One of aviation’s greatest spectacles is scheduled for late July. Of course that’s Airventure but the spectacle to which I refer is a flight of a 40 ship formation of DC-3’s to Oshkosh to commemorate the 75th anniversary of its first flight. It’s the plane at the forefront of modern airline transport and one of the “game changers” during the Second World War. I enjoy the rare sight of even one of them flying overhead.
The plan was to include a weekend rendezvous at Rock Falls Il (KSQI) which in my experience is one of the nicer small airports in Northern Illinois. On Monday they would arrive in formation for AirVenture’s opening day. The owners group, which says it’s been working for more than a year to organize the gathering independent of EAA under the name The Last Time, has termed the EAA announcement “a hostile takeover”
“The Last Time” Public Statement: EAA announced their planned hostile takeover of The Last Time celebration and formation flight. In the announcement, the Association stated, “EAA will exclusively organize and coordinate all AirVenture activities for the DC-3 75th anniversary.” This is clearly an attempt at ousting the celebration’s original organizers. “It was planned, coordinated, and privately funded without any support from EAA. Now they want to claim it to be theirs.” The group said.
In part I understand the dilemma. EAA needs to coordinate the arrival and footprint . No mean feat given the real estate that’s needed. However, “The Last Time” isn’t anxious to relinquish control. They organized it after all. Ultimately, if they intend to head to Oshkosh, they need to play by EAA’s rules. While it is the signature event, it’s only part of the Airventure experience. They need to fit in as honored guests.
I’d given some thought to making the drive to see the planes in Rock Falls. While that would be great, the roar of 40 DC-3’s over 600.000 excited aviation enthusiasts and 10,000 planes in attendance would be flat out cool for spectators and the gooney bird pilots alike. EAA recently issued their statement. Six weeks to patch things up or it won’t happen. Do it for the aviation fans all over the world.