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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedUltralight area chock-full of innovation
By Kristy Hemp, EAA AirVenture Today

Photo by Chris Miller
A threesome of ultralights head west into the sunset.

July 30, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin  - The Ultralight area is expecting 160 ultralights to arrive this year at AirVenture, and one thing is for sure: the innovative ideas came with them. “Flightstar’s e-Spyder with an electric motor is on display for the first time at AirVenture,” Timm Bogenhagen, EAA ultralight programs manager, said. “We have an electric-powered paraglider that is here for the first time also. Ultralight helicopters are on display, and then there’s the Back Yard Flyer Swing-Wing Ultralight.

“The wing is one piece; you twist it 90 degrees and put it the back of your trailer in about a minute. There’s a lot of innovation out here to see.”

There’s also some history, as “antique” ultralights are highlighted. What’s considered an antique ultralight you ask? Any ultralight that has been flying for more than 25 years falls under this category. “I’d call them classics rather than antiques,” Korean veteran Henry Bader of Le Mars, Iowa, chuckled.

Whatever you call them, these ultralights are from a time when people learned how to fly an ultralight on their own. “Their first flight was their first solo,” Bogenhagen explained. “They would talk to someone about flying ultralights, read some books, and work up to flying them.”

EAA now offers ultralight enthusiasts a source to talk to and get advice from. AirVenture attendees can visit the “Chicken Coop,” or the covered porch on the side of the Ultralight Barn, and find ultralight and light-sport counsel on hand to talk to during the show. The Tech Counselor Tent, directly in front of the Ultralight Barn, will be teaching fabric covering daily throughout the week.

Interested in food, flying, fun, and friendship in no particular order? You can visit the ultralight chapter tents and speak with chapters 1, 30, and 75. While you’re there, wish Chapter 1 a happy 30th birthday.

The Ultralight area is known for allowing attendees to get up close and personal to the grass strip to watch the ultralights in action. If weather conditions are right, each day you can see powered parachutes fly from 7 to 9 a.m.; fixed-wing ultralights, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.; homebuilt helicopters, 12 - 3 p.m.; fixed-wing again, 6:30 - 7:30 p.m., and powered parachutes, 7:30 - 8 p.m.

“One misconception is that everything in the Ultralight area is an ultralight,” Bogenhagen pointed out. “If it has the performance and operating characteristics of an ultralight, it could be down here.”

Catch up on some hangar flying at the ultralight pig roast Saturday, August 1, at the EAA Nature Center. Tickets are $14, and you can buy them at the Ultralight Barn.

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