When you ask aviation fans which airshow they most anticipate each year, one name rises to the top, Oshkosh. An incredible event that brings in a multitude of fans, this event is something any aviation fan must attend at least once in their life.
Current Military Aircraft
F-35 Lightning II
This aircraft is a fifth generation fighter. It will be used by multiple United States service branches, including the Air Force, Navy, and Marines.
This will be the aircraft’s initial appearance at Oshkosh this summer. If you are looking to see how far aviation technology has advanced, look no further than the F-35 Lightning II. Designed to be extremely versatile and function in numerous different roles, it combines stealth, sensor fusion, and unprecedented situational awareness.
Did you know? The “Lightning II” got its nickname in honor of the legendary P-38 fighter of the WWII era.
When you get a chance to see an aircraft that is referred to as “the backbone of the United States Air Force for over 50 years”, you don’t miss that opportunity. This will be the main showcase at Oshkosh this year.
Some incredible facts about the B-52H Stratofortress:
– Has a wingspan of 185 feet and a body that stretches 159 feet
– Capability of carrying 70,000 lbs of bombs, in other words, 22 Toyota Camrys
– 3 B-52s shot down MIG-21 aircraft in Vietnam making the B-52 the largest air-to-air killer
– In an emergency, the 2 crew on the lower deck eject downwards out of the aircraft
– Commonly referred to as “BUFF” (Big Ugly Fat F*****)
– Collaboration of over 5,000 companies to create this aircraft
The Air Combat Command (ACC) has approved the incredible United States Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter jet for an appearance at Oshkosh 2015. Attendees will get to see a full demonstration, as well as, the Raptor fly in the U.S. Air Force Heritage Flights.
The AV-8B Harrier is always popular at Oshkosh. The Marine Corps confirmed its AV-9B Harrier Level III aerial demonstration will be one of just nine public displays in the United States this year.
The Level III aerial demonstration is about 8-10 minutes long and displays abilities such as a 90-degree climbing turn, a high-speed pass over the runway, and a completely vertical landing right in front of the crowd.
CAF B-29 FIFI
“This is an extremely important milestone anniversary of arguably the most significant event of the 20th century- the end of World War II both in Europe and in the Pacific,” says EAA vice president, Rick Larsen.
The B-29 represents an iconic aircraft from this era. FIFI is the world’s only flying B-29. A Wichita, Kansas –based restoration team for the B-29 Doc hopes to bring that airplane as well.
Combat Vet Sierra Sue II
The P-51 Sierra Sue II will be amongst fellow warbirds at Oshkosh 2015. After three years of restoration, this aircraft looks “as she would look in the flight line in Belgium just after her nose art was painted,” noted AirCorps’ Chuck Cravens.
This specific Mustang has quite a history. Shipped overseas in 1945, the Sierra Sue II flew in combat for the duration of the war, supporting the crossing of the Rheine and then continued up until a halt was ordered at the Elbe. She then began escorting heavy bombers until the war ended.
Later, Sierra Sue II served in the Swedish and Nicaraguan air forces before she was sold to a private collector. The restorers claim she is one of the most original Mustangs in existence, going so far as to buy 1940s rivets, bolts, wiring, and countless other original parts to build her with.
De Havilland Mosquito
What could possibly be better than seeing a rare de Havilland Mosquito? How about seeing two of them?
This year Oshkosh will be featuring a newly restored de Havilland Mosquito fighter/bomber in numerous warbird formations along with another Mosquito that will be on non-flying display at the EAA AirVenture Museum.
EAA’s Warbirds of America executive director says, “The Mosquito holds an exclusive place in the roster of legendary World War II aircraft, as it was used for daring missions throughout the European Theater.” He goes on to speak of how distinctive the aircraft is due to its “unique design, strong flying capabilities, and wood construction.”
Did you know? The Mosquito was very close to never being built. Geoffrey de Havilland had to fund the construction through his own company once the original proposal received little support due to its wooden construction. After the Mosquito’s first flight, the speed and fighter-like handling was quickly realized and became very popular for all missions.
Airbus A350 XWB Demonstration
It isn’t very often that you can see and tour an aircraft that can travel 7,750 nautical miles and carry 300 passengers. This year is your chance to tour the Airbus A350 Extra Wide Body (XWB). Previous appearances by Airbus have included the Beluga in 2003 and the A380 in 2009. Airbus is very excited to show you what their new A350 XWB can do.
Also included this year from Airbus will be their Perlan Project glider. This glider will be attempting to set new altitude records in 2016 by flying the purpose-built, high-altitude, pressurized glider to 90,000 feet. That altitude will set a record for flying higher than any other manned wing-borne aircraft.
Daily Air Shows
One of the main features of this incredible event is the daily air shows. 75 different acts are scheduled to perform this year, so we won’t go into detail for all of them.
These shows feature the best aerobatic pilots in the world. Pilots bring the best they have to this show because they have a chance to show their skills in front of hundreds of thousands of their peers.
EAA describes the daily air shows as, “featuring a vast variety in today’s world of flight- precision aerobatics, the latest innovations, rare and unique flying examples, and history coming alive through warbird and vintage showcases.“
Numerous concerts happen throughout the week, but the major highlight happens on opening night. This night will be headlined by an avid pilot, an ACM top male performer nominee, and country music superstar, Dierks Bentley. Dierks regularly attends Oshkosh, so he was a superb choice for this year’s headliner. Some notable songs that Dierks sings are: “Drunk on a Plane”, “I Hold On”, and “Sideways”.
Other performers include: Little River Band, I’m Not a Pilot, The Presidents, Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band, and Hotel California “A Salute to the Eagles”.
Apollo 13 Crew
Marking the 45th anniversary of the “successful failure” mission to the moon, members of the Apollo 13 crew will be at Oshkosh this year. Apollo 13 mission commander Jim Lovell and flight director Gene Kranz will lead members of the mission team participating in activities at Oshkosh. The exact schedule and list of additional Apollo 13 team members is still being established and events are being announced as they are confirmed.
Events include: EAA Lifetime Dinner where Gene Kranz will be the featured speaker, a forum presentation on Apollo 13 where huge numbers of people are to be expected, an evening program at Theater in the Woods where Jim Lovell, Kranz and Windler will speak together, and lastly at EAA Fly-In Theater they will show Apollo 13, the award winning movie.
Along with all of the incredible things we have mentioned, you have the chance to win BIG.
At A.E.R.O. we are very passionate about the EAA Young Eagles program. This program provides first flights to youth in general aviation aircraft to help grow participation in our amazing industry. To support this program, this year at Oshkosh you will have the chance to win a brand new 2015 Ford Mustang GT Convertible. Pretty sweet, huh?
All it takes is a simple purchase of a raffle ticket and you could win the grand prize (the Mustang), $5,000 for 2nd place, or $2.500 for 3rd place.
Another opportunity attendees will have is found by visiting the Sweepstakes booth near the control tower. You will have the chance to win a 1946 Piper J-3 Cub. Yes, you could win your very own Piper!
Let’s say you don’t win the Piper though, 2nd place is only a VIP Oshkosh 2016 package of incredible value. This includes: two weekly wristbands, one weekly camping pass, two Bell helicopter flight passes, Two Ford Tri-Motor flight passes, Two B-17 flight passes, Two Flightline Pavilion passes, Lunch for two, VIP tour for two, EAA Lifetime Membership, and a $500 EAA voucher. WOW.
Aviation Gateway Park
The last awesome thing we suggest you check out is the Aviation Gateway Park. A couple of fun places to visit at this park would be the Innovation Center and the Drone Cage.
The Innovation Center is put on by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) and showcases some of the most advanced aviation concepts in the world. You will have the opportunity to launch into space with NASA’s Glenn Research Center, as well as, interact with multiple up and coming innovators from across the globe who participated in the AeroInnovate Accelerator program.
The Drone Cage is an awesome place to visit this year due to the increasing talk about drones in our aviation world. It is tough to get online without seeing some news about drones on Facebook or Twitter. The Drone Cage will give you a chance to fly an unmanned aerial vehicle and even compete in a competition taking place daily from 3pm-5pm.
We hope you utilize this guide to get the best possible experience you can at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015. If you have some other tips and places you are excited to see this year, please share in the comments below!