Can’t-Miss Events At This Year’s Oshkosh

FLYING takes a look at some of the big events attendees can look forward to this year.

The Yagen Collection of Warbirds from the Military Aviation Museum of Virginia Beach, Virginia will feature four World War II-era aircraft. [Courtesy: Military Aviation Museum]

It won't be long before the general aviation community's closest thing to a family reunion, the Experimental Aircraft Association's (EAA) AirVenture, kicks off in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

The annual and much-beloved airshow is set to run from July 25 through 31 at Oshkosh's Wittman Regional Airport (KOSH). Last year, more than 608,000 attendees flocked to the aviation celebration for its showcase of aircraft, aerobatic displays, and overall comradery among pilots and aviation enthusiasts. 

This year, the annual aviation convention is set to wow crowds with a laundry list of events, including a celebration of the U.S. Air Force's 75th anniversary, as well as the blockbuster Top Gun and its long-anticipated sequel, Top Gun: Maverick.

Here's a rundown of some of the biggest, can't miss events at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022:

Military Aircraft

Fans of AirVenture's traditional military aircraft displays and airshows are bound to have their aviators knocked off this year.

"This year is the 75th anniversary of the Air Force and we kind of asked: 'Can you bring one of everything?' And I think they’re going to try,” EAA director of communications Dick Knapinski told FLYING. "We hope to bring in some of the aggressor aircraft from the TOPGUN school here, because we know many of the pilots who fly the aggressor aircraft on contract."

The current list of U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army aircraft expected at the airshow for ground display and some air shows include:

  • C-5 Galaxy
  • C-17 Globemaster III
  • F-16 Fighting Falcon
  • KC-46 Pegasus
  • HH-60 Pavehawk
  • AH-64 Apache
  • UH-60 Blackhawk
  • MH-47 Chinook
  • AH-6 Little Bird
  • T-38 Talon

“Displays and aerial performances of current military aircraft are always among the most popular parts of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh each year, for aviation enthusiasts and the public,” Rick Larsen, EAA’s vice president of communities and member programs, said in a statement. “This is just the start, as we expect the list of military aircraft to grow as we approach AirVenture’s opening day, especially in support of the Air Force’s 75th anniversary in 2022.”

The 75th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force will be celebrated this year at Oshkosh. [Courtesy: EAA]

U.S. Air Force History

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, which is located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, will have a booth and host events at AirVenture to raise awareness about the service's heritage.

Things to watch for:

  • NMUSAF Historian Dr. Doug Lantry will present an overview of the service's history with a talk and Q&A session that will focus on how the Air Force has become a confident, capable, and multifaceted service for the 21st century. 
  • Air Force history buffs can also look forward to learning more about the history of Air Force One and presidential transport. During an event at AirVenture's Teater in the Woods, NMUSAF's Lantry, along with staff from the Air Force Research Laboratory History Office, will present a program on presidential transport that will detail historical, preservation, technological, and cultural context. Former USAF aircrews from different eras are also expected to be on hand to talk about their Air Force One experiences, according to the museum.

Aviation Movies Abound

This year's AirVenture will continue its annual rotation of crowd pleasing aviation-themed movies, which this year includes Top Gun, as well as its sequel, Top Gun: Maverick.

The nightly movie tradition at AirVenture's Fly-In Theater dates back more than 15 years.

"Reminiscent of the drive-in theaters that once populated the nation, the Fly-In Theater provides the perfect opportunity to relax after a long day of air shows, exhibits, and workshops," EAA said. "Located adjacent to EAA’s Camp Scholler campground, the nightly movies are shown on a five-story high movie screen and introduced by personalities ranging from aviation legends to Hollywood superstars. Bring a blanket or lawn chair, and enjoy the free popcorn during a night at the movies."

Movies begin at 8:30 p.m., and are included with AirVenture admission.

  • Saturday, July 23: Top Gun (1986) – The all-time favorite film about naval aviation starring Tom Cruise, Anthony Edwards, and Val Kilmer.
  • Sunday, July 24: TBA
  • Monday, July 25: Air Force One (1997) – This Harrison Ford fan favorite, also starring Gary Oldman and Glenn Close, features Ford as President of the United States whose aircraft is hijacked by terrorists.
  • Tuesday, July 26: The McConnell Story (1955) – A Korean War fighter pilot hero returns home to test fly the new F-86 Sabre jets despite his wife’s uneasiness regarding his job. Starring Alan Ladd, June Allyson, and James Whitmore.
  • Wednesday, July 27: Jet Pilot (1957) – Starring John Wayne and Janet Leigh, “The Duke” portrays an Air Force colonel tasked with escorting a defecting Soviet pilot who is trying to lure the American to the U.S.S.R.
  • Thursday, July 28: Wolf Hound (2022) – The new film stars James Maslow and Trevor Donovan in a story inspired by the real-life German special operations unit KG 200 that shot down, repaired, and flew Allied aircraft as Trojan horses.
  • Friday, July 29: Top Gun: Maverick (2022) – Tom Cruise, Jennifer Connelly, and Miles Teller update the story of Capt. Pete Mitchell as a legendary test pilot called back to train a new group of hot shots.
  • Saturday, July 30: Toward The Unknown (1956) – William Holden, James Garner, and Lloyd Nolan star in this depiction of Edwards Air Force Base test pilots pushing themselves to the limit at the dawn of supersonic flight.

New App

This year, attendees will also have technology on their side when it comes to making the most of their time on the ground at the air show.

AirVenture is getting a new app, according to Knapinksi.

"We hope our Apple and Android apps will be released soon, which will offer fans a digital resource for more information about AirVenture," he said.

Other Highlights

  • The World War II-era Boeing B-29 bomber Doc—one of only two in the world that remains airworthy—will return to AirVenture for air shows and a static display at Boeing Plaza. "Doc was rescued from the Mojave Desert in 1987 and was meticulously restored over a 30-year period," EAA said. 
  • The Yagen Collection of Warbirds from the Military Aviation Museum of Virginia Beach, Virginia will feature four World War II-era aircraft: a de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito, Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, Goodyear FG-1D Corsair, and North American P-51 Mustang.

This list will be updated as more events are added to the schedule closer to the event. 

Kimberly is managing editor of FLYING Digital.

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