Dig Out Your Foil Hat, the EAA Schedulers
Are Reading Our Minds Again

8:25 PM

At last year's EAA Airventure Oshkosh, the organizers managed two of the biggest "gets" in all of aviation. A "get" is television trade jargon for landing that one big interview nobody else could...get. By landing scheduled visits by an Airbus A380 and WhiteKnightTwo, they helped push the show to an attendance of 578,000, a 12 percent increase over 2008.

And now, as the cheese hardens in Winnebago County, EAA's staff are at work trying to come up with that one big thing that will draw record numbers of pilots and aviation enthusiasts to the 2010 edition of their annual Late July Bratfest, airplane orgy and 'Smores cook-off.

So EAA apparently has cranked up their super secret mind reading machine, and after performing the equivalent of a wiretap on the GA community, have discovered that one big thing we will not be able to avoid Oshkosh 2010. This is from a very recent EAA release, courtesy of Dick Knapinski, EAA Media and Public Relations, who Tweets as @EAAUpdate:

What could be the largest Douglas DC-3/C-47 gathering in more than 60 years will be a centerpiece of the aviation activities at EAA AirVenture 2010, "The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration," which will be held July 26-August 1 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh. EAA is working with a large group of owners and operators of the venerable aircraft, which commemorates its 75th anniversary in 2010, to bring their airplanes and join the reunion at Oshkosh. The event is being organized under the theme "The Last Time..." as it likely will be the final time that more than 25 of these airplanes will be seen together, including formation flights. This is likely "The Last Time..." DC-3 fans will ever see this large a reunion.
So what is the one airplane that EAA knows will get us to come to Oshkosh? Yes, of course, the DC-3. Who doesn't like these great planes...they are my all-time favorites, and EAA's Grand Poobah tells us why:
"The DC-3, in both civilian and military configurations, has been a true workhorse aircraft since it was unveiled in 1935," said Tom Poberezny, EAA president and AirVenture chairman. "While the aircraft helped make air travel popular and profitable in the 1930s and 1940s, the fact that it is still used around the world today is a testament to the aircraft's design. We're looking forward to welcoming these iconic aviation legends to Oshkosh for AirVenture 2010." Douglas Aircraft made the first flight of its new DC-3 on Dec. 17, 1935 - the 32nd anniversary of the Wright brothers' first successful flight. It was first designed as an all-metal passenger airliner, later evolving to a coast-to-coast luxury transport complete with sleeping berths. By the late 1930s, it was estimated that 90 percent of America's airline passengers were flying in the DC-3. More than 14,000 of the type were built, with some 10,000 of them used extensively in all World War II operations theaters carrying the C-47 designation.
According to the EAA release, fewer than 100 of the aircraft remain airworthy in the United States. Oshkosh and Wittman Regional Airport also happens to be the home of Basler Turbo Conversions, one of the world's leading DC-3 conversion shops. Whether it's a powerful and versatile Basler BT-67 – the first-ever variant of the DC-3 certified as FIKI (flight into known icing conditions) – or Duggy, the Smile in the Sky, every DC-3 ever made seems to tug at our aviator hearts.

EAA says this is a work in progress:
"While exact details of "The Last Time..." weeklong festivities are still being finalized, planned activities will include a mass formation arrival, a designated aircraft display area, historical and technical forums/presentations, fly-bys and a special evening DC-3 commemorative program at Theater in the Woods."
One thing is for sure..this will be a huge deal...and required attendance for those of us who love the -3. If you care to learn more about this family of great airplanes, this site has it all. And one of the finest DC-3 restorations was Delta Air Lines DC-3 "Ship 41", a masterpiece that is worth learning about.

I had not planned on attending Airventure again this year, I usually go every other year, and reserve those off years as family vacation time. But with this DC-3 reunion on the schedule, who in their right mind would miss that massive formation arrival?

I have to be there...I have to.

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