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Big to Small, Oshkosh Has It All


The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter made world headlines for its no-show at the Farnborough Airshow earlier this month in the UK, grounded on this side of the Atlantic by an engine failure and fire.

In contrast, an Oshkosh no-show that will not make any news is that of my 1926-era wood-and-fabric Staaken Z-21 Flitzer, a from-plans biplane project that is now running seven years behind schedule. (For any new aircraft program, one should at least double the intitial estimates of how long will it take and how much will it cost). Next year, I promise, the famous mount of Baron Ivan Morrisov will make its world debut here at EAA AirVenture, just 11 years after the project began.

A rendering of the Morrisov Flitzer at Berlin's Staaken Airport in 1926, by designer Lynn Williams.

While here this year, I will recharge those batteries and pump up the inspiration to meet that target. Nobody who has not built an airplane can grasp what it takes to do so! Even more wonder that so many homebuilt aircraft are on show here at Oshkosh, with the completion rate of amateur-built experimental aircraft outstripping that of the entire general aviation industry.

This year’s AirVenture again marks the attendance of big corporate names, not just with exhibits, many of which have more to do with technologies for the next generation of business jets or airliners than with homebuilt aircraft, but with teams of engineers tasked with finding inspiration as well as good ideas that can help shape the future.

Among the big names here this year are Airbus, Boeing, GE Aviation, Bendix-King, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney Canada, HondaJet, Rockwell Collins and Safran, while Textron Aviation makes its debut as the umbrella for its Beechcraft and Cessna brands. Daher-Socata, Embraer, Beechcraft, Piaggio, Pilatus and Piper are also here. Oshkosh is a great venue for selling aircraft, and, say some of the business aircraft manufacturers, the three most important shows in the world are NBAA, EBACE and EAA AirVenture.

So from big to small, Oshkosh has it all!

Read more about Flitzer biplanes at http://www.flitzerbiplane.com/

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