Photos and story by Scott Jankowski
AirVenture 2022 is now history, Wittman Regional Airport is back to its typical laidback traffic flow, and once again records were broken. AirVenture 2022 did not disappoint in both aircraft attractions and in the number of records broken such as total attendance and total show planes. A perfect week of weather greeted more than 650,000 visitors this year with a total of 3,226 show planes on the EAA Grounds. Wittman Regional Airport handled a total of 18,684 aircraft operations between July 21st and July 31st, this averages about 121 takeoffs and landings during operating hours. The traffic mix to be found during AirVenture is like no other airport in the world. At Oshkosh you will find airways and runways shared by everything from Boeing 777’s to North American P-51 Mustangs to Northrop T-38 Talons, to Ford Tri-Motors, to Extra 300’s.
AirVenture always brings together several unique and rare aircraft, both on static display and in the sky, 2022 was no different. AirVenture celebrated the United States Air Force as it turned 75 years old. This celebration included several front line assets on static display and flying in the daily airshows. Boeing Plaza had several examples of fighters, trainers, tankers and transports. Aircraft on display included the Lockheed C-5M Galaxy, Boeing C-17A Globemaster III, Republic Fairchild A-10C Thunderbolt II, and several examples of the Northrop T-38 Talon.
The afternoon airshow included aerial displays of several key aircraft in the Air Force inventory. These included the Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker, Boeing F-15C Eagle, Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II and the Fairchild Republic A-10C Thunderbolt II. The Lockheed U-2 made an appearance on Wednesday and made several passes with a high performance climb out on departure.
The United States Navy and Marine Corps also provided aerial support for the daily airshows in the form of no less than 4 Demo Teams. These included the V-22 Osprey Demo Team representing the U.S. Marines Corps and the E-2D Hawkeye, EA-18G Growler, and the F-35C Lightning II Demo Teams representing the U.S. Navy.
Warbirds always play a key and vital part of AirVenture every year with several unique and rare aircraft on the ground and in the air. One of the airshow highlights was a Flight of Grumman Cats. This unique formation included the Grumman built F-4F Wildcat, F-6F Hellcat, F-7F Tigercat, and the F-8F Bearcat. Another very memorable Oshkosh moments.
The Polaris Dawn Group made a stunning entrance to AirVenture on Friday afternoon and also flew in the weekend airshows. The team is made up of Dornier Dassault Alpha Jets, Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatrosses, a Bombardier Global Express business jet, and the star of the group N29UB a civilian owned Mikoyan MIG-29 Fulcrum. Polaris Dawn is the name for a private human space mission funded by Billionaire Jared Isaacman. Isaacman was flying the Mig-29, with the team performing in the weekend airshows.
Commercial Airliners played a big part of AirVenture this year and more so than in previous years with both Airbus and Boeing having aircraft on static display and performing in the afternoon airshow. Boeing brought its 2022 eco Demonstrator, a Boeing 777-200ER (extended range) which will test 30 new technologies aimed at improving sustainability and safety for the Aerospace Industry. The United Airlines Demo Team brought a Boeing 777-300ER to AirVenture which flew a very spirited airshow routine.
Airbus was also represented in the form of Delta Airlines specially painted “Team USA” A330-900 which was on static display and also opened the airshow on Tuesday afternoon with several passes. American Airlines had their specially painted A321 “Flagship Valor” at AirVenture this year and used this aircraft for the Honor Flight to Washington D.C. on Friday. This A321’s special color scheme is a flying tribute to the recipients of the Medal of Honor.
These are just a few of the highlights and attraction that were found at AirVenture 2022. Look for additional AirVenture coverage to come on this once again amazing event. Until next time “ Blue Skies To All!”