Excitement is building for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019, and as the start nears we are getting more and more information on what we can expect. Last night, EAA hosted their annual webinar where Dennis Dunbar and Rick Larsen discussed preparations for the event and outlined plans in more detail than we have heard previously. We’ve compiled notes on the discussion topics that most caught our attention, but if you want to hear more you can listen to the hour and a half long webcast on EAA’s site. These notes expand on the previously posted daily airshow lineup, so make sure to check that out if you haven’t already.
Aerial Firefighting Theme
The aerial firefighting theme has been one of the bigger question marks so far, since it’s a broad theme and few details have been provided. The webinar revealed that currently committed aircraft include a C-130 Hercules with MAFFS, a CL-215, a BAE-146, an AT-802, a Shrike Commander, and a US Forest Service C-23 Sherpa with smoke jumpers.
Given that these aircraft are always on call for emergencies and fire season will be in full swing, it is almost certain that some will cancel. Others may be able to come at the last minute. Organizers are trying to secure as many commitments as possible in hopes that a decent number actually work out. They do not have specific demonstration plans because of the expected changes, but they did say that they will try to change the performance up each day with different focuses. They may even be able to set controlled fires for the aircraft to actually attack.
Air Force Demo Teams/Heritage Flights
As already posted, the US Air Force is sending the F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning II, and A-10 Thunderbolt II demonstration teams to Oshkosh. Each team will be flying abbreviated demonstrations due to the lack of a full aerobatic box, and there will be at least one Heritage Flight each day. The warbirds used will vary, and they are trying to create a different formation each performance. Pyro with the demo teams is a distinct possibility, but not finalized just yet.
As for the Navy, there will be several modern aircraft participating in the Legacy Flight throughout the week. Exactly which ones is somewhat up in the air, but the webinar mentioned an F/A-18 Super Hornet (unaffected by the recent demonstration team cancellation), and E/A-18G Growler, and a T-45 Goshawk. It’s also possible that a T-6 Texan II could join. Planned warbirds include the F4U Corsair, FJ-4 Fury, and A-4 Skyhawk. Others may be added as well.
A lengthy list of military statics was presented, including the first Oshkosh appearance of the brand new Boeing KC-46 Pegasus tanker (static display, Tuesday to Thursday), a New York Air National Guard LC-130 which uses skis to landing in the Antarctic, a “variety” or F-18s, a P-8 Poseidon, and more. Organizers stated that the Air Force has given great support for the “Year of the Fighter” theme, and just about every type will be represented in some way. They are also trying to get an F-35B to complete the trifecta of F-35 models.
On the civilian side, most notable aircraft have been mentioned previously. A UPS 747-8F will be coming fresh off the assembly line in Seattle for display on Boeing Plaza from Tuesday to Thursday. Another 747 was going to go on display after Thursday, but they canceled and organizers are now working on a replacement. A United Airlines 787 will be on display before departing on Wednesday. Rod Lewis’ de Havilland Mosquito will be in attendance, and unlike his A-20 Havoc last year, it is expected to fly in the airshow at least once. The Collings Foundation is bringing their F6F Hellcat, one or possibly two Fairey Fireflys should be present, and more F4U Corsairs than usual should show up since a major Corsair gathering is taking place at Thunder Over Michigan just one week after Oshkosh.
XP-82 Twin Mustang
Undoubtedly the most anticipated Oshkosh appearance is the XP-82. It is expected to arrive well before the show and go on display in the museum until show time. EAA has taken their XP-51 Mustang prototype down from its stand so that it can sit next to the XP-82. They say the two will be seen together during the week (though not flying) and there will be an attempt to get all P-51 variations together. The XP-82 is expected to fly at least twice during the week.
Thursday will be the main P-51 Mustang day, with a mass run-up planned and hopefully a huge turnout. No numbers were given, but organizers are expecting a “pretty great showing”. A flight of 357th-painted Mustangs will be flown to honor Bud Anderson, and Paul I, Paul Poberezny’s Mustang is being returned to running condition so that it can join the run-up.
Twilight Flight Fest
The Twilight Flight Fest returns on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday nights from 8-9:30 pm. As was the case last year, this will feature a STOL competition (including fan-favorite Draco), RC aircraft, and skydivers after dark.
Although organizers sadly confirmed that there will not be a B-1 performance this year due to ongoing operational issues, they did mention that a rare U-2 Dragon Lady flyover is planned. They are hoping to arrange a touch and go, but that seems like a long shot.
They are also working with the US Air Force Thunderbirds in hopes of arranging a flyover as the team transits to nearby Milwaukee, WI for an airshow there. Unlike the surprise Blue Angel flyover last year, they promised to announce the date and time of any Thunderbirds flyover if it comes to be.
Monday includes an aerobatic performance by EAA’s P-64, and the Oshkosh debut of the Rocky Mountain Renegades and Shetterly Squadron. The flyover for the big concert on Monday night is always a special surprise, and no hints were given as to what fans can expect. A hot air balloon glow will take place just after the concert.
Tuesday is Innovations Day, and one of the innovations to be displayed is the DragonAir Airboard 2.0, a bizarre-looking electric aircraft. Tuesday will also feature a big warbirds show and the homebuilt aircraft review. The unique Screamin’ Sasquatch jet-powered Waco and the Yak-110 will be perform back to back.
The Wednesday day show will include a Close Air Support (CAS) sub-theme, with two A-10 Warthogs from the Indiana Air National Guard returning to Oshkosh for a two-ship CAS demonstration (previously performed in 2017) with pyro. They will be followed by the A-10 demonstration team, which will fly a “CAS” Heritage Flight with an A-1 Skyraider. Warbirds, a vintage review, and seaplane showcase will be part of the show, and the United 787 will depart.
The Wednesday night show will start with a demonstration of the OpenSky M02J, a strange light aircraft where the pilot rides prone on top of the wing. The F-35 Lightning II demo team will perform early in the night show, and the Shockwave jet truck will also perform.
Thursday will highlight various Burt Rutan-designed aircraft; so far about 10 of them are lined up. The warbirds will be an hour long, with a focus on jets and fighters. This will be “Bud Anderson Tribute” day with a heavy emphasis on P-51 Mustangs, including a mass run-up on the taxiway closest to the crowd. All current P-51 owners in the country have been invited, but organizers declined to give a number of committed aircraft (it will surely change anyway) and simply said that the response has been incredible. Thursday will also see the departure of the UPS 747-8F, which is expected to make a pass after takeoff.
Friday will be Matt Chapman’s last performance in Oshkosh, as he prepares for retirement. It will also feature an hour-long warbird segment this year, with a focus on Navy warbirds. There will be aerobatic performances by a P-40 Warhawk and F8F Bearcat, and Legacy Flights will be organized to march through the eras of naval aviation, culminating in the arrival of an F-35C Lightning II from VFA-125.
Saturday will see another P-64 performance, as well as Spitfire aerobatics and a half hour of warbirds including the Mosquito, D-Day Squadron C-47s (10-12, reportedly), and the XP-82 Twin Mustang. We’ll also get another A-10 CAS demonstration.
The Saturday night show will kick off with the USAF F-22 Raptor demonstration team, and will include Julie Clark’s final Oshkosh performance before her retirement.
Sunday is always a calmer day in the crowd area, and no specific details were given except to say that there will be substantial military demonstrations and departures.
Will you be joining us for the best week of the year? Make sure to add you thoughts about the lineup in our forums and then post your photos after the show!