By Rick Siegfried, President, EAA Warbirds of America
The past several months have been very active for Warbirds of America. The planning for AirVenture Oshkosh 2010 has been underway since the convention closed last August. The efforts of many have finally come together to create a convention that will fill the week with great reasons why you “Got to be at AirVenture Oshkosh 2010!” Many of you are aware that this is the 75th anniversary of the Douglas DC-3/C-47, Boeing B-17, and the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. These are significant celebrations in themselves. This year we will introduce a new theme in Warbirds and across the entire EAA AirVenture convention site, the “Salute to Veterans” - a weeklong celebration of the service and sacrifice to our nation by veterans and active-duty military service men and women. When you visit the Warbird area this summer you will also see significant changes in how we display Warbird aircraft and pay tribute to those men and women in the Armed Forces.
Since the announcement that Oshkosh would celebrate the anniversary of the Douglas DC-3/C-47, interest has been strong. Approximately 40 Douglas aircraft have expressed an interest in attending. A large arrival of DC-3/C-47 aircraft is planned to open the Warbird Air Show on Monday, July 26. The aircraft will be parked throughout the convention grounds with approximately 15 aircraft parked near Warbirds, nine near Vintage Headquarters, three on AeroShell Square, and the remaining aircraft parked in the Vintage large aircraft parking area. There will be Douglas DC-3/C-47 aircraft around every corner of the convention. Special features and seminars will also be held throughout the week. The Boeing B-17 is also 75 years old and we are planning on having at least four aircraft in attendance. We’ll feature the B-17 in a special flying display on Friday during the Warbirds air show.
EAA, Warbirds of America, and the Disabled American Veterans, (DAV), have joined forces to celebrate veterans and active duty military all week. The “Salute to Veterans” will begin on Monday and continue through the week, including a concert with Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band on Friday, July 30. Twice during the week we will be inviting all veterans and active duty military to join us for a special photo opportunity in the Warbirds and AeroShell Square areas. More details will be forthcoming as we plan for this opportunity.
Every year we make changes to the Warbird area to better serve the members and public during convention, and this year will be no exception. EAA Warbirds of America has partnered with the Scotts Company to make a special tribute area north of the Papa one taxiway between Fightertown and the Navy aircraft display area. This area will get a major facelift, including moving of the food vendors, paving a special aircraft parking area for Warbirds, and redesigning the Warbirds in Review area. These changes will make the entire venue more user-friendly. It will also make the Warbirds venue the convention location to honor our veterans through the display of Warbird aircraft. We will be making changes to the member support buildings between Aircraft Registration and the Warbird Merchandise building. I hope you all visit the Warbird area to see these exciting changes.
EAA Warbirds of America stays active year ’round with planning for AirVenture Oshkosh, government relations, the National Warbird Operators Conference, Sun ’n Fun, supporting Warbird Squadrons, and of course, supporting our members. We accomplish all of this with the aid of many volunteers, such as those in attendance at our recent Mid-Winter Warbird Line meeting. The volunteers and relationships we develop with partner organizations, such the DAV and Scotts, make our efforts on behalf of the Warbirds worthwhile. We have a lot to look forward to in the next few months. Make sure you visit EAA and Warbirds of America websites for the latest updates. NWOC and the March issue of Warbirds magazine will once again focus on our primary concern within the Warbird community to “Keep ’em Flying”...SAFELY.