[image-110][image-51][image-78][image-94]For the last 55 years aviation enthusiasts have flocked to the Midwest to celebrate flight and aerospace pioneers at the United States' biggest civilian air show and fly-in.
The Experimental Aircraft Association event, which this summer runs from July 28 to Aug. 3, is now known as EAA AirVenture. It attracts people from around the world … as far away as Australia … to the 1400 acres that make up Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wis. Wittman normally doesn't have scheduled air service, but for this one week Federal Aviation Administration say it is the busiest airport in the country.
Included in the hundreds of thousands of experimental aircraft fans are people who work or have worked for NASA. This year one of those NASA employees is the man in charge, Administrator Michael Griffin. Griffin has served as the head of NASA since 2005. This is his first trip to Oshkosh as administrator.
"I'm looking forward to being part of the world of flight that comes together each year at Oshkosh," said Griffin. "EAA has long been a supporter of NASA, as we have a shared passion for innovation and flight."
Griffin has a passion for flight and spaceflight not only at work, but also in his spare time. He's a pilot who holds a flight instructor certificate with instrument and multiengine ratings. He's also the co-owner of a small aircraft.
Griffin is scheduled to take questions from the public in a special forum in one of the air show's pavilions.
Visitors to EAA AirVenture are also be able question other NASA employees during the seven-day event. NASA has a special 50th anniversary display in the EAA AirVenture Museum and a traveling exhibit parked near an exhibits hangar not far from where the homebuilt aircraft park.
"NASA is proud to be able to display unique artifacts depicting the history of NASA and U.S. spaceflight in the EAA AirVenture Museum," said Jim Hull, NASA exhibit and artifact manager at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "We not only have objects from the space program, but also from NASA aeronautics research that visitors can enjoy."
Some of the artifacts include gloves from the Apollo era, space shuttle tiles and tire, a launch entry suit and Mars rover model. Visitors to the museum can also check out models of the next generation space vehicles, the ARES rockets and Orion capsule, which are being developed to return humans to the moon.
One of those visitors saw the display the day before the show started. Bob Wallace, a former New Yorker who now lives in Toronto, said he loves space. "I videotape six hours of NASA TV a day. I'm so glad to see NASA here at AirVenture."
The other NASA exhibit, called "Journey to Tomorrow," includes interactive computer kiosks that feature NASA highlights. Examples include "Celebrating 100 Years of Flight," which is about NASA's contributions to the first century of powered flight; "Brain Bites," which answers common questions about air and space travel; and a lunar landing simulator.
NASA Langley Research Center