OSHKOSH, WI -- As aircraft from around the world again make their way to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh this summer, hundreds of aviators gather together to arrive at "The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration" in flocks of similar aircraft, creating their own communities along the flight line.
The 57th annual edition of EAA AirVenture, the organization's fly-in convention, is July 27 to Aug. 2 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.
The aircraft groups scheduled to arrive en masse at Oshkosh in 2009 include Cessna 150s and 152s, in honor of the Cessna 150's 50th anniversary; plus Beech Bonanzas and groups of Cessnas, Mooneys, Comanches, and custom-built Van's RV airplanes. In addition, groups of warbirds such as the T-6, T-28, T-34, and Nanchang "Red Stars" will arrive as groups during the afternoon air show on Monday, July 27.
"The mass arrival of aircraft always creates a unique visual spectacle and is a favorite of those early attendees at AirVenture," says Tom Poberezny, EAA chairman/president and AirVenture chairman. "These aircraft owners travel together not only to create a memorable landing visual, but also because they know the shared experience of arriving and camping together at Oshkosh forms unforgettable memories and lifetime friendships among their fellow aviators."
The mass arrivals, scheduled July 24-26, are coordinated between EAA, FAA and the individual aircraft groups. Pilots in the mass arrivals receive thorough briefings prior to arriving at Oshkosh, and scheduled arrivals could be altered due to weather or other factors.
Each mass arrival group is limited in size. Additional aircraft are welcome to join some of the mass arrivals until the allowable limit is reached. Total aircraft numbers are expected to be similar to 2008 totals. The current schedule of EAA AirVenture mass arrivals include (all times are Central and approximate arrival times), along with contacts for those groups still open:
- Friday, July 24, 10 a.m. - Cessna 150/152 (contact)
- Saturday, July 25, 1 p.m. - Beech Bonanzas (contact)
- Saturday, July 25, 2:30 p.m. - Cessnas (contact)
- Saturday, July 25, 4 p.m. - Mooneys (contact)
- Sunday, July 26, 11:30 a.m. - Piper Comanches (JJMiller@who.rr.com)
- Sunday, July 26, 1:30 p.m. - Van's RVs (Participants in Team RV formation training only)
- Monday, July 27, 3:30 p.m. - T-6, T-28, T-34, Nanchang Red Stars (Participants in Formation and Safety Training groups only)
"The mass arrivals are coordinated to flow smoothly with the thousands of other aircraft arriving at Oshkosh at the start of AirVenture," says Joe Schumacher, AirVenture's director of aircraft operations. "Those who participate in the group arrivals eagerly await the opportunity to join their flying friends each year by making their own pilgrimage to Oshkosh, where the world of flight comes together in one place."
The full group, with a combined 96,000 horsepower, is scheduled to arrive at AirVenture in time to open Monday's July 26 afternoon air show.
It promises to be the largest airborne group of DC-3s assembled since World War II.