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Event Report
Event Reports - EAA AirVenture 2007

Friday, July 20 - Brodhead WI Fly-In July 20, 2007
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Article by Mike Whaley
 
For those who are into antique and vintage airplanes, the annual gathering at the Brodhead, WI airport on the weekend before Oshkosh is a warm up for the big event up in Oshkosh. For many folks, Brodhead IS the main event. This gathering almost defies description, or even belief. There's no admission fees, the distance to your parking spot is measured in yards rather than miles, and you will have open access to absorb one of the most incredible collection of vintage airplanes, engines, and other "neat stuff" to be found anyplace on Earth. While the event is known as the home of the reunion for Pietenpol and Hatz enthusiasts, to describe it as a type club convention or to focus only on those planes would miss the point entirely. True, it's the most concentrated gathering of Piets and Hatz's you'll ever find, but even the owners of those planes don't come here just to show off to other owners. Stepping onto the Brodhead airport is truly a step back in time. Not just because of the vast array of vintage and antique planes to be found there, though. The entire place is filled with the romance, the goodness, the easy-going nature of a small country airport where it will always be 1929, regardless of the modern planes that stop in to visit and the late-model cars in the parking lot. Brodhead is a place where a high percentage of the hangars are filled with irreplaceable treasures from aviation's past... planes, engines, obscure projects, memorabilia, replicas... you name it, it's there. Yet these folks think nothing of throwing open the hangar doors and inviting folks to wader on in and absorb it. There aren't fences, chains, or security guards, just an innate trust that people still respect and appreciate these things as the treasures they are. Rather than metal detectors, you enter through a gap in a white picket fence, and instantly know that that despite all the bad stuff going on in the world, that this is one place where things truly are as they ought to be. It's a place where the romance and excitement that defined the formative years of aviation never gave way to a cold obsession with efficiency and practicality. It's a place where merely visiting signals that you are a friend and kindred spirit with those around you. The only comparison I've ever been able to make to describe it is to imagine the movie "Field of Dreams" and replace baseball with aviation, and you get some idea of what kind of place Brodhead is. May it always be so.


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Does your airport have a sign this nice to welcome visitors? Brodhead has two... both hand-carved.  
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This 1935 Rearwin Sportster gave several rides throughout the weekend. This plane is immaculately restored and based at Brodhead.  
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Start 'em off early!! This cute little pilot just couldn't get enough of flying her plane around the place.  
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Frank Pavliga's Pietenpol "Sky Gypsy" has given countless rides over quite a few years. Frank gets the Young Eagles to commemorate their ride by signing the side of the plane... an awesome idea. Way to go, Frank!  
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Dick Navratil's Piet is not *quite* finished yet, but should fly by the fall. The logo is made of thin plywood.  
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Dick wanted the look of fine leather, so Polyfiber made up a special batch of color coat for him. With a bit of technique with the spray gun, he managed to create the effect he was looking for... it really looks awesome!  
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Many homebuilders can relate to this scene...  
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In this age of pre-fab, quick-build, cookie-cutter "homebuilts", we think it's important to remember that there is no part of an airplane that you can't create yourself, if you want to do it. Dale Johnson shows off a homebuilt scimitar prop made with vertical laminations of thin plywood. (This beautiful item is actually a display-only test piece made with cheap materials, but the next one from this mold will fly on his plane.)  
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Some folks have more planes than space. In this case, rather than move the plane, the owner built the workshop at the back of his hangar around the plane being stored. Come to think of it, that might have been the only alternative...  
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Whether this is more practical or whimsical, it's definitely a conversation starter.  
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Paul Poulin flew his all-wood Piet on a 20 flight hour trip from Canada. Even the struts on "Canadian Goose" are made from hardwood. Very nice!  
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This one-off design is called the "Big Floater"... it's sort of a two-seat, steel-fuselage MiniMax. Power comes from a 65hp Continental.  
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This Aeronca C-2 trained countless aviators. It is small, low-powered, and primitive, and flying it has been described as piloting a blowing leaf, yet you can't help but smile when you see one.  
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Yes, friends who can give you a start by hand are good to have. Brodhead is full of folks who are very practiced in this skill.  
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The return of the Fokker Scourge?  
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This Aeronca L-Bird flew a bit...  
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The Hatz guys were having a great time as well. This one was built by Mehlin Smith, and is based at Brodhead. It is powered with a Warner Scarab radial engine, which gives the plane plenty of power as well as makes it look like it was built in the 1930s.  
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I got a ride in Mehlin's plane (as did many, many people throughout the weekend... the plane was flying far more than sitting!) The view out front is actually not too bad. I was VERY glad I had brought a set of foam earplugs though... it was pretty loud without them!  
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Brodhead airport, as seen just after liftoff. It features three well-kept grass runways.  
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The southern Wisconsin countryside is beautiful... the perfect setting for flying around in a classic airplane.  
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This is the original Hatz prototype... still flying nearly 40 years after completion!  
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Another nice Hatz.  
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This is the "light sport" Hatz featured in Sport Aviation a little while back. This is one of the most perfectly-executed planes I've ever seen.  
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There's no way that a photo can really capture how neat, clean, and just downright "right" this particular airplane is in every aspect you could see. This flavor of the Hatz came by it honestly... it was designed and built by the son of the original Hatz's designer.  
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As the sun set, the already relaxed atmosphere got even more laid back as folks ate dinner and the flying gradually gave way to even more socializing. These geese seemed to be casually checking out the festivities... it sure sounded like honks of approval to me.  
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Time machines really do exist... is it 1929 or 2007?  
   

Saturday, July 21 - Brodhead WI Fly-In July 21, 2007
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Article by Mike Whaley
 
More great weather, lots of flying, many more visitors coming in by land and air... "a good time was had by all" is the best description.


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Lots of low, slow formation flying was happening.  
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This is a replica Dormoy Bathtub. It was built in 2007, but the engine is an original Heath engine.  
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Nice!  
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A Franklin Sport biplane.  
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This Corvair-powered Air Camper, the "Last Original", is the last one built by Bernard Pietenpol. It still flies regularly,  
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An engine collector's dream... most of these engines are from before the 1930s.  
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You see lots of interesting stuff tucked away in Brodhead's hangars.  
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Of course, old cars fit in with the old planes. This is a post-war Buick Eight.  
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This is a fuselage for a rare Lincoln Sport biplane... very tiny.  
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The Lincoln Sport sits in front of a Polen Special homebuilt from 1917.  
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The Polen is a lot like a smaller, homebuilt Jenny.  
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You rarely see craftsmanship like this anymore.  
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A little humor for the passengers...  
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Many old airplanes have a sort of elegance to them that's rarely seen today.  
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Another well-known but rare bird... a Corben Super Ace. This is a replica.  
 

Sunday, July 22 - Setup Day July 22, 2007
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Article by Mike Whaley
 
Sunday was setup day, and as a result we were so busy setting up the display area that we didn't have time to get too many photos. The weather was very nice however, and there seemed to be a good feeling from the other vendors about how they thought Oshkosh 2007 would go. We have to agree... it looks like it's going to be a great show!


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Ahhh, setup... lots 'o fun! Actually everything went very smoothly.  
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Right as we were about to come back to the house we rent and get ready for the opening day, the Goodyear Blimp arrived and flew directly overhead. Very cool!  

Monday, July 23 July 23, 2007
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Article by Mike Whaley
 
Opening day was very busy, and the crowds seemed quite large. Our display was as busy as we've ever seen it. Quite a few acro planes came in, with many that were either new to AirVenture or just plain new. The weather was warm and sunny, with temperatures in the mid 80's. By the end of the day, everyone was tired, but there was a positive feeling that this year's event was going to be a really good one.


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Each year, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide look forward to the chance to walk through this gate and into the epicenter of aviation's biggest and best event.  
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We brought as many products as possible to display.  
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One great thing about AirVenture is that it's so family-friendly. Here, Paul and Sherry take Evan and Ethan out to see some of the show.  
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There was an impressive lineup of Skybolts and Firebolts in the IAC area this year.  
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The other side of teh lineup.  
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This Pitts looks like it's ready to go out and have some fun.  
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Steve Jones' Skybolt is an Oshkosh regular.  
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Another nice Skybolt.  
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This is Chuck Ellis' 260 hp Skybolt.  
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This new 260 hp Skybolt belongs to Jim Woolworth from Michigan.  
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Pete Clinton and his Skybolt are Oshkosh regulars.  
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This stunning Firebolt was flown weeks ago, but actually finished the Saturday before Oshkosh. Owned by Chris and Sarah May, it was built with the help of George Wheeler. George became terminally ill and passed away before the plane flew, but he did get to see the engine run. George asked Chris to try to finish the plane for Oshkosh. It was a squeaker, but they were very happy that they were able to fulfill George's request.  
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Many admirers surrounded the May's Firebolt. The plane is a serious contender for this year's Grand Champion, Plans-Built award.  
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The cockpit is extremely neat.  
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Look closely. Every screw is turned to precisely the same orientation. They also fit perfectly. It would be very hard to find a flaw on this beautiful aircraft... we couldn't!  
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Another new plane that is a contender for an award is Mike Marrin's Firebolt. This plane was in our tent at Sun 'N Fun.  
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There were a fair number of Pitts S1's in the acro area.  
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There were several Stardusters and Acrodusters like this one.  
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The homebuilding world lost an icon recently with the death of Ed Marquardt. There were at least two Marquardt Chargers there, as if to pay tribute to their designer.  
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A really fast-looking Pitts Special.  
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Aviat had their entire lineup on display.  
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The Hiperbipe is a lesser-known, but fairly capable, acro plane that can also cruise really well. (Plus, it just plain looks really cool!)  
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There were quite a few advanced monoplanes in the acro area as well.  
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Another Acroduster.  
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Another Charger.  
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... and another Acroduster!  
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Of course, the Decathlon is a little different approach... and still a capable machine for the kind of acro that most people actually do.  
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Bill Stein's Edge awaits it's turn to fly in the airshow.  
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Of course, Sean D. Tucker was there.  
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We're proud to be able to be a part of Sean's team!  
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Bill and Sean get ready for their upcoming flights.  
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Greg Poe's all carbon-fiber plane flies on ethanol. As gasoline prices continue to skyrocket, alternative fuels are becoming more and more attractive despite the development and difficulties to be overcome... even if only in getting people to accept them.  
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A very unique way of decorating the plane... use the pattern of the carbon fiber in the wing as part of the design. Really neat paint job!  
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UAV's are even making appearances at AirVenture nowadays. This one clearly owes much of it's heritage to modern electric-powered RC competition planes.  
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Cirrus unveiled it's Sport Pilot aircraft early in the morning. They've been so busy they didn't have time to design it from scratch, rather they're going to modify and "Cirrusize" the FK14 from Europe. CEO Alan Klapmier told the crowd that it's the first time they've ever faced the problem of trying to make a plane fly slower rather than faster!  
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One of our favorites, the Aeroshell Team, puts on their usual great performance for the crowd. This is the view from our display area.  
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This new T-28 formation acro team really impressed a lot of people. The R-2800s have a very distinctive and unique sound.  
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This newly-repainted B-24 attracted large crowds.  
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The Berlin Airlift Foundation has a neat museum right inside their plane.  
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This Tigercat is one of the best restorations we've seen in a long, long time. It's not just a rare aircraft, but an incredibly beautiful design to boot. This plane races at Reno.  
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The Perlan sailplane that Steve Fossett and Einar Enevoldson recently set their altitude record in is on display in Aeroshell Square. Yes, those are real pressure suits... but no, Steve and Einar weren't really sitting there!  
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Eclipse surprised everyone by rolling out a new 1-engine personal jet. It's VERY pretty!  
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If an F-4 screaming down the runway doesn't get your juices flowing, you better see a doctor.  
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Two USMC Harriers arrived... let's just say I was VERY glad I remembered to put some earplugs in my pocket that morning!  
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Two classics... Greg Herrick's awesome Ford 4-AT-A Trimotor provides a nostalgic atmosphere next to the stage for the evening Beach Boys concert.  
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News crews from throughout the area were on hand... AirVenture is a BIG deal not only for aviation enthusiasts, but for the entire area. The people of Oshkosh and surrounding areas really go out of their way to make all the visitors feel at home and help us have a very enjoyable stay!  
   

Tuesday, July 24 July 24, 2007
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Article by Mike Whaley
 
Tuesday was, in a word, hot. If it wasn't for the fact that there's so much to see and do at Oshkosh, we would be surprised to see anyone out on such a sticky hot day. Still, folks dealt with the heat and came by in droves. We had many visitors, to say the least. Aside from the weather, it was a very good day all around, the vendors all stayed busy and we all got to see some great aircraft and airshow performers. From what we can tell, this is one of the biggest AirVentures in a long, long time!


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Some of the Skybolt Gang rests near a wing to watch the airshow.  
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This is a Little Toot... nifty little plane!  
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Jet dragster driver Elaine Larson was on hand.  
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Evan Goetsch can't get enough planes and helicopters.  
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This Great Lakes is a regular attendee at Oshkosh.  
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You see a wide variety of biplanes here!  
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The Hatz line of bipes are very popular.  
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Michael Goulian's high-performance airshow plane spent a lot of time in the Castrol tent (gee, wonder why...)  
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This Pitts Model 12 was originally built with night airshows in mind. Each wingtip has a bright light on it.  
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The tail even has a light, to provide a "flames" effect behind the plane as it lights up the smoke. (The Aeroshell Team has a similar feature in their T-6's, it does look really cool!)  
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Another Model 12 has arrived...  
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... and another.  
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One of the biggest news items was the official announcement that Cessna was going to produce and sell their LSA, now called the Model 162 SkyCatcher. At $109,000 each, over 400 firm orders were placed in the first two days! This will go far to push "normal" FBO's to offer Sport Pilot training alongside Private and Commercial training.  
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Cessna also had their technology demonstrator on display.  
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This is an experimental setup for testing an advanced propulsion concept. It runs, but it's not an actual aircraft, only a "generic" test rig. Cool stuff!  
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One of the truly remarkable stories in the past year is that of the "Pietenpol Kids", who were featured in a recent Sport Aviation feature article. They gave a forum, and it was clear that the airplane restoration project has made a huge positive impact on each one. Look close... they might have restored a 1932 airplane, but attendees to the forum clearly saw that these kids have already started down the path towards shaping the aviation world of the near future.  
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The kids had a ball at the pedal planes... the planes weren't rolling, but the props turned.  
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This Waiex motorglider is one of Sonex's small, light, inexpensive aircraft.  
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Rans, the venerable manufacturer of really neat light planes (and bicycles) introduced a new LSA called the S-19. This might give some of the other LSA's a real run for the money. Very well-done airplane!  
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One of the principles in the long history of the Sky Arrow became disabled, which lead the company to develop hand controls that can be installed or removed very quickly and easily. Here, a disabled gentleman tries the setup out. There are a lot of pilots who are able to fly in spite of physical disabilities, in fact it's easier to do so now than ever before.  
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The Air Force's F-86 was a truly revolutionary fighter.  
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The Navy took the F-86 concept and asked for modifications to better suit carrier use. The result was the FJ Fury. This is a very rare aircraft to see flying.  
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This could be a once-in-a-lifetime formation! Two T-33s, an F-86, and the Fury.  
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The USAF Heritage flight with a P-51 and F-15.  
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OK, it's technically not an airplane, but it does fly!  
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This C-5 Galaxy cargo plane dominated Aeroshell Square. It's hard to imagine that something this big could actually fly!  
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If it ain't round, it ain't sound? Transport engine technology has advanced a bit since 1927. This is Greg Herrick's Ford 4-AT-A Trimotor and the C-5.  
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Lots of folks were interested in the Blackhawk helicopter on display.  
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Hard to imagine that someone actually tried to simplify that simplest of light planes, the Ercoupe, but they did. This is a one-seat homebuilt design called the Minicoupe.  
     

Wednesday, July 25 July 25, 2007
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Article by Mike Whaley
 
Wednesday was another good day... it was still hot, but a storm moved in during the later part of the afternoon which cooled things off and brought us a very welcome break from the heat. As always, if you come to Oshkosh, expect to be hot, wet, and chilly at various times. The crowds were still strong, though slightly less as compared to the opening day (which is always the biggest day). A lot of folks are out to buy things, ranging from shoes and t-shirts to placing orders for aircraft components. Other vendors report brisk business as well. So far, there have also been very few aircraft incidents... we've heard of a couple of precautionary landings and saw the results of a nose-over while taxiing, but no serious injuries or destroyed airplanes. Everyone's hopeful this will be the case through the whole event... generally, Oshkosh is a very safe event and everyone tries hard to keep it that way.


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A lot of folks came by to see the Yellowbird and ask questions.  
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A customer discusses some products with Mike and Aaron.  
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A Pitts builder talks about his project.  
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This rare, OX-5 powered Swallow stayed in the family... it's now owned and flown by Charlie Laird. Beautiful aircraft, and one of the oldest planes at AirVenture!  
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On the other size of the scale, the Hiperlite is a distinctive little plane. Sure looks like it would be fun to fly!  
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Lots of power and light weight at work...  
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There aren't too many places you couldn't get into with a plane like this.  
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The complexity is minimal, but the fun factor is high!  
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This is a sporty little MiniMax.  
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The Backyard Flyer series continues with this model... a very unique flying machine.  
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It's oddly beautiful in it's functionality.  
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This Mosquito ultralight helicopter flew very well.  
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The Mosquito's mechanics are very well made.  
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A Chipmunk arrives in the Vintage parking area.  
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Ooops! This Luscombe flipped over while taxiing. The pilot was mostly OK, but did go to the hospital to get checked out. This was a low-speed taxi accident. Remember... if the engine is running, please have your seat belt on and fastened... just in case. Being strapped in could easily make the difference between getting out unhurt or becoming a quadriplegic in an accident like this!  
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The Eclipse Concept Jet flew a somewhat aerobatic demo routine. Very quiet and very agile airplane... it would make for a neat airshow plane!  
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The Cirrus folks took the phrase "aerial SUV" to the next level with this one!  
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The Harriers did an impressive demo... this part showed off opposite ends of the performance spectrum.  
   

Thursday, July 26 July 26, 2007
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Article by Mike Whaley
 
Rain, rain... Thursday was mostly raining. Fortunately, it never got too heavy, but it rained on and off throughout the day. Still, after the scorching heat of Wednesday, the cooler temperatures the rain created were welcomed. Probably because of the weather as well as the day of the week, we had fewer visitors, but it was still not slow. When you go to Oshkosh, you can expect to be hot, wet, and chilly at various times... be prepared for anything!


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Despite the rain, the Steen display was open and a good number of folks came to visit.  
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Mike Wiskas' Pitts sits on the flight line.  
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Another rare Swallow biplane... this one has a radial engine.  
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Debbie Rihn-Harvey's CAP on the flight line.  
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John Gaertner is bringing the Avro 504K back to life. Most folks don't know that the large (36 ft. wingspan) 504K was among the first, if not the first, aerobatic trainers. Nearly all WWI allied pilots learned to fly in this plane.  
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The Avro folks are also building radiators for Jenny replica projects.  
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Patty Wagstaff's plane has a new paint scheme this year.  
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Patty Wagstaff put on a fine performance, as always.  
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Steve Oliver puts the Skydancer through it's paces.  
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Wheeee!!  
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Matt Younkin does a great routine in this replica Travel Air Mystery Ship that was built by his grandfather.  
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An airshow plane arrives.  
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This hang glider was towed up by a truck, then did acro and even had pyrotechnics. The pilot lost the use of his legs years ago, and refused to give up flying. Seeing a hang glider do acro is something else!  
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The Red Baron Pizza Squadron sends a message to their friends.  
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The four Super Stearmans are very impressive to watch!  
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There were many Staggerwings here this year.  
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The "Meet the FAA Administrator" session was packed.  
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AOPA made sure that everyone had the chance to show how they felt by handing out "Stop User Fees" stickers to everyone.  
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FAA Administrator Marion Blakey did a good job of answering some very pointed questions, mostly about user fees.  
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The Carbon Cub... wonder what Mr. Piper would think of all these high-tech developments?  
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This Stearman C3B is owned by Ron Alexander.  
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The nose area is really nice looking.  
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There was intense interest in the E-Flight project that Sonex had on display. They're developing a practical electric sport aircraft.  
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This is a replica of the Primary Glider that got Paul Poberezny started in aviation. Very primitive, but it looks like it was fun!  
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This is a Stits Playboy, once a very popular design.  
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This Fairchild was one of the first government-owned aircraft.  
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EAA's Ford Trimotor is flying all week long, giving rides. A highly recommended experience!  
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A turbine Legend... very fast!  
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This Breezy was popular with the crowd.  
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You have to have a sense of humor to fly something like a Breezy!  
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The latest instrumentation...  
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A Beaver on amphibious floats comes in for a landing.  
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The Cirrus VK-30 is the plane that started it all for Cirrus Design in the mid-1980s. It's also one of the sleekest homebuilts ever made.  
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Another sleek pusher... the Prescott Pusher.  
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Duggy the DC-3 takes off with the Liberty Parachute team.  
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One of the good things about Oshkosh is all the chances you have to "try on" airplanes.  
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The massive C-5 was pushed back so they could head back to base.  
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How would you like to have to do a brake job on THIS?  
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When the Galaxy left, they almost dragged the tail.  
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This is a mockup of a civilian tiltrotor.  
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Another rare plane is this U-2 that flew in from Beale AFB in California.  
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The U-2 was parked in Aeroshell Square, and the crowd mobbed the pilot with questions.  
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Towards the end of the day, a C-17 arrived and put on quite an airshow. Someone forgot to tell this plane and it's pilots that it's not a fighter!  
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One lucky kid! This DH.88 Comet is a truly beautiful aircraft.  
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A Stinson Trimotor. Very neat!  
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The Anderson Greenwood AG-14 was cute as a button. It attracted a huge amount of admirers.  
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This Percival also attracted many admirers.  
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Here's a very rare one for you... a 1927 Stinson Detroiter. It's a fairly large aircraft.  
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We concluded the day with a little party for Paul and Barrett, both of whom are celebrating birthdays this week.  
     

Friday, July 27 July 27, 2007
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Article by Mike Whaley
 
Friday was a busy day, and unfortunately one that most attendees will remember for all the wrong reasons as a fatal accident occurred during the first part of the daily airshow. While attempting a formation landing after an air race demonstration, Gerald Beck's homebuilt P-51A (the same one that caused such a buzz last year as the first new-build P-51 in 40+ years) collided with the tail of a P-51D "Stang" flown by Bob Odegaard. Beck's Mustang flipped over and landed inverted, and Beck died on impact. Despite serious damage to the tail and rear fuselage and sliding hundreds of feet on the nose, Odegaard was able to get out of his plane on his own. After a couple of hours delay while the accident site was investigated and the wreckage was removed, the airshow continued with an abbreviated aerobatic portion of the show. We extend our condolences to Mr. Beck's family and friends, and if there is anything to be gained after such a tragedy, perhaps it is some comfort to know that he died doing what he loved, in a plane that he had dedicated many years of his life to building.


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Evan gives his seal of approval to the Yellowbird.  
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The Piloti shoes sold briskly... word is really getting around!  
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A customer looks over some of the wooden components we have on display.  
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Dave answers questions in front of our Pitts parts display.  
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One of the most fascinating aircraft at the show is this original DH-4 mail plane.  
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The DH-4 is BIG. It was built in 1919... and a sign on it made sure viewers were aware that it's NOT a replica!  
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Sean Tucker leads "The Collaborators" through a unique 4-plane routine. Their show was excellent and I think over time they just may become an icon of airshow acts.  
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Eric Tucker (yes, Sean's son) wrings out his plane.  
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It's neat to see some new maneuvers.  
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Michael Goulian takes the traditional post-performance "victory lap" down the flight line, to the cheers of many fans.  
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A Sukhoi Su-31taxis out.  
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A flightline volunteer watching the Sukhoi's incredible 90-degree takeoff. I don't know how he keeps from scraping the back edge of the rudder on the pavement when he pulls up!  
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Wheee! That big M14 radial really sounds great in the air.  
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This awesome 1941 Ryan was on display in the Vintage area.  
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Only in the Great White North: a Beaver with antlers.  
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Two different flavors of Stinson Trimotors. These are extremely rare, extremely significant, and extremely beautifully restored. We all owe many thanks to Greg Herrick for his outstanding work to preserve aircraft such as these.  

Friday, July 27 - Biplane Cookout July 27, 2007
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Article by Mike Whaley
 
Friday evening, Steen hosted the annual Biplane Cookout at our display. It's open to all biplane lovers and we had a great turnout this year... we figure roughly 150 people attended. It's always neat to talk to folks who are building or flying any number of planes... many folks there aren't building one of our designs, and the emphasis is simply on having a good time regardless of the kind of plane you fly so we think everyone felt right at home. It's also always great to be able to put faces with the names they may have known from online, the telephone, or elsewhere... and to catch up with old friends. We served burgers, dogs, chips, and various beverages, and everyone had a great time enjoying a beautiful evening. We can't wait to do it again!


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Jeff, our master chef (and chief bottle washer), hard at work making some great food for everyone.  
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The party got off to a good start at about 5:30.  
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Nothing beats getting a bunch of pilots together in a social setting.  
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Sherry and Grace Ellen catch up...  
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The kids make sure that everything in the cooler is in order.  
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Ethan was having a great time!  
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