in daily airshows, special events connected to the EAA 50th year at Oshkosh and the Apollo 11 moon landing commemoration and hundreds of other sponsored gatherings, and you can see the magnificent dilemma. Thanks to the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019 website and EAA Communications Director, Dick Knapinski, for keeping us well informed.

First thing is the obligatory photo at the Brown Arch, the gateway symbol of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh and a memorial to fallen aviators.

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019 celebrated 50 years at the Oshkosh location (see '70 on the Brown Arch above) and the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. We include here a photo of the 50 Years at Oshkosh display of original attending aircraft and a press conference with Apollo 11 Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and test pilot and Space Shuttle Commander Joe Engle.

The week started off on a wet note, with rain coming before and during the weekend prior to the official opening day. The fields where the campers and aircraft were to gather were temporarily bogged down, but they eventually dried up enough to continue on opening day. Nothing to see here...

Two more staples of the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019 experience are flights available in one of several Ford Trimotors and in the Bell 47s that are constantly overhead. Both aircraft are nostalgic and fun. The helicopters also provide a photo platform for some aerials of the grounds.

We begin early to catch the aircraft arrivals prior to the public opening day. A volunteer ramp crew handles aircraft of all sizes as they come to Boeing Plaza for placement or for towing to their exhibit area.

Most of the military jets that will fly in the airshows or be later displayed in Boeing Plaza are kept on another apron. Here is a sneak preview.

The main aircraft exhibit area is Boeing Plaza, as pictured in the aerial photo above. Each day brings a different arrangement according to aircraft availability and scheduled events. The F-22 and F-35 were under armed guard at all times. 

Exhibitors covered a large portion of the grounds - everything from aluminum polish to business jets, and everything else in between (not necessarily aviation related). Much more will be included in future posts. Featured here are the Innovation Center complex, major sponsor Ford Motor Company and the Old Crow Mustang (which sold for $400,000 toward aviation scholarships), Piper Aircraft  and St. Louis area natives Parks College of St. Louis University and Wicks Aircraft Supply.

Homebuilts are the original passion of the EAA, and they have their own major display area. The Vicki Cruse Pavilion of the IAC hosts aerobatic forums and aircraft displays, including the Giles 200 types used in the airshow. 

While we were visiting the area, we found our friend, David Adams, with his LongEZ. We congratulate him on receiving the 2019 Excellence in Air Racing and First Place Experimental Sprint Awards from the AirVenture Cup Committee. Congratulations Dave!


The Homebuilders Area also hosts forums and workshops, including one shown below teaching fabric covering of aircraft structures.

One of the many special events during the week was a salute to Burt Rutan. He was present at several forums concerning his deigns and was honored with a fly-past of aircraft in one of the airshows. A display of his aircraft designs was also held in Boeing Plaza.

In the Ultralight Area, aircraft were flying in the morning and evening hours. Here we see ultralights and light sport aircraft making approaches.

The metal gets a bit heavier in the Warbirds Area and during the airshows. Here we feature the Warbirds of America Memorial, Brad Deckert's beautiful TBM Avenger, the Class of '45 Mustang and Corsair formation, P-51 Mustangs, an early Mustang and Spitfire arrive, the only flying XP-82 Twin Mustang and a mass formation.

World War II triple-ace and test pilot Bud Anderson was honored with a Mustang Salute and served as Grand Marshall of the Veterans Parade.

The Vintage area contained an amazing collection of aircraft, including Cessna 195s, Douglas DC-3s and practically every other type made prior to 1970. Daily presentations by prominent vintage aircraft owners were held near the Red Barn.

The Aero Experience partner Patrick McAlee visited EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019 during the week with his Pitts S-1GT, the Blue Demon. Visit Patrick McAlee Airshows-ExtremeFlight and check back frequently for more news on his great airshow season. Here he shows off his Softie Parachute.

The airshows at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh were outstanding, including more military aircraft in both Heritage and Legacy Flights and top civilian performers. Here is just a small sample of the daily airshows, featuring the F-22 and F-35 fighters and fire tankers.

We met a few of the performers along the way, including Michael Goulian, Kyle Franklin, the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team, Julie Clark and Patty Wagstaff.

The Saturday night airshow was also amazing. Much more on that coming in a later post.

WomenVenture is the mid-week celebration of women in aviation. This year, a United Airlines Dreamliner brought a planeload of participants. Others already on the ground joined them for the day's activities. Here we see the arrival, group photo and open jet display.

The Seaplane Base and EAA Aviation Museum are must-see destinations during the visit to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. Here are a few glimpses before we revisit them in future posts.

Prior to leaving the Oshkosh area, we visited Basler Turbo Conversions for a tour. The Aero Experience has been in contact with Basler since last fall upon learning that they had acquired a Douglas DC-3 that had been sitting at St. Louis Downtown Airport for many years. We were able to see her again on the Basler apron, where she will remain until she is taken into the facility for rebuild. We thank the management and crew at Basler for their hospitality, and will post more about our visit in the near future.

We hope you enjoyed this brief overview of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019. We will continue this series regularly, so check back often for more Midwest Aviation coverage from The Aero Experience.

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