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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS Feed Top 11 of 2011 'Flying Under the Radar' at AirVenture
Plenty of rare, historic, and just plain 'cool' aircraft to be found

Among the 10,000 aircraft appearing at AirVenture, some tend to stand out a little bit more. Whether because of uniqueness, history, flying characteristics, or simply looking pretty cool. From the dawn of flight to current innovations, there's plenty of aircraft to absorb in just seven days.

Adam Smith, EAA vice president of membership, shares with you his "Top 11 of 2011" aircraft appearing at AirVenture that may be "flying under the radar."

TBM 3-E Avenger
Dozens and dozens of unique, awe-inspiring aircraft will comprise the largest gathering of naval aircraft spanning all eras ever assemble in one location for the Centennial of Naval Aviation festivities. Just like every aircraft at Oshkosh, there's a story behind each one of them. But very few can tell a story like this Avenger. This one is a genuine World War II veteran, having fought in the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. Want proof? Check out the bullet holes.

TBM 3-E Avenger

Super Salto
There's no question many of large and noisy jets that attend AirVenture tend to get much well-deserved attention. Bob Carlton's jet-powered sailplane, however, is at the opposite end of the spectrum - simply quiet and serene. Carlton "stole the show" with a beautiful balletic performance at the inaugural Night Air Show in 2010. We're really looking forward to seeing him fly again.

Super Salto

F8F Bearcat
We'll have pretty much the full range of "cats" that served in the U.S. Navy at Oshkosh this year, with everyone having their favorite. Mine is the Bearcat, a beautiful airplane with a fine reputation among those who flew it. Plus, this particular one's paint scheme reminds us it was used by the Blue Angels in their first season, way back in 1946.

F8F Bearcat

PC Aero Elektra One
The new generation of electric-powered aircraft is emerging, with many on display at AirVenture 2011. I've chosen the Elektra One from Europe because it looks like an interesting and practical design, has a great team of people behind it, and Oshkosh will be its first major public appearance in the U.S.

PC Aero Elektra One

Bleriot XI
History is always alive at AirVenture. You don't need to look further than EAA's Bleriot XI replica to see that. Fresh off the first "flight" of the five-year project, attendees can see the airplane in a special Airmail Centennial exhibit this year and is painted to represent the aircraft that Earle Ovington used in 1911 to make the first airmail flights in the U.S. Demo runs of its 101-year-old Anzani engine will be held throughout the week. Don't stand too close behind it, however, as you may get sprayed with castor oil!

Bleriot XI

Focke-Wulf Fw 190s
For years, we've been waiting for this legendary Luftwaffe fighter to fly at Oshkosh. When it rains, it pours (insert "Sploshkosh" joke here). This year, we have at least two Fw 190s confirmed to appear, and potentially another on its way. They will play an integral part in the Tribute to Bob Hoover on Tuesday, July 26, recalling the infamous story that involves Hoover stealing an Fw 190 to aid his flight from captivity at the end of World War II.

Focke Wulf Fw 190

Rutan Boomerang
Burt Rutan considers the Boomerang one of his greatest accomplishments, and rightly so. It's an incredible combination of performance, safety, and the unmistakable "look" of a Burt Rutan aircraft. Missing from the Oshkosh landscape for about a decade, the Boomerang is being prepared for flight by a group of Scaled Composites employees in order for one of Burt's most unique and eye-catching designs can be represented at the Tribute to Burt Rutan planned for Thursday, July 28.

Boomerang

Fairey Swordfish Mk.III
Vintage Wings of Canada is bringing one of the largest biplanes you will ever see - one that has a great "presence" in the sky and on the ground. Even though it was slow and lacked adequate defense, the "Stringbag" was considered one of the finest naval aircraft of the World War II. Originally designed as a reconnaissance aircraft for the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm, this lumbering biplane anachronism flew on into the era of high-performance monoplanes, even jets, and achieved phenomenal success. The Swordfish is a unique addition to the Centennial of Naval Aviation celebration.

Fairey Swordfish

P-51D Twilight Tear
Fresh out of restoration, Oshkosh will host another aircraft with genuine World War II combat history. So fresh, in fact, that the nose art for the aircraft will be painted on the airplane during AirVenture. Watch this among all the great activities taking place on Scotts Warbird Alley.

P-51D Twilight Tear

Sonex Onex
With great looks and performance at a very affordable price, Sonex Onex seems almost singlehandedly to be making the single-place airplane cool again. While a lot of the excitement and attention at Oshkosh falls on expensive hardware, the Onex reminds us that, particularly in the homebuilt areas, there are dozens of "dream planes" that are within the reach of your average Joe (or Jane).

Sonex Onex

Rutan VariEze prototype
It surprises me how many people have been coming to Oshkosh for years, but have never made a visit to the EAA AirVenture Museum. You have one of the world's greatest aircraft collections at your fingertips included right in your admission ticket! There are many gems amongst the 150 aircraft on display, with my personal favorite being one of the youngest. Burt Rutan's prototype VariEze caused a sensation when it first appeared at Oshkosh in 1975 and helped launch a career that, quite literally, went into the stratosphere. The VariEze represents the spirit of innovation that runs deep through EAA and Oshkosh.

VariEze


What aircraft are in your Top 11 of 2011 for AirVenture? Feel free to use the Facebook comments section below to offer your menu of "must-sees."

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