Have you ever dreamed of driving to the airport and flying away in the same vehicle that you drove in on? That can soon be a reality with the Terrafugia Transition, a light sport airplane capable of transforming between a carand a plane. On the highway, it can reach speeds of up to 70 mph. In the air, it can fly up to 107 mph and has a range of 489 miles (805 miles when driving). The Transition is currently in development and will carry a price tag of about $279,000.
Of course there are plenty of things happening on the ground during AirVenture as well. One major event was the Gathering of Eagles Gala, a fundraiser for EAA’s Young Eagles program that offers free aircraft rides to children with the goal of sparking an interest in aviation. Helping raise money for this cause was aviation artist Michelle Rouch, who offered two oil paintings that brought in $59,000 at auction. The event as a whole raised $2.5 million in just one evening!
Warbirdsarean integral part of EAA AirVenture, and each yearoffers numerous unique performances by these rare aircraft. One of the more unique sights this year was a formation of World War II bombers. The world’s only flying B-29 Superfortress “FiFi” led the formation of three B-25 Mitchells and twoTBM Avengers. The formation overflew a wall of fire before passing straight over the crowd.
Dusty Crophopper from Disney’s Planes may have dreams of becoming an air racer, but the Ayres Thrush 510G reminded us all that it’s still pretty exciting to be a crop duster. The 510G showcased everything there is to see in a crop duster, from “pesticide” spraying (or in this case, airshow smoke), a water dumping, and surprising maneuverability for an aircraft that’s known as a tractor in the sky. The first Thrush flew in 1956 and since then, just under 2,000 have been built.
Perhaps the most hyped performer of AirVenture was Yves “Jetman” Rossy and his one of a kind jet-powered wing that effectively makes him a human aircraft. Jetman made his first public appearance in the United States, after making numerous public appearnces in Europe and a private appearance in 2011 at the Grand Canyon. The carbon-Kevlar jet-wing has 4 engines that produce 22 kilograms of thrust each, allowing Jetman to reach speeds of 150 miles per hour and even perform aerobatics.
The Honda Aircraft Company made its way onto the general aviation scene with the HA-420 HondaJet. After first flying in December of 2003, the HondaJet is soon to enter production; they plan on building 70-100 planes per year with a price tag of $4.5 million. It seats 6-8 people (1-2 crew, 5-6 passengers) and has a range of over 1,300 miles. Two HondaJets flew in formation at EAA AirVenture 2013, displaying the light-weight passenger jet’s high speed, safe handling, and high maneuverability.
Located at Ellington Field in Houston, Texas, the Texas Flying Legends Museum has an incredible collection of aircraft that were on display at EAA AirVenture 2013. In fact, the collection had its own schedule block for a fantastic performance featuring the B-25, two P-51s, the P-40, F4U, and a real A6M2 Model 21 Zero. This is one of only a few flying Japanese Zeros left in the world. The performance started with a five ship formation that was attacked by the Zero, expertly flown by Warren Pietsch. The American fighters came to the aid of the B-25 in a twisting dogfight scene played out in front of the crowd.
You won’t need a giant hangar to house a jet like the Subsonex JSX-1. This small, single-seat jet aircraft is powered by a PBSTJ-100 turbojet engine that can bring this 750 lb aircraft up to 180 mph in cruise and 200 mph max. The JSX-1 was first introduced at AirVenture in 2009 and is currently in development. Unit cost is $125,000 and is projected to be released later this year.
Electric propulsion is becoming a reality with aircraft such as the ESpyder developed by Yuneec and Greenwing International. The two that flew in the showcase displayed fine handling and formation flying. For under $40,000, this single-seat electric aircraft can be yours as a DIY kit. The engine is a 24 kilowatt electric motor that generates 32 horsepower and flies as fast as 68 mph and as slow as 38 mph. Electric propulsion is entering the scene in aviation and the ESpyder is the next step in that direction.
One of the more popular events at EAA AirVenture is the night show. AirVenture has one of the greatest night shows in the industry, including a fantastic fireworks display. This year actually featured two nights shows because it is such a crowd favorite. The AeroShell Aerobatic Team, Julie Clark, Matt Younkin, the Batcopter, Gene Soucy, and Otto the Helicopter are just some of the performers. AirVenture first timers Team RV also performed their routine after sunset. Saturday’s night show was capped off with the final wall of fire in Rich Gibson’s illustrious career.