The annual Experimental Aviation Association (EAA) AirVenture show officially opens tomorrow in Oshkosh, Wis., but aviation enthusiasts have been streaming in to Oshkosh Wittman Regional Airport for the past few weeks. This year’s show features plenty of excitement, including the Air Force Thunderbirds’ first Oshkosh appearance, NASA’s high-altitude WB-57, arrival of the first production HondaJet, Sonex’s SubSonex personal jet, Nextant’s G90XT cockpit mockup, the Cessna Citation CJ3+, celebration of the 50th anniversary of the King Air, the Valdez STOL demonstration of incredible short-field airplanes and tomorrow’s opening-night concert with Kenny Loggins and Blue Sky Riders.
This year the famous central arena is named Boeing Plaza, and the company is displaying its EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft demonstration trailer, which includes simulators that visitors can experience.
While many visitors journey to Oshkosh to see the latest and greatest, historical attractions are also an enormous draw. One such airplane that hearkens to the roots of EAA’s founding is late founder Paul Poberezny’s Mechanix Illustrated Corben Baby Ace, which members of EAA Chapter 640 have replicated just in time for this year’s show. Poberezny was working the replica himself just before his passing last August, and the chapter took on the project airplane, which received its airworthiness certificate about two weeks ago. The Baby Ace made its first flight on July 19 and it was scheduled to fly to Oshkosh from Wausau, Wis., the weekend before the opening of this year’s AirVenture, where it will be displayed at the Aeroplane Factory exhibit just east of Ace’s Bistro.
The Corben Baby Ace pictured on the cover of the May 1955 edition of Mechanix Illustrated launched EAA into the hearts and minds of thousands of future homebuilders. The magazine article’s headline was: “Build This Plane For Under $800 Including Engine.” The original Baby Ace is now located at the EAA Welcome Center in a display paying tribute to Poberezny.
Educational opportunities abound at AirVenture 2014, and in addition to the many forums and training sessions, the College Park area includes six main sections to serve all sorts of attendees. These include the Career Center; the Education Center presented by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; the Innovations Center presented by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association; the College Park Forums presented by FedEx; the QUAD presented by Alpha Eta Rho; and the outdoor exhibit area.
Furthering the effort to hone flying skills is the IFR Proficiency Center, a partnership between the IMC Club and EAA with technical sessions and eight Redbird simulators for pilots to practice flying instrument approach scenarios. The simulators are connected to PilotEdge live air traffic controllers for even more realistic IFR practice, and there is no charge to try out the scenarios.
Women in Aviation International, the Ninety-Nines and EAA are celebrating the seventh annual WomenVenture at this year’s AirVenture on Wednesday. The day begins with a networking WAI Connect Breakfast at the EAA Nature Center, followed by the 11 a.m. annual group photo on Boeing Plaza then the WomenVenture Power Lunch at the Theater in the Woods.
AirVenture visitors will notice some changes in the layout this year, with Beechcraft and Cessna now consolidated under the Textron Aviation umbrella and displaying 11 airplanes in one large area. On the Beechcraft side, these include a King Air 350i, King Air C90GTx, Baron G58 and Bonanza G36. The Cessna airplanes include a Grand Caravan EX, TTx, Turbo Skylane JT-A and Turbo Stationair, as well as three Citation jets–the CJ3+, M2 and Mustang.
Quest Aircraft is displaying the new Summit executive interior on its Kodiak utility single-engine turboprop and celebrating its 10th anniversary.
On Tuesday, Mooney Aircraft will announce the winner of the auction for its first production airplane in five years, an Acclaim S.
Embraer’s exhibit will feature the AirVenture debut of the Phenom 100E, the latest version of the entry-level jet with 11 new interior options, refreshment center, private aft lavatory, premium seats and inflight entertainment system. Embraer’s larger Phenom 300 light jet will also be on the company’s exhibit.
With FAA certification due early next year, Honda Aircraft returns to AirVenture with its first production HondaJet arriving at Boeing Plaza on Monday at 9:30 a.m. The HondaJet will move to Honda’s AirVenture exhibit area on Tuesday, where visitors can view a new demonstration of Honda’s iconic ASIMO robot as well as other Honda products.
On Thursday, the annual Gathering of Eagles dinner and auction features a one-of-a-kind F-35 Lightning II Ford Mustang, which celebrates the car’s 50th anniversary; proceeds help fund EAA youth aviation programs.
There will be no shortage of fascinating innovations, new aircraft, avionics and other aviation-related products and gadgets at AirVenture 2014, and AIN will provide full coverage of the show beginning tomorrow, including daily AIN News Live e-newsletters and comprehensive online coverage.