Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Air Show Roundup: Oshkosh!

Despite concern over fuel prices and the economy, more than 10,000 aircraft and 540,000 people attended EAA AirVenture 2008 in Oshkosh, Wis., between July 28 and August 3. Here’s a look at some of the event’s most exciting aircraft.

Headlining the air show was the Collaborators formation aerobatic team: Sean Tucker (Oracle biplane), Ben Freelove (Extra 300), Eric Tucker (Extra 300) and Bill Stein (Edge 540). The four-ship team’s performance combines the grace of formation flying with the drama of hard-core aerobatics. This year’s new maneuvers included an inside-outside 8, Cuban 4 and split S, all flown in diamond formation. Other crowd pleasers were the formation hammerheads and triple rolling rejoins.
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14 - Photo by Jim Lawrence
14 The F22 Raptor took to the skies above Oshkosh, wowing air show attendees with a dynamic demonstration flight.

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15 The Terrafugia Transition is a roadable LSA designed by a team of MIT-trained engineers. It can be stored in your home garage (thanks to its folding wings) and then driven as a street-legal vehicle to a local airport for takeoff. The aircraft can fly up to 400 nm and converts from road to flight mode with a few simple commands.

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16 Initially developed for missionaries flying piston-powered aircraft in South America and Africa, the turboprop Kodiak can run on Jet A, which is easier to find overseas, as well as 100LL avgas. The modernized bush plane features an oversized cargo door, cruises at 185 knots and can hold 3,325 pounds. The 750 hp Pratt & Whitney PT6A-34 gives the Kodiak plenty of authority to navigate short, rough airstrips.

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17 The unusual-looking Boeing Dreamlifter made an appearance. The modified Boeing 747-400 is used exclusively for transporting aircraft parts to Boeing from suppliers around the world; it features oversized roundheaded rivets protruding from its bulbous exterior.

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18 The ElectraFlyer-C demonstrated environmentally friendly, electric-powered flight to Oshkosh attendees. Able to climb at a rate of 500 fpm, the aircraft can cruise for one and a half to two hours at 70 mph using an 18 hp motor fed by 5.6 kWh of lithium-polymer batteries. Electric Aircraft doesn’t sell the airplane but does offer complete powerplant packages.