• Peter Hetherington
  • 29 Août 2019

AirVenture OSHKOSH 2019

60 warbirds were overhead simultaneouslyEvery year, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) organises a week long aviation meeting at Oshkosh, Wisconsin in the United States. This is undoubtedly the biggest aviation meeting in the world and I have wanted to attend Oshkosh for many years….so on July 2Ist, I headed off to the 2019 meeting where I spent five days.

To give some idea of just how big this event is, here are a few statistics for the 2019 event:

Attendance during the week: 640 000

Total aircraft visiting: more than 10 000

Aircraft operations: 16 800 in 11 day period, average 127 take offs/landings per hour

Aircraft on display: 2 758 including 1 057 homebuilt, 939 vintage, 400 warbirds, 62 aerobatic

Commercial exhibitors: 863

WOW !!!!!

Flying displays took place each afternoon for 4 to 5 hours and there were two 2 hour night time flying displays during the week. It’s difficult to pick out the highlights because there were so many but here are a few that really impressed me.

On the first day, 60 warbirds were overhead simultaneously in three formations, all trailing smoke. A quite fantastic sight to get thing started.

A line up on the taxiway of seventeen P51 Mustang warbirds, all revving their engines to full power before taking off for a formation flight.

F22 “Raptor” and F35 “Lightning” performing high speed, full afterburner flypasts and remarkable high-G turns and climbs.

A visit by Burt Rutan and a formation flying display of more than 12 of his “canard” type aircraft, including two “Defiants”, the inspiration for the “mini-Defiant” built at Lurcy Levis by our aeroclub president, Gerard Bourgoignon and visible from time to time at JP Chamignon airfield in Lurcy Lévis (France - Allier).

Firefighting displays by a Canadair and C130 Hercules.

Mock ground attacks by a USAF A-10 “Warthog” with huge explosions and pyrotechnics.

A Waco bi-plane fitted with a jet engine in addition to its standard radial engine, performing incredible high speed aerobatics.

Flight by a modified Yak warbird, with two aircraft joined together with a central spar and a jet engine mounted on the spar in addition to the two standard engines.

Freefall precision parachute displays and wing suit flying.

Two pre-war Ford tri-motor aircraft taking passengers on short flights.

Seven DC3 “Dakotas” in formation

Numerous quite remarkable aerobatic displays with aircraft skimming as low as 2 metres above the runway.

Boeing 747 and 787 aircraft taking off.

Night time displays with aircraft illuminated by fireworks, flares, flashing lights, lasers (for those of you who have seen the film “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” these displays could easily have been mistaken for the UFO’s).

The static displays and exhibitors’ stalls were so many that even in five days, I did not see everything, despite walking what seemed like endless kilometres. Of particular note were:

Airbus unmanned prototype electric powered aircraft with eight 85KW engines

Modern aircraft including USAF Super Galaxy, Boeing 747, Boeing 787, USAF C17, F22, F35,

Warbird fighters, Warbird bombers including B17 and B29.

ULM’s, Seaplanes, Helicopters, Gyrocopters, Vintage, Homebuilts

For those of who may one day think about going to Oshkosh, there are organisations that can plan these trips but you can also arrange the trip yourself as I did. I flew from Clermont to Paris then to Chicago on Air France. On arrival in Chicago I took a rental car for the three hour drive to Oshkosh, a very easy drive straight up the freeway. I had arranged to stay at the University of Wisconsin student accommodation which is just a few kilometres from the airfield. I ate meals in the student restaurant and a shuttle bus ran from the restaurant to the main airfield entrance every 30 minutes. It all worked extremely well.

All in all, an unforgettable experience and I highly recommend that all you aviation fans include this Meeting in your “To Do” list.

Finally, I have selected a few photographs to attach to this article. But if anyone is interested in more information, you can check out the https://www.eaa.org/airventure website.

P51 Defiant warbird Yak control tower
Warthog ground attack Close Encounters of the Third Kind C130 Hercules
Click on the pictures to enlarge