Saturday, June 4, 2016

AirVenture to celebrate centennial of WWI aviation

The 1900s took off with a fanatical craze for flying machines.

In 1909, aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss contributed his Curtiss Pusher to this growing industry. The elaborately constructed plane was among the first to be built in quantity, and it captured the imagination of people worldwide.

This rare bi-plane will be among the historic aircraft seen in the air and on the ground at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016, July 25-31, as it celebrates the centennial of World War I aviation.

Airplanes participating in the centennial celebration will be arriving in Oshkosh from museums and collections throughout the United States, including the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome of Rhinebeck, New York, and Golden Age Air Museum in Bethel, Pennsylvania.

Vintage aircraft and replicas from such legendary names as Sopwith, Fokker and Spad, from the 1914-18 era, will be on display throughout the week near the Vintage Aircraft Association “Red Barn” headquarters.

Flying demonstrations will take place early in the morning on July 27 and July 30, and following the daily afternoon air show on July 25 and July 28.

“Our goal is to create an event that will allow those at Oshkosh to see more than antique airplanes on the ground,” said Rick Larsen, EAA’s vice president of communities and member programs. “We want people to feel and better understand the technology, dangers and romance of the era that brought us such legendary aviation figures as Eddie Rickenbacker and the Red Baron.”

The Sopwith Pup was a British single-seater aircraft that entered service with the British Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service in 1916. The Fokker Dr. l triplane is a German fighting plane from World War I, made famous as the aircraft German ace Baron Manfred von Richthofen was flying when he was killed.

In Charles Schultz's comic strip Peanuts, Snoopy flew his Sopwith Camel doghouse against the Red Baron's Fokker.

The Curtiss Pusher, from the Collings Foundation of Stow, Massachusetts, recently was completed from a two-year restoration by Century Aviation in East Wenatchee, Washington. Original Pusher parts and engines were thought lost to history until the Collings Foundation came across some remarkable treasures: 84 original Pusher air frame parts, ribs and spars in a Massachusetts attic and an OX-5 engine in a Pennsylvania basement.

Along with the aircraft display, there will be giant-scale radio-controlled aircraft flights, a living history area with historical re-enactors, and forums and presentations throughout the week.


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