The North American P-51 Mustang
Airventure 2006! The Experimental Aircraft Association organizes the world's largest
airshow. Starting on Monday July 24, 2006 and ending Sunday July 30, Airventure
is a full week of everything aviation. If you are not aviation happy here, you
are not trying. I am here for the warbirds, especially the P-51s. Many come
to find out the latest homebuilts craze or meet fellow wet-runway folks, or all
the way to Oshkosh Wisconsin just to hang out with your ultralight buddies.
Whatever your aviation bug craves, you will most likely find it at Airventure. Do you like fly-ins? Got that - kind of a big one too with wing camping. How about gadgets, or the latest avionics? Yes. Would you like to sit in a brand new Bonanza? Ok. Maybe a glass-panel Cessna? Uh huh. I know, you like the newest and coolest composite airframes? You will find that here too. Do you know how to get the most out of your homebuilt, fix a wing rib, pound some sheet metal? They got forums and more forums.
What if you could not care less for any of that stuff, but just want some heavy iron?
Yea, I know, I hear ya. Just walk on past the bug smashers and straight to
the warbird area. Each summer the newest restorations show up here to win that
coveted award, Warbird Grand Champion. There are many other awards as well.
On the northern section of the flightline you will find the warbirds. Just to the west of the TBM's and Corsairs is another grassy area. You will be able to spot Hamilton Standard and Aeroproducts prop blades sticking above the line of moving heads walking to and from the warbirds area. Here is where you will find up to 20 or more P-51s with some yaks a few stray P-40s. Each year you are guaranteed (sorry, not in writing) to have a few recently unveiled P-51 restorations. Some years, there might be 4 or more that just rolled off the resto line. No other show will give you that many P-51s.
Many (if not most) of these P-51s fly in the warbirds show which is held on most days - check schedule. I will admit, that the show line is not like Chino. Chino is the best for close action. At Osh you can get up close to the startups and taxiing. Just show some common sense and stay behind the EAA warbirds volunteers and you will be able to keep your pass. Pay attention during this time of the day, because taxiways are open then closed, then opened again and then closed again as traffic requires.
If you want decent show action photos, you better have a digital SLR camera with a 300mm (minimum) lens for single aircraft shots (unless it's a B-1b, 200mm) - and 400 for film SLRs. You can use less, but you will have plenty of that dreaded dead space around the subject.
Airventure will always attract some rare bird and some heavy iron. This year
you should find B-17s, a B-24 and a Lancaster. For you kerosene smelling
freaks, the B-1B should be arriving on Monday around 2:30 pm and then parking for
the show at Aeroshell square.
Oshkosh, Osh, Airventure, EAA Flyin, EAA Convention, whatever you want to call it, is big. Do not come for just a day and expect to see everything and watch the show. You will want more than a day for the just the warbirds. There is so much to see. If you don't like big crowds, make it down during the week. It is really no problem with parking, food, walking around etc. There are plenty of enthusiasts around, but the layout is huge so spread out and have some fun.