EAA AirVenture Oshkosh - The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration

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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedHigh Hopes For AirVenture Hatz Gathering
Organizers hope 40 Hatzes will attend this year's EAA AirVenture Oshkosh for the biplane's 40th anniversary of its first flight. But even if they don't reach that number, they're optimistic about setting a record for the most Hatzes to congregate in one place.

"We really don't have a number of how many Hatzes will fly to Oshkosh; that will depend on the weather," said Chuck Brownlow, of Waupaca, Wisconsin, and past president of the Hatz Biplane Association. "We're hoping to get the largest gathering ever - at least 15 or 16."

The late John Hatz, of Gleason, Wisconsin, designed and built the bi-plane dubbed CB-1, and first flew it in 1968. Along with the original model are the Hatz Classic, Hatz Bantam, Hatz Custom, and the Smith Mehlin Warner Hatz.

The planes and pilots will first converge in Brodhead, Wisconsin, from July 25-27 for the 10th Annual Hatz Biplane Fly-in and annual meeting. Then as many of them as possible will fly to Oshkosh on July 27 as part of "H20"-"Hatzes to Oshkosh."

The association estimates there are 150-175 finished Hatzes worldwide, although nearly 1,000 sets of plans are in circulation. The last Hatz gathering in Oshkosh was in 1990, when 14 of the biplanes gathered, he said.

"It really is a miracle to get a number of these planes together because they are spread throughout all 50 states and seven or eight foreign countries," he said. The group has members in Germany, New Zealand, Australia, France, Great Britain, and Hatz projects are under way in South Africa and Switzerland.

For Brownlow, the Hatz has a certain magic associated with it. He personally felt that magic when, in 1997, he first saw the plane as he walked around the convention grounds.

"I was planning on buying a totally different airplane when I saw the green upper-wing and went closer to see what it was," he said. "I looked it over and totally forgot about the other plane that I was thinking of building."

To Brownlow, the Hatz mixes romance with practicality. "It looks like a plane from the late 1920s, but the engine is a fairly simple aviation engine, and it's a little smaller than your typical antique biplane, which makes it less expensive," he said. "Plus, it's easy to build. Anyone can build one if you take it one piece at a time."

Brownlow started building a Hatz in July 1999 and is getting close to his own first flight. The parts are complete, and he's ready to paint and assemble it.

Usually fewer than 10 of the biplanes show up at Oshkosh, but they tend to get noticed, Brownlow said, as they've received a number of coveted Lindy and Grand Champion awards over the years.

Hatz owners wishing to participate in this year's anniversary celebration should contact Brownlow at brownlowod@aol.com or visit the association's Web site at http://www.weebeastie.com/hatzcb1/ for more information.


FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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