Theater in the Woods hosts programming that provide the perfect conclusion to busy days on the flightline - relaxed, informative and entertaining. Sometimes, they even make history.
The nightly lineup can include anything from astronauts to musicians, aviation legends to EAA award winners.
Supported by M&M’S, the open-air pavilion has seating for 3,500 people under its spacious roof, while many more have traditionally brought lawn chairs and blankets and enjoyed the evening's programs from spots adjacent to the seating area.
All programs are included with your admission wristband.
Sunday, July 27
An Evening with Champions - For the 29th year, AviationSpeakers.com brings you some of aviation’s most interesting speakers. On Sunday evening, come prepared to be inspired and entertained. You will learn a lot about flying from one of the world's best aerobatic pilots, you’ll be inspired by a fighter pilot’s harrowing story and you’ll laugh with one of aviation's favorite humorists. The flying stories will be so exciting and real, you’ll want to log them. For his fourth year, your Master of Ceremonies will be pilot Tye Mortensen. The Mortensen family has been announcing this Official Airshow Kick-off for 29 years. Tye has been an EAA Airshow regular since he was four-years old. He flies the skies of Kentucky and cannot imagine a summer without a trip to Oshkosh.
7:30 p.m. - Patty Wagstaff flies thrilling, low-level aerobatics before millions of people each year. Her breathtaking performances give spectators a front-row seat to the precision and complexity of modern, unlimited hard-core aerobatics. Patty's smooth aggressive style sets the standard worldwide. Her earliest memories include sitting with her father, a JAL Captain, at the controls of his airplane. Patty's dozens of awards include; six-time recipient of the First Lady of Aerobatics Betty Skelton Award, induction in the National Aviation Hall of Fame, the National Air and Space Museum's Award for Current Achievement, the Sword of Excellence, the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship and Lifetime Achievement Award from the Air Force Association. The new Patty Wagstaff Aerobatic School in St. Augustine focuses on precision aerobatics in classic competition style while also offering tailwheel training and upset training to individuals and corporate flight departments using an Extra 300L and a Super Decathlon. Patty and Brian Udell will have a lively discussion on aerobatics. Have your questions ready, as audience participation is encouraged.
8:15 p.m. - Capt. Brian Udell, supersonic survivor, tells a compelling story of survival, rescue and personal success. A Top-Gun, F-15E instructor pilot and decorated combat veteran, he holds the record for surviving the “highest speed” ejection from a U.S. fighter aircraft at nearly 800 knots. Brian's riveting story is about surviving with a crushed body and crippling injuries for four grueling hours, 65 miles off the Atlantic Coast, at night in 60-degree water, 5-foot seas and 15 mph winds. He applies the principles of faith, determination, and a sheer willingness-to-survive to life's everyday challenges. His triumphant return to flying the Strike Eagle is an inspiring story about perseverance and character. Brian takes his message to aviation and non-aviation audiences. You can hear a pin drop when he speaks, except when he makes you laugh. Brian is an Airline Captain, Competition Aerobatic Pilot, and founder of ASI Xtreme. The company’s goal is to give pilots the mental tools and stick and rudder skills required to handle whatever comes their way.
9:00 p.m. - Ralph Hood, one of aviation’s favorite humorists, serves up funny stuff with one of his hilarious programs, Ground Clutter. Ralph sold aircraft for a living until speaking began to take all of his time. This southern pilot now travels coast to coast sharing his insights on sales, marketing, and service to both non-aviation and aviation groups, with specialty programs for flight schools and instructors. Though inspiring, Ralph is best known for making us laugh—a lot! Oprah Winfrey said, "Ralph, you are a funny man. His thought provoking writing can be found in his columns in Airport Business, AOPA's Flight Training, AOPA's Flight School Business and in his book, The Truth and Other Lies. His regular column, Ground Clutter, has appeared in every issue of Airport Business magazine and its predecessor, FBO, since the original 1986 issue. His new Ground Clutter the Book includes Ralph's favorite “updated” columns.
Monday, July 28
Remembering Paul, 8-8:45 p.m. – Join the EAA family and aviation community for an evening of stories remembering EAA Founder Paul Poberezny, shared by several of his longtime friends. The evening will be hosted by EAA Young Eagles Chairman Sean D. Tucker.
Valdez, 8:45-10 p.m. – The annual Valdez, Alaska, Fly-In and Air Show attracts some of the world’s best pilots for a competition of skill and precision during the legendary short takeoff and landing (STOL) competition in. Hear from at least two of this year’s champions.
Tuesday, July 29
Bill Barber Award Presentation, 7-7:30 p.m. – Representatives from World Airshow News along with friends and family of the late Bill Barber will present the annual Bill Barber Award for Showmanship to an air show performer who has demonstrated extraordinary showmanship.
X PRIZE 10th Anniversary, 8-8:45 p.m. – The Ansari X PRIZE was modeled after the Orteig Prize that Charles Lindbergh won for his solo flight in 1927 to reward the aviation innovation that he inspired. The $10 million competition challenged the world to form the first privately funded team to create a spacecraft to carry three people 100 kilometers above the Earth’s surface, twice within two weeks. Out of 26 teams and $100 million total spent on research, Mojave Aerospace Ventures won in October 2004. Speakers will be Erik Lindbergh, grandson of Charles Lindbergh; Gregg Maryniak, corporate secretary and chairman of the executive committee of the board of X PRIZE; and Doug Shane, executive vice president and general manager of the Spaceship Company.
“I Want to be an Astronaut,” 8:45-10 p.m. – This 38-minute documentary tells the story of Blair Mason’s dreams of flight from childhood to the United States Naval Academy. It’s an examination of the current state of America’s space program, the retirement of the space shuttle, and the future of space exploration. Featured appearances from producer of the film, David Ruck; X-15 and space shuttle test pilot retired Maj. Gen. Joe Engle; and retired Col. Charlie Precourt who served as the former chief of the Astronaut Corps.
Wednesday, July 30
EAA Concert Band, 6-7 p.m. – More than 300 EAA members from 34 states and four countries have played in the EAA AirVenture Concert Band and the experience levels range from junior high students to retired musicians. They’ll convene this year under the direction of Elton Eisele, performing selections from Disney’s smash hit animated feature, “Planes.”
Glacier Girl, 7-8 p.m. – Against all odds, Bob Cardin and a well-equipped recovery crew pulled a P-38 Lightning namedGlacier Girl from beneath 238 feet of rock-solid ice in Southeastern Greenland in 1992. Perhaps the most famous warbird flying today, hear the story of the recovery and restoration of this iconic aircraft from the man that made it happen.
Thursday, July 31
The Millionaires’ Unit, 7-8 p.m. – Learn the story of a group of young men from privilege who were prepared to risk it all to fight a distant war in the early 20th century. At its heart was the Yale flying club, what became what we know today as Naval Aviation, from which one of its six members became the principal architect of America’s first strategic bomber force. Another advised President Kennedy to blockade Cuba during the missile crisis. The program features award winning author Marc Wortman, and documentary film makers Darroch Greer and Ron King.
The Birth of Military Aviation, 9-10 p.m. – This year marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, which saw the birth of United States military aviation. Images and a panel discussion will explore stories about the pilots who were there, WWI aircraft, what is was like to fly them, and how pilots were trained. The program will be moderated by Ron Alexander, combat pilot during the Vietnam War. Alexander is an EAA Vintage Aircraft Association board member, a very active EAA member, and is also a director of the Candler Field Museum located near Atlanta, Georgia.
“Jenny” Documentary Premier, 10-11 p.m. – This film tells the story of the plane that taught America to fly. Designed as a trainer for the U.S. Army Air Service, the Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” first flew in 1916 and taught thousands of Allied pilots to fly during World War I. After the war, surplus Jennys were widely used for “barnstorming” and were used for the first scheduled air mail service.
Friday, August 1
The Thunderbirds Then and Now, 8-10 p.m. – The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds have flown in front of more than 300 million people since their first performance on May 25, 1953. The unit was activated at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, and took on the name “Thunderbirds,” influenced in part by the strong Native American culture and folklore from the Southwestern United States. Following the Korean War, the unit’s mission was to show the American public the safety, reliability, and maneuverability of jet-engine aircraft, which was still new at the time. Five generations of Thunderbird pilots will appear on this night to be remembered.
Saturday, August 2
Combat Lifesaving in Afghanistan and Iraq, 6:30-8 p.m. – Today’s lifesaving techniques for treating wounded soldiers is radically different than World War II and even Vietnam. Wounded warriors are usually moved within an hour in a flying ICU aircraft like the C-17 staffed just like a hospital ICU, with a trauma doctor and critical care nurse assistant. The results are dramatic with a survival rate of over 90 percent.
Three members of a Critical Care Air Transport Team (CCATT) recently home from Afghanistan will walk us through a typical mission starting with a call for assistance.