Welcome to Oshkosh and AirVenture 2011.
AirVenture is back—without hip waders or flotation devices!
Even Saturday’s morning storm couldn’t stop Wittman Regional Airport from taking on the trappings of those normal years as pilots, their families, and friends filled spaces with airplanes and campers, tents, and motor homes in places last year more suitable to waterfowl and off limits to feet or wheels.
Thousands already live the life of ultimate fly-in fans in Camp Scholler, and thousands more populate the aircraft campgrounds, from the North 40 to the sylvan stretches of Vintage and beyond to the green acres of “the farm” and its light experimentals, LSA, and ultralights.
It’s a place where we embrace our own individual passions for plane fun.
And each arrival triggers the salutation, “Welcome to Oshkosh.”
Welcome to AirVenture 2011.
Early show stoppers
AirVenture 2011 already boasts the largest wind indicator ever to visit Oshkosh: Eureka, the Farmers Airship conspicuously moored at the west end of Pioneer Airport.
You don’t need weather datalink to know which way the wind blows when this 246-foot-long wind vane points the way. Seats on one of its demo flights go for $399; move like the wind if you want one.
AirVenture 2011 also celebrates a century of naval aviation and lifetimes of achievements by design legends Burt Rutan and Chris Heintz, and pilot legend Bob Hoover.
The week promises the first AirVenture appearance of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner on Friday, the first public appearance in North America and the first public opportunity to tour the big twin.
Also due this week is another unique airplane, “FIFI”, the world’s only airworthy Boeing B-29, thanks to the efforts of Commemorative Air Force members, who also plan to bring several other air-combat veterans from the CAF’s storied collection.
For many thousands, AirVenture’s daily air show remains the signature element, and the lineup this year continues that tradition.
Pitts and T-6s, Yaks and Jungmeisters, Extras and Edges and helicopters, wing walkers and sky divers and more fill out seven afternoons of aerial excitement.
After dark Saturday the aerial entertainment continues with the lights, sounds, and flights of night aerobatics and pyrotechnics during the night air show.
In the dark the performers can still hear the crowd scream.
Opening day continues another tradition with Monday evening’s post-air show concert, this year featuring REO Speedwagon. They’ll rock ConocoPhillips Plaza with their own distinctive sounds.
You can start soaking up aviation legends at Theater in the Woods tonight and continuing every evening throughout the week.
Among the nightly sessions is the return of the Lt. Dan Band contributing to the down-to-earth fun and supporting wounded warriors with their Theater in the Woods concert Friday at 8.
And all week long you can enjoy movies about aviation and aviation people, some at the Theater in The Woods, several each day at the Skyscape Theater, and every evening at the outdoor Fly-In Theater—each preceded by an introduction from a noteworthy personality, including Robert “Ted Striker” Hays introducing the classic Airplane! in which he starred, EAA member David Ellison introducing the 2010 version of True Grit, and all starting tonight with EAA President Rod Hightower starting the show with Flight of the Intruder.
On Thursday at the Fly-In Theater, George Lucas makes his Oshkosh debut by introducing his latest project slated for release next year, Red Tails, about the Tuskegee Airmen.
KidVenture, Museum, and more
Across the show family fun and education abound at the AirVenture Museum and the KidVenture educational area on the north side of Pioneer Airport.
Pioneer Airport is also the base for regular helicopter tours around the AirVenture skies.