Giants At EAA AirVenture 2022


Delta Airlines’ Airbus A-350-900 arriving over the runways at Oshkosh, Wisconsin at the EAA AirVenture 2022.

More than 10,000 aircraft pass over the western shores of Lake Winnebago during the seven-day celebration known as EAA AirVenture. The flying machines widely vary in size, weight and complexity. During the 2022 event, some of the largest aircraft of their times made appearances, both directly and indirectly. Here’s a look at some of the big aircraft flying around Oshkosh this year, and why I think that they are each a giant in their own right.

The Airbus A-350-900 is one of Delta’s newest airliner models, with a wingspan of 212 ft. 5 in. and a maximum takeoff weight of around 560,000 pounds.

Boeing’s 2022 ecoDemonstrator is a retired 777-200LR airliner, the tenth in a line of testbed aircraft that allows for innovation and advanced concept testing.  Its wingspan is 209 ft. 1 in. and its maximum takeoff weight is 766,000 pounds.

U.S. Marines Sikorsky CH-53E Sea Stallion heavy-lift helicopter is the largest in the U.S. military inventory. Maximum takeoff weight is 73,500 pounds and can carry up to 55 troops.

“Aluminum Overcast”, a Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress, is operated by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and made several daily appearances overhead Oshkosh, carrying “Flight Experience” passengers from nearby Appleton. During the early days of World War II, this was one of the largest bombers in the world. Wingspan is 103 ft. 9 in. and has a maximum takeoff weight of 65,500 pounds.

The Commemorative Air Force’s B-24A/LB-30 Liberator bomber was another early heavy bomber during World War II. It made a medium-altitude flyover en route to Appleton mid-week. Later Liberator versions has a wingspan of 110 ft. and a maximum takeoff weight of 65,000 pounds, similar to the B-17.

The Grob 520T EGRETT (derived from E-Systems, Grob and Garrett aviation concerns that developed it) is a record-setting single-engined reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft that has flown up to 53,276 feet in altitude. Wingspan is 108 ft 3 in.; it will be used to tow the Perlan II during that glider’s world record soaring attempts within a year.

Boeing B-777-200LR testbed and KC-46A Pegasus tanker/transport on the main plaza during AirVenture 2022.

Grob EGRETT 520T and Perlan II glider during their preparations for their flying display on Tuesday’s Innovation Day flying schedule.

The Perlan II glider will attempt to climb to 90,000 feet into the Polar vortex over Argentina next year. The 2-place, pressurized aircraft has already climbed beyond 76,000 feet in altitude!

U.S. Air Force’s Lockheed U-2S Dragon Lady made an appearance on Wednesday in Oskhosh, making a series of low passes before blasting off to a (much) higher altitude to return home. Official maximum altitude is quoted by the USAF at “routinely over 70,000 feet”, with a wingspan of 105 feet.

Lockheed C-5M Super Galaxy is the Air Force’s largest air transport. Wingspan of 222 ft. 9 in. long and it has a maximum takeoff weight of a whopping 840,000 pounds!

A really big Missing Man formation to honor former EAA Chairman Tom Poberezny’s passing during the Tuesday, July 26th’s show.

The Boeing B-29 was World War II’s largest bomber. Two are active today… “DOC” made an appearance on the ground while “FIFI” made a pass overhead during the early part of the week. Wingspan of a B-29 is 141 ft. 3 in. and maximum takeoff weight is 133,500 pounds.

Boeing’s B-777-200LR (Long Range) ecoDemonstrator departing EAA AirVenture 2022.

“DOC” makes a clean pass over the show center at Oshkosh.

McDonnell Douglas/Boeing C-17A Globemaster III is a heavy transport operated by the USAF and eight other countries/partnerships. Wingspan is 169 ft. 10 in.; maximum takeoff weight is 585,000 pounds.

Air National Guard C-17A on the Boeing Plaza ramp during the 2022 AirVenture celebration of flight. This aircraft is based in Martinsburg, West Virginia.

United Airlines has a Boeing 777 flight demonstration team! This B-777-300ER transport was flown by a dedicated crew which showed off the clean lines of the big international airliner to astonished crowds. Wingspan is 212 ft. 7 in., maximum takeoff weight is 775,000 pounds.

Flexing wings are evident during this pull up by the United Airline’s B-777-300ER during its Tuesday flight demonstration.

Boeing KC-135R was the first jet tanker/transport for the USAF in the late 1950s, and still soldiers on today. The jet’s wingspan is 130 ft. 10 in. and maximum takeoff weight is 322,500 pounds.

Looking from a receiver’s viewpoint, the KC-135’s boom is steered by a person in the tail area- the boom operator. In the newest USAF tanker, the boom operator sits in the cockpit and steers the boom via remote control.

Ken Kula

Assignment and Content Editor, writer and photographer A New Englander all of my life, I've lived in New Hampshire since 1981. My passion for all things aviation began at a very early age, and I coupled this with my interest of photography during college in the late 1970s. I spent 35 years in the air traffic control industry, and concurrently, enjoyed my aviation photography and writing adventures, which continue today. I've been quite fortunate to have been mentored by some generous and gifted individuals. I enjoy contributing to this great site and working with some very knowledgeable and equally passionate aviation followers.

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