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July 31, 2017

One week in horsepower heaven at EAA

by Paul Daniel

From the 1,500 hp P-51 Mustang to 100 hp ultralights

That’s what you’ll see each year at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) AirVenture held each year on the last week of July. This year’s event was the 23rd to the 30th and I sped by for me, well, like Boeing’s B-1B did while making high-speed passes. This year the crowd seemed to be up over last year’s 560,000 attendance. UPDATE: EAA announced this this afternoon that attendance hit 600,000, a new record. This was my ninth year as a volunteer giving future aviators hands-on experience with radio control airplanes. I met people from all over the U.S. plus Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and Paraguay. 

The car connection

This years AirVenture sponsoring partner was Ford which also was responsible for the Barenaked Ladies concert which rocked while aircraft were flying overhead. Of course, they bring in a couple dozen of their models including two Ford GT’s. One for the track and one for the road.

This 1939 Plymouth truck was a great example of marrying aviation with autos. Built by Gary Corns whose family owns a junkyard in Colorado, the custom truck if fitted with a 757 cubic inch  50’s era radial aircraft engine. Even the interior carries over the aviation theme looking like the cockpit of a vintage era plane. I didn’t have an opportunity to see Gary fire up his truck but you can see, and hear, it here.

But by far the vehicle which attracted my attention and attendees was this car, er boat, created by Steven Woodruff from Scottsburg, IN. Watch and smile.

Put this on your bucket list

If you’re into cars, and I’m assuming you are since you’re reading my blog entry, you will love AirVenture. Besides the vintage aircraft, there are speakers like some of the original Apollo astronauts, concerts like the Barenaked Ladies, flybys from P-51 Mustangs, B-25’s, and more. This year there were two ultra-rare formation flights. For the first time in decades, two B-29’s, Doc And FiFi, flew together, along with a show of U.S. airpower with a B-1, B-2, and B-52 formation flight. See you next year? Shaking my head yes, yes? Shaking your head, yes, yes.





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