Photo by Jim
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.
Photo by Phil Weston
The AirVenture crowd watches as WhiteKnightTwo makes it descent at
Photo by Abbey Haug
WhiteKnightTwo arrives at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009 at 2:46 p.m. for its
world public debut.
Photo by Phil High
An F-16 of the U.S. Air Force flight demonstration team The
Thunderbirds lifts off from EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009 Monday
afternoon, en route to Nellis Air Force Base.
July 27, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin - WhiteKnightTwo
(WK2), aka mother ship Eve, the launch vehicle for the first system
designed to take civilian travelers beyond the earth's atmosphere, made a
triumphant arrival at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009 at 2:46 p.m. for its
world public debut.
Eve did a fly-by at about 2:38 p.m.,
in the sky the same time as the Ford Tri-Motor. Then it left the immediate
area so a Thunderbird F-16 could take off and do a fly-by before it
departed for Nellis Air Force Base. Moments later, Elvis, an
Erickson S-64F Aircrane Helitanker, arrived and did a water drop
Eve did not do any fly-bys before
landing and stopping at AeroShell Square where it will now be towed onto
The largest all-composite aircraft ever
built, WK2 was developed by Mojave, California-based Scaled Composites,
the company founded by Burt Rutan, in partnership with Sir Richard
Branson's Virgin Galactic.
"This will be a major highlight of our
event," said EAA President and AirVenture Chairman Tom Poberezny,
before WK2's arrival. "Since the appearance of the X-Prize-winning
WhiteKnight and SpaceShipOne at AirVenture four years ago, our members
have eagerly awaited the next advancements from the Virgin Galactic and
Scaled Composites innovators."
Rutan, Scaled's chairman emeritus, credits
the EAA fly-in with encouraging him to develop the space launch system.
"To get the kind of feedback we get
here at Oshkosh was one of the ingredients that was important for me in
making the decision that maybe I can build a spaceship," Rutan said.
"Because without that interface, I wouldn't have had that strong
feeling that this was something the masses really want to do. So my
interface with Oshkosh dating back to 1971 was real important for me in
having the courage to say, 'Listen, I can do this, and I'm going to go for
WK2 will be on display at AeroShell Square
until its departure on Saturday.