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Rare Grob Egrett Visits AirVenture 2022
If you didn’t immediately recognize the turboprop-driven, glideresque, generally wild-looking Grob G 520 Egrett stationed on Boeing Plaza early this week, you probably aren’t the only one. After all, only a handful of these high-altitude aircraft were ever built.
Originally built by Grob Aircraft of Germany, the G 520 was designed to fulfill a reconnaissance role for the Luftwaffe at the close of the Cold War. With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the perceived threat in Eastern Europe diminishing, the contract for the Egrett was cancelled after only a few were built. The Egrett that’s visiting EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022, N4510, is owned by Arne Vasenden, EAA 698097, through his company AV Experts, LLC. Notably, the aircraft is currently used as the towplane for the high-altitude Perlan Project glider, also in attendance at Oshkosh this year.
“At the end of the Cold War, we wouldn’t sell U-2s to the Germans and so then a conglomerate of people from the U.S. and Germany got together and built basically a U-2 Lite,” Arne said. “Then things calmed down and the market just wasn’t there.”
As the towplane for the Perlan Project glider, the Egrett tows the glider to heights of more than 40,000 feet before releasing it. With its long wings, Arne said the Egrett is a very smooth airplane to fly, though not exactly the most agile.
“It’s not very maneuverable, but it does its mission fantastic,” he said. “It really gets up and goes. It’s smooth and well-balanced, and handles really well. We’ve towed the glider for several years now and we’ve got the world’s highest aerial tow. We towed it to 47,000 feet.”
As far as Arne was aware, it’s the first time a Grob Egrett has attended Oshkosh, and he was excited to be the one to bring it for its inaugural visit. Arne flew the airplane to Oshkosh from Dallas on Sunday morning.
“It’s quite exciting to come here on Boeing Plaza. It’s pretty outstanding.”