April 14, 2016 - The gigantic Martin Mars aircraft, the world’s largest flying water bomber and the last of its kind, will make its first trip to Wisconsin to participate at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016.
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016, the 64th annual Experimental Aircraft Association fly-in convention, will be July 25-31 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. During the event, the massive airplane will be parked near the EAA Seaplane Base on Lake Winnebago, just a few miles east of the main fly-in grounds. It will also fly several demonstrations throughout the week during the daily afternoon air shows.
The Martin Mars is the largest flying boat ever flown operationally, with a height of 38 feet, a length of 120 feet, and a wingspan of 200 feet (approximately the wingspan of a Boeing 747). Only six of the massive aircraft were built, with Coulson Flying Tankers of Port Alberni, British Columbia, owning the two remaining examples since 2007 and using them as water bombers on forest fires throughout the western United States, Canada, and Mexico.
“There aren’t many airplanes that have never been to Oshkosh, but this is one of them, so this is both literally and figuratively a huge addition to this year’s lineup,” said Rick Larsen, EAA’s vice president of communities and member programs who coordinate features and attractions at AirVenture. “Among flying boats, only the legendary Spruce Goose is bigger, but the Martin Mars is the largest ever to be operational on a regular basis.”
The Martin Mars was originally built as a long-range U.S. Navy troop and freight transport to fly between the continental U.S. and Hawaii, and first flew in 1942. The conversion to water bombers gave the aircraft the ability to carry as much as 7,200 gallons of water, enough to cover 4 acres of land in a single pass. When picking up water, the Mars can ingest more than a ton of water per second as it skims across a waterway.
“This is the last flying Mars in the world and the largest warbird ever built,” said Wayne Coulson, chief executive officer of Coulson Flying Tankers. “There isn’t a better aviators venue than EAA AirVenture, so it’s an honor to be part of this world-class event. We’re very excited to bring the Hawaii Mars to Oshkosh as we look for new opportunities and host potential clients, as well as showcase this magnificent airplane’s capabilities.”
As the Martin Mars is a true flying boat, it cannot land at Wittman Regional Airport and will instead land on Lake Winnebago. The exact arrival and air show demonstration dates will be announced as they are finalized.