DEARBORN, Mich., July 15, 2008 – For the tenth consecutive year, Ford Motor Company returns to Oshkosh, Wisc. as the exclusive automotive sponsor for EAA’s AirVenture Oshkosh, the world’s largest aviation event. Ford displays a wide array of vehicles and technologies at AirVenture, plus offers a special Partner Recognition vehicle purchase plan to EAA members. Ford joins other key sponsors in bringing first-rate entertainment and attractions to EAA’s exciting aviation event, which will take place this year July 28 to Aug. 3 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.
The annual meeting of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), EAA AirVenture will feature more than 10,000 aircraft and is expected to attract more than 500,000 aviation enthusiasts. Among the aircraft on display will be EAA’s Ford Tri-Motor, one of only three operational models of the classic airplane in the world. All Ford events and attractions are free and open to all EAA AirVenture Oshkosh attendees.
“AirVenture is an exciting event for the hundreds of thousands of aviation fans that visit Oshkosh each year and also for Ford Motor Company,” said Edsel B. Ford II, a member of Ford’s Board of Directors. “This is an ideal opportunity to celebrate Ford’s strong connection to aviation while enhancing the AirVenture experience for fans of both great planes and great cars.”
Ford and Flight: A History of Firsts
Ford Motor Company’s historical connection to air transportation will be evident throughout the automobile manufacturer’s presence at EAA AirVenture. Ford’s association with flight dates back all the way to the company’s beginnings. Ford Motor Company was founded in 1903, the same year as the Wright brothers’ historic flight. Ford’s history in aviation dates back more than 80 years and includes a period in which the company was the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer.
After World War I, having already put the nation on wheels, Henry Ford decided to take the United States into the air, and in 1925 built the first Ford Tri-Motor airplane. The Tri-Motor was the first to be used by the country’s commercial airlines. Nicknamed the “Tin Goose,” it was also the United States’ first all-metal, multi-engine transport. The first Ford Airlines flight took off in 1925 and in 1926 made the first domestic airmail flight for the U.S. Government.
Henry Ford’s efforts paved the way for modern commercial air travel, including the construction of the world’s first modern airport and first concrete runway. Henry Ford also brought the famed assembly line production system to aviation in World War II, as Ford produced one B-24 Liberator bomber per hour at the height of need by Allied forces. In 1984, Henry Ford was enshrined in the National Aviation Hall of Fame, and in 2002, was recognized as one of only 12 aviation pioneers by the U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission.
One-off Mustang AV8R Auction
The Mustang AV8R is Build #1 of 1 and will be a Mustang collector's dream vehicle. The AV8R features the new glass roof available on 2009 Ford Mustang models, Ford Racing performance modifications, including a 4.6L 24-valve supercharged engine capable of generating 400 horsepower, unique exterior paint, exclusive graphics and an aviation-inspired interior. Enhancing the value and allure of the vehicle, the Mustang AV8R also will feature autographs from aviation legends and celebrities attending EAA AirVenture, which could include Harrison Ford, Edsel B. Ford II, Jack Roush, John Travolta and others. The vehicle will be on display at the Ford Hangar, beginning July 27.
The Mustang AV8R will be sold at auction at the Gathering of Eagles on July 31. The sale proceeds will support EAA's youth education and inspirational experiences that prepare youth to become the engineers, pilots and innovators of tomorrow. Additionally, Ford will support a limited edition Mustang Bullitt giving AirVenture attendees the chance to win a Mustang Bullitt and other cash prizes in a raffle. Proceeds from the raffle will also benefit the EAA Young Eagles program.
2009 F-150 Adventure
EAA AirVenture will be the first opportunity for the public to experience a ride in a new 2009 Ford F-150. Visitors to the test track will navigate water hazards, organic hills, roads blocked by fallen logs and an incline strewn with boulders, while experiencing class leading features, innovative reverse approach camera capabilities, SYNC and Sirius Travel Link technologies, and many additional consumer benefits featured in the 2009 F-150.
Model T Ride Experience
Henry Ford’s Model T revolutionized the consumer automobile industry when it hit the market in 1908. One hundred years later, thousands of EAA AirVenture attendees will join Ford in celebrating the innovation by partaking in a parade of fully-functional Model Ts, browsing an incredible collection of the vehicles, and taking rides in any of several Model Ts on site with members of the Model T Ford Club of America.
Foreigner Rocks on Opening Day
Ford and Eclipse Aviation “Fly-In Theater”
Ford and Eclipse Aviation will offer evening family entertainment for attendees at the outdoor Fly-In Theater, located adjacent to EAA’s Camp Scholler camping area. Each evening during EAA AirVenture, at approximately 8:30 p.m., Ford and Eclipse will present tens of thousands of patrons with free aviation-themed movies on the theater’s five-story screen, complete with open-air seating. Each feature will be introduced by a celebrity presenter, with actor and EAA Young Eagles Chairman Harrison Ford on site to welcome fans the evening of July 30, prior to a free screening of his film “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” while John Travolta will introduce "Broken Arrow" on Friday, August 1.
Visitors to the Ford Hangar in the heart of the EAA AirVenture campus will have the opportunity to engage in various interactive exhibits, demonstrating the latest Ford “Smart,” “Quality,” “Green,” and “Safe” innovations, all guided by Hangar Master Narrator “Hank” the Robot. Featured attractions include the Built Ford Tough mechanical bull, Motorcraft "Holeshot Challenge" drag race simulator, Quality Care Crew Challenge, Ford Racing Vehicles, the Ford Verve and Lincoln MKT concept vehicles, production vehicles from all Ford Motor Company brands, and new technology such as EcoBoost and a Ford Focus with SYNC.
The Ford Hangar will also serve as "Autograph HQ" with celebrity aviation enthusiasts and aviation legends on site at various times throughout the course of the event, interacting with fans and signing autographs.
For more information on EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008, visit www.AirVenture.org.