Oshkosh Day Four - Warbirds steal the show

By Willie Bodenstein

Late nights, early mornings! The sun rises at 05h00 and sets at 20h30 and the last display only ends at 18h30! It was still cloudy most of the day but the temperatures have started to rise and by late afternoon the sun was out. This weather is not normal for Oshkosh. The morning was rather quiet with not many movements for Oshkosh.

A culture shock for us South Africans is the total absence of crime at the venue. The accepted manner in which to book a spot for the afternoons display is to take your chairs in the morning, place them along the flight line where you want to sit and leave it there whilst you go and browse amongst the almost thirteen thousand aircraft parked at the field. Now imagine doing that in SA!

The main runway is more than three kilometres long and every afternoon at 14h30 when the “Airshow” portion of the fly in starts it is packed 20 deep along its length. Over the 7 days more than 500,000 visitors would have passed thought the gates.

There are no fences between the crowd and the flight line, the boundary is a simple strip of dead grass running the length of the runway patrolled by Marshalls on scooters and nobody will dare to even put a foot across it.

The afternoons display as usual were absolutely awesome. The first on the program was the sky divers and this year the Misty Blues, an all-female team had the honour of opening the display.

The Harrier made its second appearance and this alone made my visit worthwhile. The sound of it as it hovered and flew backwards is impossible to describe.

The Aerobatic displays are simple breath-taking………….

and new products made their debut…………………..

The Jet powered Sub Sonex……….

The Turbo Mosquito helicopter……………

The Cirrus Jet

Jetman Rossi flew his Jet Powered Wingsuit for almost ten minutes in the skies over Oshkosh whilst the spectator along the flight line watched in awe. When his fuel ran out he landed with a parachute.

The afternoon however belonged to the Warbirds and though like in SA no USAF aircraft participated there are more than enough legendary military aircraft in private hands in the USA to make any aviation fanatic drool

Almost 150 aircraft of WWII vintage took off in salvos.

The sun was out by then and the sky was filled with the sound and sight of these weapons of war that must have been a familiar sight to both friend and foe in the 1940's.

Harvards, Yaks, Trojans and others too numerous to mention joined in the fray until the sky resembled what must have been a typical day over the front during WWII.

Day four display's is going too hard to beat and is the best I have ever seen at Oshkosh or anywhere else.

Tomorrow we are going to spend the day at the Seaplane base and will report on floatplanes, amphibians.

Oshkosh 2013

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