Postcards From Oshkosh | HistoryNet MENU
An F/A-18C in retro paint scheme flies formation with the only airworthy Curtiss SB2CHelldiver.

Postcards From Oshkosh

By Guy Aceto
9/16/2011 • Aviation History

Having a great time. This place is awesome! You’ve never seen so many amazing airplanes in one place—more than 10,000, we heard.

Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner made its public debut.
Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner made its public debut.

We arrived to see Fifi, the only flying B-29, parked front and center in the main plaza. Nearby was row after row of Rutan homebuilts and some of his most famous designs, including the Boomerang, Catbird and Starship. This year’s Air­Venture celebrated the centennial of naval aviation, so there were tons of U.S. Navy planes on hand. They put on a great show on Wednesday, despite a bit of rainy weather (hey, it wouldn’t be Oshkosh without some rain!).

Jim Tobul’s award-winning Korean War veteran Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair.
Jim Tobul’s award-winning Korean War veteran Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair.

On Friday morning we arrived on the grounds just as Boeing’s new 787 made a low pass over the main runway. Wow! By the time we parked and walked in, it was already on display in the main plaza. Would have liked to see the interior, but the line was insane. That’s one slick-looking airliner. Friday night we got to hear Chuck Yeager hold court in the Theater in the Woods, then rocked out with Gary Sinise’s Lt. Dan Band.

Ed Sweeney’s 1960 Taylor Aerocar makes a rare flight.
Ed Sweeney’s 1960 Taylor Aerocar makes a rare flight.

We spent Saturday morning in the warbirds area. Must have been more than 20 shiny Mustangs there, plus all the Navy planes—Cor­sairs, a Bearcat, a TBM Avenger and the only flying Helldiver. While we were there the arrival of a Fairey Swordfish biplane torpedo bomber caused a ruckus as everyone scattered to make room for it. What a sweet sound that Bristol radial made! The afternoon airshow was great, though it was cut a bit short by the arrival of a squall line. As the wind kicked up, Sean Tucker performed maneuvers in his Oracle Pitts that had us fearing for his life. The spectacular nighttime airshow and fireworks display were the perfect capper to our week.

A Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft based in Norfolk, Va., shows off its big Hamilton Sundstrand NP2000 Props at night.
A Northrop Grumman E-2C Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft based in Norfolk, Va., shows off its big Hamilton Sundstrand NP2000 Props at night.

The polished spinner of a Staggerwing makes for an interesting self portrait.
The polished spinner of a Staggerwing makes for an interesting self portrait.

What a great place for aviation fans. Can’t wait till next year!

Postcards from Oshkosh appeared in the November 2011 issue of Aviation History magazine, subscribe today!

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