|The P-51 Twilight Tear, Ron Fagen's 2011 Warbird Grand Champion, will be featured on Thursday, July 26, at 1 p.m. along with R.A. "Bob" Hoover in the Warbirds in Review program. (Paul Bowen photo)
The Warbirds in Review presentation schedule for AirVenture 2012 is out, focusing largely on this year's "Greatest Generation in the Air" theme at Oshkosh with tributes to the Doolittle Raiders, Tuskegee Airmen, and the Piper Cub's 75th anniversary.
Two presentations are scheduled each day at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., Monday, July 23, through Sunday, July 29, and will be held at the special aircraft display area in Scotts Warbirds Alley.
"Thanks to the generosity of Warbird members and supporters, and the commitment of EAA Warbirds of America and EAA, we continue to improve the Oshkosh experience," said Chairperson Connie Bowlin. "Attendees will enjoy better seating and an enlarged Warbirds in Review this year."
In addition, presenters will hold autograph sessions following their presentations and all books mentioned below will be available in Warbird Merchandise throughout the week.
2012 Warbirds in Review schedule
Monday, July 23, 10 a.m. - L-19 Bird Dog - Vietnam tribute: The service of Charlie Finch and Doc Clement, who flew the L-19 Bird Dog with the 220th Catkillers, will be highlighted. Both are featured in the book A Hundred Feet Over Hell, a thrilling account of the mission of this little airplane and "ordinary men, doing extraordinary things." Plane owner: Randy Maiville. Book signing: 11 a.m.
Monday, July 23, 1 p.m. - P-38 Glacier Girl: This year marks the 20th anniversary of Glacier Girl's first trip to Oshkosh after being recovered from beneath 268 feet of ice in Greenland. Pat Epps and Richard Taylor, who founded the Greenland Expedition in 1981, will tell the story of the many expedition attempts that led to their success in 1992 - the year they brought the recovered wreckage directly to Oshkosh for the EAA Convention and Fly-In. Bob Cardin, project manager during the 1992 rescue effort who later directed the 10-year restoration, will describe the challenges and triumphs of recovery and restoration. Plane owner: Rod Lewis.
Tuesday, July 24, 10 a.m. - F-4D Phantom and MiG 21: This special presentation tells the story of duty, service, and the spirit of mankind with General Dan Cherry and Nguyen Hong My. The two airmen waged battle in 1972, but are friends today after meeting under more amiable circumstances in 2008. Their story is told in the book My Enemy, My Friend. An excerpt: "On April 16, 1972, the F-4D Phantom pilot Major E. Daniel Cherry engaged in a difficult, often frustrating four-minute pursuit of an elusive MiG-21 before finally blowing off its right wing with an AIM-7 Sparrow missile. For Dan Cherry, the most memorable postscript to the engagement was narrowly passing the enemy pilot (Hong My), hanging beneath his parachute." My Enemy, My Friend book signing at 11 a.m. MiG 21 owner: Paul van den Heuvel. The F-4 is from Tyndall AFB.
Tuesday, July 24, 1 p.m. - Tribute to the 75th anniversary of the Piper Cub with combat veteran Paul Harrington: Warbird enthusiasts are looking forward to seeing Cubs in military colors with appearances by a Piper L-4 Grasshopper owned by Harold Cannon and a Navy variant NE1 owned by Jim Rezich. Harrington will discuss flying with the 62nd AFA Bn as an artillery spotter in Europe from October 1944 to VE Day - when his unit was supporting Patton's 3rd Army in Czechoslovakia. Harrington later served with the occupying army until 1946. He will also pay special tribute to the liaison pilots who did not return.
Wednesday, July 25, 10 a.m. - Corsair: This session features Medal of Honor recipient Capt. Thomas J. Hudner (ret.), Corsair owner Doug Matthews, Wildcat owner Conrad Huffstutler, and a recently recovered Navy aircraft. The Corsair is painted like Capt. Hudner's aircraft that he flew and crash-landed in an attempt to save Ensign Jesse L. Brown. The MOH citation reads in part: "While attempting to rescue a squadron mate whose plane, struck by anti-aircraft fire and trailing smoke, was forced to land behind enemy lines ... fully aware of the extreme danger in landing on the rough, mountainous terrain and the scant hope of escape or survival in subzero temperature, he put his plane down skillfully in a deliberate wheels-up landing." Capt. Hudner will hold an autograph session at 11 a.m.
Wednesday, July 25, 1 p.m. - P-51s Old Crow and Gentleman Jim with Bud Anderson, Jack Roush, and Jim Hagedorn: Col. C.E. "Bud" Anderson will appear with P-51 owners Jack Roush and Jim Hagedorn. Fellow 357th Fighter Group pilots refer to Bud Anderson as the best pilot in the group, who with 16-1/4 victories is the leading living American Ace of the European Theatre. NASCAR team owner Jack Roush and Jim Hagedorn, CEO of the Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (Scotts Warbird Alley sponsor), share a passion for the warbird aircraft and those who serve. Col. Anderson's To Fly & Fight book signing at 2 p.m.
Thursday, July 26, 10 a.m. - B-29 and B-17: Theodore "Dutch" Van Kirk, now 90, is the only remaining crewman from the Boeing B-29 Enola Gay, which dropped the first atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Dutch had previously served on B-17s. Obviously the CAF's B-29 FIFI is too large for the Warbird ramp area, so the choice of aircraft in this session will likely be the B-17. Dutch Van Kirk's My True Course book signing at 11 a.m.
Thursday, July 26, 1 p.m. - R.A. "Bob" Hoover with the P-51 Twilight Tear, 2011 Warbird Grand Champion owned by Ron Fagen: Considered by his peers as the "pilot's pilot," Hoover has flown in thousands of shows in more than 300 types of aircraft, and he's flight tested or flown just about every type of fighter aircraft. Twilight Tear is one of the rare P-51s that actually served in World War II and carries the original paint scheme. (WWII veterans have been overheard saying, "They weren't this nice!") Bob Hoover Forever Flying book signing 2 p.m.
Friday, July 27, 10 a.m. - P-40s: The appearance of three beautifully restored Curtiss P-40 Warhawks with paint schemes from different theatres of operation is a unique opportunity to compare the missions and the aircraft. If you were a P-40 crew member, please accept this invitation to join aircraft owners Ron Fagen, Rudy Frasca, and Rod Lewis for this tribute to the P-40.
Friday, July 27, 1 p.m. - Tuskegee Airmen, with the P-51, T-6, and PT-17: All three aircraft carry the Tuskegee paint schemes. Many events featuring the Tuskegee Airmen are scheduled throughout AirVenture. The appearance of the airmen with three of the aircraft types they flew will be a highlight you won't want to miss. Look for more details as the schedules are finalized.
Saturday, July 28, 10 a.m. - B-25 and the Doolittle Raiders: This session features Lt. Col. Richard Cole, 96, copilot in aircraft No. 1 piloted by Jimmy Doolittle, and Master Sgt. David Thatcher, 91, engineer/gunner, aircraft No. 7. The B-25 Panchito, owned by Larry Kelley and proudly sponsored by the DAV, will be featured. On this, the 70th anniversary of this historic mission, it is an honor to welcome these gentlemen to Oshkosh. The Raiders Cole and Thatcher will be in Warbird Merchandise at 11 a.m. to sign autographs. They offer a print for sale for $30 to benefit their education fund.
Saturday, July 28, 1 p.m. - AeroShell Aerobatic Team and its T-6 Texans: With the colorful air show paint schemes one might forget that these aircraft are the warbirds that were flown by the Army Air Corps and Navy to train many pilots for later duty flying front line fighters. The team's short presentation last year was so well received people asked for more. Spectators will learn about the characteristics and missions of the T-6/SNJ, and team members will hold an autograph session in Warbird Merchandise immediately following the presentation.
Sunday, July 29, 10 a.m. - The Best of the Best: The 2012 warbird aircraft judging results will be announced the night before and the award winners will be invited to display their aircraft on the "Warbirds in Review" ramp, giving the attendees an opportunity to view and ask questions about the world's finest restorations. Also, 2011 award winners will be assembled on Scotts Warbird Alley.
Sunday, July 29, 1 p.m. - Red Star Aircraft: The Red Star Pilots Association promises an interesting presentation with plans to feature aircraft that may include a MiG, CJ, L-39, and Yak-52. Owners and pilots will be on hand to present these foreign warbirds to the visitors.
Note: A very special flight is planned for Friday morning - "The First and Last Bombers Over Tokyo" with Dick Cole in the B-25 Panchito and Dutch Van Kirk in the B-29 FIFI.