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E.A.A 64 History and Innovation, Music and Fun

eaa_2BY George Halas

The E.A.A. Air Venture Oshkosh 2016 July 25th through the 31st, “brings airplanes and people together like no other place in the world.”

The 64th annual Experimental Aircraft Association fly-in convention, the “World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration,” will take place at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.

“This is a mix of history and innovation,” said E.A.A. Communications Director Dick Knapinski. “This is more than just an air show, it’s a phenomenon. No place has the same feel. This is the biggest one. This is THE place.”

Some of the history this year includes Boeing’s 100th anniversary, the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and the 25th for Desert Storm.

The 100th anniversary of The Boeing Company, the world’s largest commercial and military aircraft company, will bring a unique collection of airplanes and presentations. Many of the airplanes will be displayed on EAA AirVenture’s main showcase ramp, which has been dubbed “Boeing Centennial Plaza” for this year’s event. Those aircraft include current commercial and military aircraft as well as historic Boeing airplanes from the company’s first 100 years.

“Boeing aircraft have touched nearly every part of civilian and military aviation history over the past 100 years, so we’ll rightly celebrate that century of innovation at Oshkosh this year,” said Rick Larsen, EAA’s vice president of communities and member programs who coordinates features and attractions at AirVenture. “From vintage biplanes to huge jumbo jets, at AirVenture you’ll see how Boeing shaped the world of flight.”

Among some of the highlights during AirVenture week will be the arrival and display of a Cathay Pacific 747-8 freighter on Saturday, July 30th, which has been named “Boeing Day” at E.A.A.. There will be other historic Boeing aircraft, such as the B-17 “Flying Fortress” and the B-29 “Superfortress.” Prior to the night air show on July 30, Boeing historians and officials will also present highlights from a century of Boeing aircraft production during a Theater in the Woods program.

“For 100 years Boeing has been the leader in the aviation industry,” said Sherry Carbary, vice president of Boeing Flight Services. “As we start our second century, we look forward to celebrating our centennial at EAA AirVenture with our customers and aviation enthusiasts.”

Along with the July 30 festivities, an Alaska Airlines 737-800 will be in Oshkosh on Wednesday, July 27, to participate in WomenVenture Day at Oshkosh, of which Boeing is the presenting sponsor. The airliner will be flown by an all-female crew and bring more than 100 female Alaska Airlines employees to be a part of WomenVenture activities, which highlight the possibilities to increase the number of women in the aviation industry. Also that day, FedEx will showcase a Boeing 767 freighter.

A major gathering of Stearman biplanes built in the 1930s and 1940s is also scheduled during EAA AirVenture 2016. These airplanes are a major part of the Boeing legacy and will be displayed in both the vintage and warbirds aircraft areas. The Stearmans were among the most popular primary training aircraft for military pilots during the World War II era.

This year’s AirVenture expands to include Lake Winnebago as the Martin Mars, the world’s largest flying boat, will land and be displayed there.

The aircraft of Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield, which formed one of the largest air power operations in history, will return to AirVenture for a look back 25 years after this massive undertaking. The commemoration this year will feature many of the aircraft that were highlighted at the 1991 EAA Fly-In Convention, which attracted many of the aircraft used during Operation Desert Storm. In addition, military commanders of that operation will recall their experiences during that multi-national operation, which began after Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

The aircraft already confirmed for this year’s AirVenture gathering include fighter jets such as the F-15 Eagle, F-16 Falcon, A-10 Warthog, and F-18 Hornet. It also includes such support aircraft as the KC-135, EA-6B, and C-5M. Many of the aircraft used during those operations remains valuable assets for the U.S. military today. In addition, the Air Combat Command F-16 Viper Demonstration Team will fly as part of the afternoon air shows on Friday through Sunday, July 29-31.

On Friday, July 29, Gen. Chuck Horner – who commanded U.S. and Allied air operations in Desert Storm and Desert Shield – will be the guest of honor at an evening “Salute to Veterans” Day program at Theater in the Woods. Gen. Horner will be joined by Gen. Gilmary Hostage, who flew combat missions during Desert Storm.

“The planning, coordination and execution of what amounted to more than 100,000 sorties in a 43-day period during Desert Storm was a historical achievement in military aviation history,” Larsen said. “We are proud to welcome the soldiers, aviators, and aircraft of that operation to Oshkosh for a remembrance a quarter-century later.”

Award-winning swing band Big Bad Voodoo Daddy joins the marquee musical lineup that also includes Third Eye Blind, Survivor and Ladies Who Swing as the grand finale of a daylong salute to veterans on Friday, July 29.

One of the nation’s most prolific and energetic bands, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy will take to the stage on AirVenture’s main showcase square for an evening performance hosted by EAA Warbirds of America and Disabled American Veterans.

“Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s music is the perfect finale to a full day of events that will honor American veterans and active duty personnel at AirVenture 2016,” Larsen said. “The band’s music not only evokes memories of the original swing era, but their enthusiastic following also bridges generations, just like the activities at Oshkosh.”

“The DAV is thrilled to bring our message of service to America’s veterans and their families to this year’s air show at Oshkosh,” said DAV National Commander Moses A. McIntosh Jr. “Sponsoring such a talented band is our way of thanking the patriotic citizens who attend events like these in their unwavering support of honoring the men and women who served.”

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