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Postcards From Oshkosh

By Guy Aceto 
Originally published by Aviation History magazine. Published Online: September 16, 2011 
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A Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

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. 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!).

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.

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.

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

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