OSHKOSH, WI -- Nearly a quarter century ago, British Airways' supersonic Concorde passenger jet made a historic landing at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh. That appearance, the first of five at Oshkosh for Concorde, was a turning point for the aircraft and for EAA's annual fly-in convention.
The Concordes are now retired and no longer flying, but the memories of those trips to Oshkosh are still vivid for many people. At EAA AirVenture 2009 from July 27-Aug. 2, those recollections and stories will once again take center stage in "Concorde Reunion" activities planned the fly-in, known as "The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration." The event honors the 40th anniversary of the prototype Concorde's first flight over Europe in 1969."Concorde's appearances at Oshkosh were some of the most popular overall draws in the history of the EAA fly-in," says Tom Poberezny, EAA chairman and president, as well as AirVenture chairman. "It still gives me a thrill when I think of the first announcement at London's Heathrow Airport that asked passengers to board British Airways' Concorde for a direct flight to Oshkosh.
"Concorde's visits changed the way EAA members looked at their event and the way the aviation world looked at Oshkosh. We're looking forward to seeing old friends once again and sharing stories about this magnificent airplane."
Concorde made its first visit to Oshkosh in 1985, and returned to Wittman Regional Airport in 1988, 1990, 1994, and 1998. Hundreds of thousands of visitors got their first, and many times only, close-up look at a supersonic passenger airliner. In addition, hundreds of EAA fly-in attendees had the opportunity to fly in Concorde during hour-long subsonic flights based from Oshkosh.
Among the already confirmed activities during the Concorde Reunion at Oshkosh are:
- Daily forums on Concorde history and operations;
- An evening program highlighting the history of Concorde on Wednesday, July 29, at Theater in the Woods;
- Showings of the 1985 "Mach 2 to Oshkosh" film, a first-person account by the late Bob Collins, longtime EAA member and Chicago-area radio personality;
- A Concorde Reunion luncheon on Wednesday, July 29, at the EAA Nature Center for flight crews involved with the Oshkosh appearances, as well as those who flew on the flights to Oshkosh or the local flights based at Oshkosh.