(Reading time: 5 - 9 minutes)

EAA Airventure at Oshkosh is an aviation wonderland. Every year during the last week-end in July more than half a million aviation enthusiasts gather in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and have the chance to witness around 10.000 aircraft flying in and out for this event. It is aviation enthusiast heaven!

Eaa Airventure Oshkosh
Where? Oshkosh, WI, USA
When? 25-31/07/2016

0Oshkosh So 7519 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh So 7519 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh So 00731 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh So 01263 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh So 01335 Zeitler 100 67 85

During this week Oshkosh’s control tower is transformed into “The world’s busiest control tower”, and the remaining numbers also speak for themselves: 2016 saw approximately 563,000 attendees, 2,855 showplanes, amongst them 1,124 homebuilt aircraft, 371 warbirds and 101 seaplanes. EAA Chairman Jack Pelton commented that “it was a magical week at Oshkosh this year. You could sense the enthusiasm throughout the grounds no matter where you were. From the aviation anniversaries we celebrated, to the magnificent performances by the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, to the airplanes and aviators who were here, there was an energy that reinvigorated everyone involved in aviation.”

0Oshkosh Departure 4514 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh Departure 4514 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh A321 5048 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Departure 4534 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Geico 6717 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Jungmeister 7377 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Trimotor 6616 Zeitler 100 67 85

For the serious enthusiast only one week is not enough to capture the whole event, but on the other hand having more time would be to exhausting. Even if it hurts a bit, setting a focus on certain events and areas usually helps to make the best of it. The #OSH16 highlights were the Pearl Harbor 75th commemoration, two night air shows, the Canadian Snowbirds during the week-end airshows, Desert Storm 25th anniversary, a WWI aviation celebration and Boeing 100th anniversary. But one aircraft beat them all at the Oshkosh EAA Airventure 2016:

The mighty Martin Mars at the Seaplane Base

The main act of the 2016 EAA Airventure was for sure the mighty Martin Mars waterbomber. EAA worked hard and obviously convinced Coulson Flying Tankers to bring this unique aircraft to Oshkosh. The EAA Seaplane Base on nearby Lake Winnebago is an ideal location to present this mighty flying boat with a length of 120 feet, and a wingspan of 200 feet (approximately the wingspan of a Boeing 747) at Oshkosh.

Oshkosh Martin Mars 00936 Zeitler 700 470 90
Oshkosh Martin Mars 00936 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Martin Mars 00962 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Martin Mars 00971 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Martin Mars 5215 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Martin Mars 5305 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Martin Mars 5342 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Oshkosh Martin Mars 5482 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh Martin Mars 5482 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Martin Mars 5370 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Martin Mars 5407 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Martin Mars 5421 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Martin Mars 5452 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Martin Mars 5477 Zeitler 100 67 85

Water drop demonstration of the Martin Mars were a highlight at the daily airshows, and not for nothing the seaplane base got more busy this year as this major attraction was also open for visits when it did not fly. Seeing the Hawaii Mars with an empty weight of 34t taking off and splashing down into the water was a sight to behold, let alone witnessing a water drop from up close. Lake Winnebago was the place to be, as the crew did not only drop for the crowd at nearby Oshkosh airfield, but scooped once again on the lake and did a water drop for the visitors there.

0Oshkosh Martin Mars 5056 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh Martin Mars 5056 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Impressions 01010 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Martin Mars 5076 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Martin Mars 5209 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Martin Mars 5216 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Martin Mars 5255 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Martin Mars 4429 Zeitler 700 470 90
Oshkosh Martin Mars 4429 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Martin Mars 4462 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Martin Mars 7394 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Martin Mars 7503 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Martin Mars 7532 Zeitler 100 67 85
ZOshkosh Impressions 01020 Zeitler 100 67 85

Seeing more than 27.000 liters of water – or 60.000 pound – dropping down within seconds is something you do not get to see every day. Oshkosh offered a unique possibility to see and experience this impressive aircraft, as not many other events have the possibility to host a flying boat of these dimensions. Furthermore it might have been one of the last opportunities to see the Hawaii Mars as operating costs are obviously rising and it should be replaced in the near future, though its capability to deliver 60.000 pounds of water every few minutes for several hours will remain unmatched.

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0Oshkosh Impressions 6887 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Departure 4317 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Departure 6590 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Impressions 6883 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Oshkosh Seaplanes 6988 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh Seaplanes 6988 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Impressions 6993 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Seaplanes 00991 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Seaplanes 6581 Zeitler 100 67 85

World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration at EAA Airventure

The “World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration” featured many more highlights that were dispersed on the different aircraft areas around the airfield. The main area (Boeing Plaza) changed its layout not only every day, but also throughout the day and featured the main attractions. CAF’s B-29 FiFi was parked there for example as well as the special painted aircraft of the US Coast Guard celebrating this service’s 75th anniversary. The Vintage area offers a nice stroll along lines of beautifully restored propeller aircraft, whereas the homebuilds sections always features some rather weird constructions.

0Oshkosh US Coast Guard 5877 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh US Coast Guard 5877 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh C 130 7666 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh C295 00621 Zeitler 100 67 85
ZOshkosh Albatros 5921 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Oshkosh Jets 00505 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh Jets 00505 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh So 00643 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh So 7491 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Static 6671 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Static 7674 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Static 7684 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Oshkosh Snowbirds 7651 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh Snowbirds 7651 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Snowbirds 7556 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Snowbirds 7577 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Snowbirds 7609 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Snowbirds 7620 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Snowbirds 7648 Zeitler 100 67 85

Warbird Alley

If you are into World War I-, II-, Korea- or Vietnam-era aircraft, Warbird Alley is the place to be. Even when being used to larger average airshows the line-up of a dozen of P-51 Mustangs will leave one speechless. And looking for other warbirds just goes like: “You name it… you get it…”

Oshkosh D.V 00604 Zeitler 700 470 90
Oshkosh D.V 00604 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh D.VIII 01223 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh SPAD 01286 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh SPAD 7160 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh WW I 00591 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Oshkosh P 40 7818 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh P 40 7818 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Oshkosh P 51 00767 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh B 29 4303 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh P 47 00708 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh P 47 00902 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Yak 3 4909 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Oshkosh Bearcat 4893 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh Bearcat 4893 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Avenger 00864 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Avenger 7725 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Bearcat 4783 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Corsair 00742 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh T 28 5580 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Oshkosh P 51 7767 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh P 51 7767 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh P 51 01146 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh P 51 01169 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh P 51 01182 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh P 51 7732 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh P 51 7900 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Oshkosh P 64 7141 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh P 64 7141 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh P 39 7792 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh P 51 00776 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh P 51 4736 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh P 51 7340 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh P 64 7690 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Oshkosh So 7792 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh So 7792 Zeitler 100 67 85
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At the center of the Warbirds area is Warbird Alley, a large display area that profiles several of the rare and unique warbirds from the World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War.” Along the flightline there was the chance to get up close and personal with numerous P-40 Warhawks, a P-39 Airacobra and P-63 Kingcobra, and further down the field several B-25 Mitchel were parked alongside an A-20 Invader or a C-123 Provider.

Oshkosh B 25 4717 Zeitler 700 470 90
Oshkosh B 25 4717 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh B 25 4940 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh B 25 6714 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh B 25 6727 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh B 25 6787 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh B 25 7461 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Corsair 5006 Zeitler 700 470 90
Oshkosh Corsair 5006 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Corsair Mustang 4974 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Corsair Mustang 4989 Zeitler 100 67 85
ZOshkosh Corsair 6821 Zeitler 100 67 85

Representing the US Navy of course F4U Corsairs, Hellcats and Avengers flew to Oshkosh as well, and if you are more into the Vietnam or Korean era aircraft, a Fury and several Skyraiders were available for the viewing pleasure as well.

Oshkosh Skyraider 00845 Zeitler 700 470 90
Oshkosh Skyraider 00845 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Skyraider 4546 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Skyraider 4575 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Skyraider 4756 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Skyraider 4770 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Skyraider 4561 Zeitler 700 470 90
Oshkosh Skyraider 4561 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Skyraider 7271 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Static 00783 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Static 00795 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Oshkosh So 6824 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh So 6824 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh So 00463 Zeitler 100 67 85
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Oshkosh So 5011 Zeitler 100 67 85

Amongst the jets the L-39 Albatross was the most represented type in that area, though F-86 Sabres and T-33 Shooting Stars also met.

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0Oshkosh A 4 6877 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Oshkosh Jets 6909 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh A 4 7043 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Alpha Jet 6677 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Jets 4539 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Oshkosh F 86 6954 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh F 86 6954 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh A 37 00800 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh F 86 00433 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh F 86 00512 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh F 86 5805 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Oshkosh MiG 17 7023 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh MiG 17 7023 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh L 39 6685 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh MiG 17 6894 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh S 211 00801 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh S 211 5786 Zeitler 100 67 85

Or, as EAA says about Warbird Alley: “See upwards to 1,000 assorted jets, fighters, bombers, trainers, and other historic airplanes that played key roles in the 20th century’s world conflicts. Many of the warbirds have been restored beyond their original glory and outfitted in the colorful paint schemes they proudly displayed in combat.

Seeing those planes in action and the air usually twice that week their owners have the chance to present them live during the warbirds part in the afternoon flying program. Things get busy when dozens of warbirds line-up for take-off: at first the trainers such as T-6, T-28 or T-34 take off and will circle over the aircraft. A little later more warbirds take to the air and there is continuous stream of aircraft with plenty of horsepower, which then start to circle around sorted by types.

0Oshkosh T 28 4504 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh T 28 4504 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Oshkosh Warbirds 7460 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Canada 4328 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Warbirds 4342 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Warbirds 4357 Zeitler 100 67 85

A special merit earned once again the Texas Flying Legends Museum and their stunning choreography of a 6-ship warbird formation consisting of a B-25J, Spitfire, P-51D, TBM-3E, Wildcat and P-40K combined with pyrotechnics on the ground. They literally beat up the airfield and keep everybody silent during their presentation.

0Oshkosh Spitfire 6272 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh Spitfire 6272 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Corsair 6018 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh P 40 6133 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh P 51 5991 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh P 51 6245 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Wildcat 6077 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Oshkosh Texas Flying Legends 7080 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh Texas Flying Legends 7080 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh B 25 5984 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh P 51 6152 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Spitfire 6164 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Spitfire 6252 Zeitler 100 67 85

Modern military jets & QF-4E Phantom Pharewell

Oshkosh 2016 featured also quite a number of military jets in the air and on the ground. The USAF Heritage Flight brought the combo of an F-16 Fighting Falcon and P-51 Mustang to the EAA Airventure, the US Navy contributed the F/A-18F Super Hornet demo team and the fly-by of the U-2 spyplane could be celebrated as another highlight. Many other military aircraft and helicopters were arriving for the week-end, however most of them unfortunately parked on the opposite side of the airfield and were not accessible to visit.

0Oshkosh Super Hornet 6442 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh Super Hornet 6442 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh EA 18G 6792 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh F 18C 6740 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh F 18F 7662 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Super Hornet 6426 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Oshkosh U 2 6815 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh U 2 6815 Zeitler 100 67 85
0Oshkosh USAF Heritage Flight 5041 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh F 16 4494 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh T 38 6760 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh U 2 6857 Zeitler 100 67 85

These included a T-38 out of Barksdale to chase and train U-2 pilots, a US Navy EA-18G Growler, several more F/A-18 Hornet variants featuring an impressive number of mission markings of recent deployments, as well as a large number of helicopters. Standing on the runway and observing the incoming traffic was the thing to do to catch those.

0Oshkosh F 18D NASA 7497 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh F 18D NASA 7497 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh A 10 4496 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh C 5M 6652 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh H 60 6705 Zeitler 100 67 85

Most remarkable was the pair of QF-4E Phantom II drones out of Holloman. Those two venerable Phantoms were amongst the USAF’s phinal Phantoms, which were finally retired from service in December 2016. It was thus their last visit to the world’s greatest airshow and the pilots too did celebrate their attendance upon departure with several fly-bys.

0Oshkosh Phantom 5686 Zeitler 700 470 90
0Oshkosh Phantom 5686 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Phantom 00922 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Phantom 5654 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Phantom 5704 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Phantom 5744 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh Phantom 5768 Zeitler 100 67 85

Those Phantoms will be missed for sure at Oshkosh, and it was a great treat to see them at Airventure for a last time. A future appearance of this charismatic aircraft type will lie in private hands as there is still one airworthy Phantom in the continental US with the Collings Foundation.

EAA Airventure Oshkosh

Oshkosh So 00931 Zeitler 700 470 90
Oshkosh So 00931 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh So 01311 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh So 01347 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh So 7405 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh So 7419 Zeitler 100 67 85
Oshkosh So 7614 Zeitler 100 67 85

After Oshkosh is before Oshkosh, and for the next edition hotels are filled up usually quite quick, even though there are plenty of options such as using rooms of the local university, renting private houses or using the campsite located just around the corner of the aircraft displays. Thus if you are heading to EAA Airventure, plan early, and do not care too much about the type of accommodation. After those long and aviation-packed days you will be tired anyhow.

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