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photos by Terry Croup for PiCK News

Flying all big to small

by Terry Croup for PiCK News
Airventure Oshkosh 2017 is a great name for this event held annually at Wittman Airport in Oshkosh, Wisc.
There were aircraft and pilots from around the globe all on temporary location in America’s Midwest. The sky was severe clear (pilot talk) with beautiful sunny days and calm winds, excellent for flying demonstrations and, of course, the greatest airshow in the world.
Attendees included air transport pilots, private pilots and families and just anyone with a love for aviation. As the week-long event unfoldsws, the crowds swelled to a couple 100,000 people. It takes an army of buses, trams and cars to move people around the airfield. But, most people walk the field.
This year the U.S. Air Force came with an arsenal of aircraft. The B1 bomber flew daily making low and high speed passes over the crowd. It was very impressive. They brought four A-10 Warthogs which flew daily.
BUFF or Buffy as the air crews affectionately call her, the B-52 flew into the field. BUFF is a acronym for Big Ugly Flying F. All these military aircraft were on display and visitors could walk right up and touch them. It was really terrific.
The National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) displayed their work in the aviation industry with their advances in flight and keeping noise down. Sonic booms are something from the past.
In the 1950s, it was common to hear sonic booms. Today it is not legal for an airplane to go faster than the speed of sound over the United States except in special circumstance. NASA is developing a supersonic passenger aircraft that reduces the boom to such a low level a person on the ground will not even notice it.
They also displayed a vertical takeoff and horizontal flight robot aircraft which they hope to use on the planet Mars. It will fly into places that other robot devices cannot explore, such as caves.
There were homebuilt aircraft of all types, flying and on display, all over the Airventure grounds. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), which sponsors this event, has many seminars and hands-on workshops where visitors may learn how and what it takes to build their own aircraft. Vendors selling parts and tools and everything for aviation, including new aircraft from Piper, Cessna, Mooney and Cirrus from Duluth, Minn., had aircraft on display.
One of most exciting places to be at Airventure is a small grass strip call the Ultralight section. On display is everything from two-place aircraft that can take off in 100 feet or so and land in the same short distance, to homebuilt helicopters which can hover.
One of the most unusual things this year was a flock of 40 motorized paragliders all buzzing the field and landing. As they approach the field, there is a steady hum of engines which fills the air. As they get closer, the sound resembles a riding mower with its cutting blade engaged, times 40. Pilots cut the power and glide into a landing on the grass catching themselves feet first. The engines are strapped to the pilot’s back and according to one of the pilots interviewed by this reporter, weigh about 60 pounds.
The large crowd fills all the hotels and motels in the area. Many pilots camp out in tents or RVs, which were the accommodations of this reporter. Some pilots and their families pop a tent right by their aircraft. This event has something for everyone.  

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