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New Smoke Oil Car for OSH16

June 30, 2016 - A new smoke oil car built from scratch by a group of EAA’s own will debut at AirVenture 2016, replacing the old 1966 Buick Special that used to carry smoke oil out to the flightline.

The new smoke oil car, built in a style similar to a dune buggy, was designed and constructed by EAA’s maintenance team under the direction of Gary Doehling.

Smoke oil, which produces the contrails seen during air shows, is transported by the smoke oil car to performing aircraft prior to their shows so crews can fill up the aircraft’s reservoir.

Doehling said the tank for the new car was built to hold two 55-gallon barrels of smoke oil. Typical airplanes use anywhere from a few gallons to 20 or 30 gallons, depending on the size of the aircraft.

The maintenance team has been working on the new car for two years in between other projects, and Doehling estimated there are less than 100 hours of work left.

The Buick Special, which was Tom Poberezny’s first car until he donated it for AirVenture use in the 1970s, will continue to be used as a backup.

Dick Knapinski, EAA’s director of communications, said while EAA is sad that the bright red Buick has reached the end of its days, we are excited to unveil the new smoke oil car this summer.

“It’s one of those internal iconic things about AirVenture,” Knapinski said. “It’s a little known but important part of what makes AirVenture work.”

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