Apollo 13 Commander James Lovell To Highlight EAA’s Annual Wright Brothers Banquet in December

April 15, 2020

Jim Lovell, who 50 years ago commanded the Apollo 13 mission, often called the space program’s “most successful failure,” will recount that famed mission as the special guest at EAA’s annual Wright Brothers Memorial Banquet on Friday, December 11, at the EAA Aviation Museum in Oshkosh.

The banquet is held each December at EAA to commemorate the Wright brothers’ successful flights at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on December 17, 1903, that began the era of manned flight.

Lovell (EAA 320945) commanded the Apollo 13 mission that blasted off from then-Cape Kennedy, Florida, on April 11, 1970. It was destined to be the third manned moon landing mission before an explosion in an oxygen tank early in the flight caused it to be remembered as a pinnacle of ingenuity and imagination.

“A half-century after the Apollo 13 mission that kept the world on edge for nearly a week, we are honored to have Jim Lovell join us to recall that mission and the hundreds of thousands of people who made possible America’s successful effort to land men on the moon and return them to Earth safely,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA CEO and Chairman. “As a longtime aviator and EAA member, Capt. Lovell shares a passion for flight with his fellow members, which should make for an extraordinary evening as we recall the anniversary of the Wright brothers’ powered flight.”

The thrilling story of Apollo 13 became a hit movie, with Tom Hanks portraying Lovell in the title role. Although Lovell is best remembered as commander of that mission, he was the world’s most experienced astronaut at the time, having flown twice in the Gemini program (Gemini 7 and 12) as well as aboard the famed Apollo 8 flight in December 1968 that was the first manned mission to orbit the moon.

Tickets for the Wright Brothers Memorial Banquet will go on sale in early fall at EAA.org/WrightBrothers. All seats are $60 for EAA members and $80 for nonmembers, and include pre-assigned seating for the dinner. Those purchasing tickets will be asked for their dinner entrée preference, with options that include a vegetarian and gluten-free choice.

Doors will open on December 11 at 5 p.m. with a social period, followed by the dinner and presentation at 6:30. As this event is expected to sell out, those interested are urged to obtain their tickets early when they go on sale.