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Focus shifting to 2011
By Ric Reynolds
 
With one of the most challenging Oshkosh conventions ever near an end, let’s all catch our collective breath…and start thinking about 2011!

EAA officials are already making plans, and some themes are taking shape, according to Adam Smith, EAA vice president of membership who also coordinates AirVenture features and attractions.

“We’ve been named a ‘Tier 1 Event” by the U.S. Navy for its centennial celebration of naval aviation,” he said. “That will be one of the themes as we plan for 2011.”

Building off this year’s successful Electric Aircraft Symposium, electric aircraft should also figure prominently as the technology continues to evolve and commercial application creeps ever closer.

EAA is also pursuing some major aircraft attractions, including one that’s been out of this world and another that aims to be.

“We want to bring a Space Shuttle to Oshkosh,” Smith said, noting that the preliminary schedule for repositioning the soon-to-be retired spacecrafts to museums is favorable for an Oshkosh appearance. Also there’s been some advance legwork on whether Runway 18/36 is capable of handling a 747 with a Shuttle riding piggyback, and so far, so good. “Wouldn’t it be cool?” Smith said.

As would SpaceShipTwo (VSS Enterprise) and WhiteKnightTwo (VMS Eve), Virgin Galactic’s planned vehicles to take paying passengers into space.

The Commemorative Air Force has already confirmed it will bring the world’s only flying B-29, FIFI, here in 2011 as part of its Red, White, and Loud tour with country singer Aaron Tippin. CAF just missed having the plane here this year. Another strong possibility that was hoped for this year is Boeing’s new 787 airliner.

While EAA’s plans evolve in the coming year, Smith invites others to chime in with their suggestions. “We’re open to your ideas, be it a theme, group arrival, whatever, and the sooner the better.” E-mail him at asmith@EAA.org.

Interview with Adam Smith

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