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Event Report
Event Reports - EAA AirVenture 2005

Saturday, July 30 - Part 1
EAA AirVenture 2005
Created: 07/30/2005
Updated: 08/11/2005
Link(s): N/A
Article by Steen Staff
Saturday saw a lot more locals visit, but the crowds really weren't much bigger since a lot of folks were leaving to go back home. Burt Rutan's airplanes got a lot of flight time... both the White Knight/SpaceShipOne and the Virgin Global Flyer did flight demos, with the Global Flyer heading out after it performed some flybys. Both of these aircraft show more maneuverability than you might expect. The White Knight has afterburning engines (as Burt told the crowd, "we got them cheap on eBay!") so it's actually capable of climbing out quite steeply even with the extra weight and drag of SpaceShipOne underneath. The Global Flyer is quite graceful (it's essentially a big, twin-boom powered glider) and Steve Fossett was banking it quite sharply at times and doing some really low passes. It doesn't make a lot of noise either, probably because the turbofan is optimized for efficiency rather than raw power.

Burt Rutan and Mike Melville seemed omnipresent at AirVenture, frequently appearing at forums, by their aircraft, or in exhibition tents. One of our crew, Mike Jones, even managed to get Burt to sign a "Burt Rutan for President" bumper sticker, and Mike Whaley got a chance to get a quick photo with Mike Melville. Brian Binnie and SpaceShipOne's financial sponsor Paul Allen were also around the show, though it seems that Burt and Mike were seen more often. Everyone had a real sense of appreciation that Burt and his crew made a point to bring these aircraft to the place and organization that really launched the homebuilt aircraft movement and which had such a huge role to play in his legendary career. While Mike Melville and Brian Binnie got a lot of the headlines in the general press, it was clear that many EAAer's see Burt Rutan as their personal hero not just for the famous recent projects, but for his whole body of work going back to the Vari-Viggen and even before then. There really was a feeling that Burt was "back home" at AirVenture.

There were other things going on in the airshow as well, of course... notably the very loud and impressive AV-8B Harrier demonstration.

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Steve Fossett's Global Flyer taxies out.  
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Global Flyer begins its takeoff roll...  
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Folks were really jockeying for good positions to photograph the Global Flyer.  
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It's actually a very graceful aircraft.  
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Steve made several low passes down the runway.  
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Everyone wanted to get Mike Melville's autograph!  
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Mike Whaley was lucky enough to get a photo taken with the first civilian astronaut, Mike Melville.  
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The White Knight and SpaceShipOne are towed to the flight line. The security folks were a bit overly paranoid about people getting near this aircraft for some reason, they kept insisting that people had to back up (when there was no place to back up TO) as the wingtip passed overhead a good 6 feet overhead, well out of reach. Still, it was exciting to see it so closely.  
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White Knight begins the first of several passes.  
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This is a very unusual-looking aircraft, with our without the spacecraft underneath.  
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Despite the functionality, there is an odd kind of gracefulness inherent in the design of the White Knight.  
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SpaceShipOne is about the same size that it looks on TV, but the White Knight definitely looks smaller than it seems on TV.  
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The WK / SSO combination is completely distinctive from all angles.  
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After landing, the White Knight turns on the runway. Steering is accomplished via differential braking on the main wheels with assistance from one steerable nosewheel (the other nosewheel merely casters.)  
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The aircraft turns to taxi back towards AeroShell Square.  
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In one of the true tragedies of aviation history, Raytheon has been buying back and destroying nearly the entire fleet of Beech Starships (ostensably so they won't have to continue supporting this revolutionary aircraft, though many sources pin the actual reason for the recall on conflicts between old and new management teams and internal battles over the products associated with each group.) In any case, this now-rare bird is a real sight to behold, both on the ground and in the air. Scaled Composites' Starship is likely not going to be a victim of the Starship extermination program, since they just plain refused to sell it back!  
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Hundreds of people crowded around the back of the EAA tent to hear Burt Rutan speak and answer questions from teh crowd (Burt is wearing the white hat at the left center of the photo.)  
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The Harrier put on a very loud and impressive show.  
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The AV-8B is arguably the closest thing the military has to an actual UFO (at least, it's the closest thing that the public is allowed to know about...)  
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Unless it's loaded to near gross weight, the Harrier can climb vertically. Wheee!  
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Four B-17s flew over as they set off a real crowd favorite... the WALL OF FIRE!  
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About this time, you could feel the wave of heat hit you...  
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Most of us can only imagine what a real incindiary bombing raid must be like to witness.  
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A mushroom cloud rises from the flight line...  
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A T-33 flies through the mayhem of the jet show.  
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A privately-owned T-2 Buckeye makes passes down the runway... the Buckeye doesn't look terribly sleek, but these things can really boogie and are quite maneuverable!  
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Two of the most famous and groundbreaking aircraft of the early jet era... an F-86 and the T-33. Both served the US in active duty for many years, and were serving the military services in other countries until very recently.  
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Ron Johnson's 1941 Ryan PT-22 is a really nice aircraft.  
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A bit of humor for the pitot tube cover. Wonder what airspeed your average sunflower is good for?  
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A clean airplane all around, and a sharp-looking (and different) color scheme.  
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That's one way to keep folks from jumping up on the wings without permission!  
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The cockpits of the PT-22 appear to retain the original, basic layout.  
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The rear cockpit of the PT-22 is pretty simple as well... in 1941, the focus was on efficiently producing airplanes and training crews as quickly as possible, not on providing a lot of creature comforts!  
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This PT-17 is a really pretty example of the type.  
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A lineup of classic planes... two PT-22s on either side of a PT-17.  
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This Spartan Executive 12 is really nice. According to the FAA registration database, it carries serial number 1!  
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This Fairchild 24 has a bit of a different paint scheme.  

Other entries in this series:
     Sunday, July 24 - Setup Day    July 24, 2005
     Monday, July 25 - Opening Day    July 25, 2005
     Tuesday, July 26    July 26, 2005
     Wednesday, July 27 - Part 1    July 27, 2005
     Wednesday, July 27 - Part 2    July 27, 2005
     Thursday, July 28 - Part 1    July 28, 2005
     Thursday, July 28 - Part 2    July 28, 2005
     Friday, July 29 - Part 1    July 29, 2005
     Friday, July 29 - Part 2    July 29, 2005
      » Saturday, July 30 - Part 1    July 30, 2005
     Saturday, July 30 - Part 2    July 30, 2005

If you have any additions or corrections to this item, please let us know.

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