The World's biggest Air Show is held every year at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, U.S.A. by the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) and is called the EAA Airventure. This year, 2015, seemed to be bigger and better than all the previous years in terms of participation and attendance. Our interest is with all General Aviation (GA) Aircraft, from vintage to classic to latest new generation models-and everything else in-between!
As in the past, we have posted a number of photos taken by us that are exclusive although we may suggest that they are not exhaustive. We have more to post for a later date perhaps. Again, as always, please click on each of the photo to be able to see them at regular/normal size for better enjoyment.
This Blog is split into 2 parts. The main event part will focus on the Seaplanes and Amphibians that were displayed at the main EAA Airventure seaplane campsite and other display areas. The second part follows with a report from the Seaplane base.
At the EAA Main event:
Obvious LSA Amphibs
The LSA (Light Sport Aircraft) category was predominant as in recent years this is the only growth in new Aircraft manufacturing and the bulk of the new comers to the LSA markets have designed and built amphibious Seaplanes. And there are many. Like this Aircam on floats pictured below, with an open cockpit, more microlight than conventional and looking like a lot of fun.
Or this interesting floatplane LSA from Glasair (below)
Only one company has managed to grab a lot of eyeballs in recent times and they did so successfully at this show as well. And that was the Icon A5. Again, this is purely an LSA, all composite, with a pusher prop (The Lake line of amphibs set the pusher prop trend decades ago as a successful design for water operations).
One can't deny the sexy lines of the Icon A5 flying boat and the way they have positioned it as the next generation cool machine that can supposedly do fun stuff on water. The Aircraft may not be as great as the marketing team suggests but full marks to their success at putting it out there better than anyone else. Marketing lessons learned by their competitors!
Another manufacturer managed to get a good deal of coverage and that was the Super Petrel (above). At times it felt that their only competitor was the Icon A5 and the Petrel guys did everything to position their LSA flying boat as a cheaper and better alternative to the Icon. Neither of them come cheap really but they come out looking affordable without them having to emphasize on the reasons as to why an LSA is cheaper than a normal category airplane. Sex appeal does sell well, though.
Super Petrel with it's biplane wings
From the convention Seaplane World, there were just a few in the normal and commercial category. These were the modified/converted Amphibians such as the Kodiak shown in the first picture in this blog and a modified Cessna Caravan amphibians featured by Wipaire, one of the most famous manufacturers of floats for straight Airplanes (Shown below):
A few other floatplanes we saw were those featured by Colleges and Universities, notably the one featured below with their Piper Cub and our twitter friend Josh from that University.
The assorted Lake amphibians, Dehavilland Beavers (below), Grumman Goose, Widgeon, Albatross etc.. all vintage and classics were present although not in large numbers. They were just there in same numbers at most air shows.
The Seabees were there at the main event (pic below) and at the Seaplane base as well, in good number.
At Seaplane base:
Lake Winnebago is the venue for the seaplane base. It is a short drive and we suggest people to take the shuttle service from the main event (at the bus bay or from the seaplane campsite) to the Seaplane base. The cost was US$3 for a round trip that is quick and easy.
The seaplane base is a popular hangout for all seaplane pilots and fans of things that fly and can boat. There were a few more Lake amphibians at the seaplane base than at the main event static/campsite but mostly the older Buccaneers, LA4200EP (pic below) types were on the water when we were there multiple times.
This Seaplane base area has been fondly dubbed as the EAA's "Margaritaville" for it's quiet, secluded and peaceful environs.
On one hand the atmosphere is very relaxed and one can spend some nice time here taking a break from the main event and on the other hand there isn't much else to do. We saw no contest and flying such as what is common in major splash-ins.
The only excitement came from the few demonstration flights/water landings from the 2 notable LSA's mentioned before (Icon and Super Petrel) and those demos drew crowds. See below (Icon A5).
Super Petrel demo below
So, the main take away from the show as far as Seaplanes are concerned is that the LSA's are the only new offerings and while the demos wowed the crowd, may knew that somebody with a recreational pilot license wouldn't be able to do all those maneuvers and perhaps would get themselves into a whole lot of trouble flying these LSA's in less than ideal conditions.
We dare say that the LSA demos took place under ideal conditions, at times that were literally allocated for the same and with no wakes, no swell, not even a light chop. And the wind conditions was perfect. Luckily the demo pilots managed a decent job most of the time.
Having said all of the above, there was a lot of interest from people who wanted to be able to fly unrestricted, in normal (not perfect) conditions, day and night with more capacity than an LSA which can only seat 2 including pilot. And many of those people we spoke to would have welcomed a normal category new production Seaplane such as the Lake line of amphibious Aircraft in the past. There's a vast gap to be filled between a restrictive LSA of 2 seats and a large new amphibian of 9-18 seats.
Here are some other photos from the main event (below) with a few descriptions attached. We enjoyed the show and found it to be a fruitful venue for networking and studying the various new concepts that are ever changing and hopefully making it better for GA.
There were a few of these beautiful rebuilt Wacos and other types that were like eye candies for aviators.
Capt. Anup (left) with Mahindra rep.wishing them well.
There were many beautiful Cessna C195 classics and the entire line was labelled as Route 195!
The usual twin turboprop Beech's and others at the Airshow main event.
Aerobatic teams comprising of AT6 Texans, T28s and jet trainers, other military WW2 onwards to Korean war, Vietnam war era warbirds all made an appearance in thrilling flying displays.
If there are any comments or questions, please post them for review and acceptance.