The Experimental Aircraft Association is giving fans a look ahead at the 2019 EAA AirVenture airshow! The event will be held July 22-28 in Oshkosh, WI – a town now synonymous with the world’s largest aviation gathering. This year will actually mark the 50th time the event has been held in Oshkosh after previously being held in Rockford, IL and Milwaukee, WI. As with every year, there are numerous themes that will be highlighted during the week and recent announcements offer some hints at what spectators can expect to see this summer.
One of the earlier announcements was that aerial firefighting will be a major theme of the event. EAA will be working with the US Forest Service and other operators of firefighting aircraft to bring in various examples for display. In 2016, the massive Martin Mars seaplane came to Oshkosh and staged several water-drop demonstrations, and an Erickson Aircrane helicopter performed in 2010. Firefighting aircraft are a rare sight in the Midwest, so it will be interesting to see what types end up appearing and if there are significant last minute cancellations due to emergencies.
Just last week, EAA announced that 2019 will be the “Year of the Fighter”, a follow on to last year’s “Year of the Tanker” theme that saw an excellent parade of aerial refueling tankers on Saturday, plus other appearances throughout the week. Various modern fighters show up to AirVenture every year, so this may or may not present an increase. The US Air Force’s F-22 Raptor and F-16 Fighting Falcon demonstration teams are already scheduled to perform modified demonstrations and Heritage Flights, and the press release goes on to list the F-15 Eagle, F-35 Lightning II, and A-10 Thunderbolt II as other aircraft types expected to participate.
The newly expanded US Navy Legacy Flight program will have a big presence at the event, even though Oshkosh was not among the short list of full F-18 Super Hornet Demonstrations. The Legacy Flight schedule lists an E/A-18G Growler, T-45 Goshawk, and T-6B Texan II as performing alongside various warbirds, which are always in abundance at AirVenture.
Of course, not all fighters are modern jets! The only flying XP-82 Twin Mustang is scheduled to appear this year as well. It was scheduled to appear last year after a lengthy restoration, but didn’t quite make it. It actually made its public debut earlier today at Sun ‘n Fun in Florida.
EAA says that all flying P-51 Mustangs in the US have been invited to participate, though what that really translates to remains to be seen. This is billed as a salute to WWII ace pilot Bud Anderson. There are also expected to be more F4U Corsairs than usual, as many will be heading to the Gathering of Corsairs at the relatively nearby Thunder Over Michigan airshow the following weekend.
On top of these highlights, there are always over special anniversaries that are celebrated at the event. For example, 2018 marked the 80th anniversary of the T-6 Texan with “Texan Day”. Some of the anniversaries noted by EAA include the 70th anniversary of the North American T-28 Trojan and Beechcraft T-34 Mentor, the 40th anniversary of the Rutan Long-EZ, the 35th anniversary of the Kitfox, and the 90th anniversary of the Baby Ace.
More details will inevitably announced as the event draws closer, so keep an eye here on the blog and head over to the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019 thread on our forums to add your own thoughts to the discussion!