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EAA AirVenture Today is published by the Experimental Aircraft Association for EAA AirVenture from July 27 - August 3. It is distributed free on the convention grounds as well as other locations in Oshkosh and surrounding communities. Stories and photos are copyrighted 2008 by EAA AirVenture Today and EAA. Reproduction by any means is prohibited without written consent.


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The official daily newspaper of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Volume 9, Number 2 July 28, 2008     

Jet sentinels greet Warbird visitors
By Frederick A. Johnsen

Photo by Frederick A. Johnsen

A quiet lineup of Cold War jets at the west end of the Warbird area at AirVenture 2008 speaks volumes about their era. The straight-wing Republic F-84C Thunderjet represents a breed of fighter that briefly held a U.S. speed record—611 mph—in 1946. Cruising at 436 mph, well above the speeds of World War II piston-engine fighters, the F-84 would nonetheless be eclipsed by the advent of sweptwing jets to follow.

Lockheed’s F-80 Shooting Star, another straight-wing jet that beat the F-84 into the air, cruised at a similar 439 mph. To the F-80 goes credit for being victorious in the world’s first all-jet air combat, when a Shooting Star flown by U.S. Air Force Lt. Russel Brown downed a MiG-15 over Korea on November 8, 1950.

A two-seat trainer version of the Shooting Star—originally called TF-80 and later T-33—faces the line-up of jets at the Warbird area. T-33s trained thousands of American fliers as well as jet pilots from many countries around the world.

French interpretation of a training jet comes in the form of a Fouga Magister in the line-up, its unusual V-tail marking its presence. Two Soviet designs—a Korean War-vintage MiG-15 and a Vietnam-era supersonic MiG-21—add counterpoint to the display.

A brilliant red Hawker Hunter Mk. 51 from the mid-1950s represents an aesthetic and effective supersonic contender from Great Britain.

And the fabled war-winning F-86 Sabre, represented by a Canadian Sabre Mk. V built by Canadair, shows the pace of development of early jets. Post-dating the F-80 and F-84 by only a few years, the sweptwing Sabre cruised at faster than 500 mph. The Sabre and the opposing MiG-15 quickly and starkly validated the improvements offered by sweptwing technology in the skies over Korea.

These jet warbirds on display at AirVenture 2008 survived the decades by several means. Service in various countries prolonged the lives of some of them beyond that envisioned by their designers, and license-built foreign variants also kept some of these historic shapes viable and available.

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