EAA AirVenture to Feature Air Force's Latest Fighter

The shadows over EAA AirVenture will be a bit larger than usual, and some will move very fast as the aircraft that swoop over the skies of Oshkosh this year will range from the Goodyear blimp to F-22 Raptors and a U-2 spy plane.

The seven-day aviation convention and fly-in begins Monday.

"This year we've probably got the deepest and broadest variety of aircraft, everything from ultralights to war birds, from historic to the latest in technology," said Tom Poberezny, EAA president and AirVenture chairman.

As part of its 60th anniversary, the Air Force's newest front-line fighter jet - the F-22 Raptor - will be featured in ground and aerial displays Thursday through Sunday.

Last year the F-22 made a brief visit but didn't land. This year two F-22s will visit Oshkosh.

"The Raptor without question is the premier fighter in the world," Poberezny said.

Other military aircraft will include the Harrier jump jet, C-17 and C-5 cargo planes, A-10, F-16 and F/A-18 fighters plus fly-bys of the B-1 and B-2 bombers and F-117 stealth fighters.

More than 300 vintage war birds, including carefully restored World War II fighter planes, also are expected. AirVenture will feature expanded war-bird air shows Friday and Saturday.

The Spirit of Goodyear blimp, christened in March 2000, will be the first Goodyear blimp to visit Oshkosh since 1988.

The craft will be moored near EAA AirVenture Museum's Pioneer Airport throughout the week after visiting Miller Park this week and making the four-hour trip up to Oshkosh.

Among celebrities scheduled to attend are two Apollo astronauts - Jim Lovell, a Milwaukee native and commander of the ill-fated Apollo 13, and Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon - along with Chuck Yeager and actor Morgan Freeman, a private pilot who will attend his first AirVenture.

AirVenture has also become a showcase where manufacturers and designers announce their latest products and designs, Poberezny said.

"Companies realize this is where the world comes to see the latest and greatest, the best and newest," he said. "We have more announcements that will have an impact on aviation industry, from new technology to new airframes, than we ever had before."

Among this year's AirVenture highlights:

* Several vintage aircraft are expected for the National Aviation Hall of Fame's first Best of the Best People's Choice contest. AirVenture visitors can vote for their favorite among the aircraft restored to virtually new condition. Aircraft scheduled to appear are the Lockheed P-38 "Glacier Girl," Piper L-4, Fairchild KR-21, Grumman Duck, and Waco ATO.

* A Lockheed U-2, the same type of aircraft shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960, will visit Oshkosh for the first time since 1997. The U-2 appearing at Oshkosh is one of 33 still existing that provide high-altitude, all-weather surveillance.

* Helicopter enthusiasts from France are planning a group flight from Paris to Oshkosh to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first flying helicopter. The journey of more than 4,600 nautical miles - scheduled to land Monday - will honor French inventor Paul Cornu.

* The Beach Boys will perform at 5:30 p.m. Monday, after the daily air show.


What: EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2007

When: Monday through July 29. Gates open at 7 a.m. each day. Exhibit buildings open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

How much: Daily rates for non-EAA members are $33 for adults, $19 for children 14-18; $14 for children 6-13 and free for children 5 and under. Parking is $7.

For more information: Visit www.airventure.org

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