Day 5 of AirVenture has came to a close with a spectacular airshow and amazing tribute to military veterans. However, it was Boeing that stole the show today, not only with the arrival of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, but also with the inclusion of the only flying B-29 Superfortress, ‘Fifi’, performing in the airshow.
The Boeing came in around 9:30, after performing a fly-by down the runway. The weather was picture perfect, clear skies and virtually no cross-wind so the landing was flawless and not as memorable as the Airbus A380 landing from the 2009 AirVenture. The Dreamliner was taxied into the Conoco Phillips plaza in the place of the B-29 ‘Fifi’. The crowd almost immediately began lining up and stood in the sun and heat for hours just to get a glimpse inside the Dreamliner. The 787 was ZA001, the first one ever flown and was still in a test configuration, with the interior mostly consisting of test stations and weight ballast tanks.
The 787 then capped off what was an amazing airshow by departing shortly after the last warbirds landed and gave a wave to the crowd as it climbed out by rocking its wings. The airshow was topped off with an extended warbird extravaganza, with air raid sirens, pyrotechnics and simulated attacks. The drone of dozens of radial engines as formations of WWII era vintage airplanes flow overhead added to the ambiance. The expanded airshow will be repeated on Saturday as well. There was even a naval themed WWII encampment staffed by re-enactors and a mock US Naval Base.
Earlier in the day, there was a salute to the veterans again with a ‘Parade of Veterans’ that began at the Conoco Phillips Plaza. The veterans were greeted by Gary Sinise, an advocate for for veterans. The airshow included many tributes as well, honoring the many veterans and current members of the military in the crowd. Gary Sinise also performed with the Lt. Dan Band at the Theater in the Woods Friday evening, sponsored by the EAA, the Warbirds of America and the Disabled American Veterans.
Around 10:30, at the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Women in Aviation also held their annual group photo. It’s estimated that over 300 female pilots were present, including over half a dozen ‘WASPS’ from the WWII era. The photo’s were taken by John Slemp of Aerographs.
One of the bigger events to look forward to tomorrow is the night airshow. It’s the second night airshow of this AirVenture, after returning this year due to all the positive reactions the first night-time airshow drew last year. Also, weather permitting, you may want to arrive extra early for the hot-air balloon launch occuring at 6 am.