54-year-old Boeing B-52H Stratofortress 61-0029 is the first to land at Oshkosh and be displayed in the static park. The eight-engined bomber dominates the ramp with its wingspan of 185 ft and length if 159 ft 8 in. The aircraft is planned to remain in service through 2040, when it will be approaching its 80th birthday.
The 40 ft 8 in tall B-52H keeps good company with the EAA Museum’s P-51D “Paul 1,” the world’s only airworthy North American P-64 fighter once owned by EAA founder Paul Poberezny, and C-47 “That’s All Brother” that led the D-Day invasion.
The C-47 “That’s All Brother” that led the D-Day invasion was discovered earlier this year at Oshkosh, awaiting conversion into a Basler Turbo-DC-3. It has been saved from that fate by the Commemorative Air Force, and will be restored to flying condition.
“That’s All Brother” had a long career flying cargo, and spent a brief spell as a VIP aircraft, before being rescued. It is currently painted incorrectly in the colors of a Vietnam-era C-47 gunship.
Contemporary country singer Dierks Bentley starred at the EAA Airventure opening concert on Monday evening. He claims to be the only star performer to have flown himself to the show for a featured performance, arriving in his Cirrus SR22T Xi.
Instrumented-rated Dierks Bentley flies about 250 hrs a year in his Cirrus, registered to Dude Air of Nashville, Tennessee.
Making its national debut is Nextant’s G90XT, a remanufactured Beechcraft King Air 90. It is the first turboprop in its class to feature digital, single-lever power control; twin General Electric H75-100 engines come with a 4,000-hr. TBO, and drive Hartzell Quiet Turbofan four-blade propellers. Nextant says the aircraft will offer an 8-10% reduction in specific fuel consumption and a 13% reduction in time-to-climb against a new-build King Air G90GTx.
The Nextant G90XT first flew in January 2015. The around-$2.3 million aircraft features a handcrafted interior with improved soundproofing, and Garmin G1000 avionics. Flight tests, according to Nextant, have been completed with the aircraft meeting or exceeding all expectations. Certification is imminent.
Embraer has always been a strong supporter of EAA Airventure where, it says, it meets qualified customers for its smaller business jets. This year it is featuring the Embraer Phenom 100E and Phenom 300. It is also showing the Rockwell Collins Head-up Guidance System (HGS-3500), that will first become available on the market in the larger Legacy 450 and Legacy 500 business jets.
Tecnam is performing research for what it calls a P JET after being approached by government militaries about the potential for a light side-by-side, podded single-engine jet for use as an initial training aircraft. So far, Tecnam has done initial aerodynamic computer modeling, and is still defining the aircraft with potential customers. The aircraft will not be armed, but might incorporate hardpoints for dummy or simulated weapons. Selection of the small turbofan engine has not been made, but it could be sourced from either Europe or the U.S., said Tecnam director of sales Shannon Yeager.
John has led Aviation Week's ShowNews, the best-read daily news magazine of aerospace trade shows, for nearly two decades. His background in business journalism before joining Aviation Week includes stints at Reuters, the American Banker daily banking newspaper and as business news editor at the Milwaukee Journal and the Cincinnati Enquirer.