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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS Feed Vintage Aircraft Association Celebrates Air Mail History
Site improvements enhance guest experiences
1911 Bleriot Queen reproduction
EAA's recently completed 1911 Bleriot Queen reproduction will help celebrate the air mail centennial.

This year marks the 100th year since the first piece of mail was sent by way of airplane in the United States, and EAA's Vintage Aircraft Association has a lot of celebration planned for the Vintage area of AirVenture 2011, located just south of ConocoPhillips Plaza on the flightline.

The air mail centennial celebration will feature a display of aircraft that were used to fly mail, including EAA's recently completed 1911 Bleriot Queen monoplane reproduction; a Stinson Tri-Motor from the Golden Wings Museum in Anoka, Minnesota; and from the EAA AirVenture Museum collection, a Pitcairn PA-7S Sport Mailwing and a 1927 Swallow biplane. Other aircraft from the era will round out the display. There will also be a replica Air Mail station where you can send a letter, and exhibits relating to early years of air mail delivery in the United States.

"We're excited to help EAA host this centennial celebration of the first air mail flight in the United States, and we look forward to displaying a wide spectrum of airplanes which were used to fly the mail," said H.G. Frautschy, VAA executive director. "From the Bleriot-Queen monoplane replica in the markings of Earl Ovington, who was sworn in as the first U.S. Air Mail pilot, to the multiengine transports that flew the mail in the years between the wars, we'll have plenty of aircraft on hand to showcase this epic period in aviation history."

Responding to member's comments, improvements have been made to the Vintage Hangar to enclose the metalworking workshop to significantly reduce noise in the rest of the building. A separate room for the metal workshop was created and double-insulated to ensure that other activities in the hangar can be enjoyed.

"Thanks to the generosity of key donors, and the efforts of our volunteer construction experts, we've been able to further enhance the Vintage Hangar so it can host both the type clubs and our hands-on metalshaping workshops," Frautschy said. "Be sure to stop by and learn more about your favorite aircraft type, and try your hand at an English Wheel or other metal shaping tools. We'll have experts in both areas to help you learn more."

Other aircraft on display will include a selection of past grand champion airplanes parked along Wittman Road as you head south from the VAA's Red Barn Hospitality center and VAA Store. This year, parked in special type club parking a bit further south, will be a selection of airplanes from the Cessna 170, Stinson, Swift, and Cessna 195 type clubs.

The Vintage area of AirVenture has a number of additional events planned for its guests, including:

  • Breakfast and a Briefing: In addition to a hearty breakfast offered at the VAA's volunteer-run Tall Pines Café every morning starting on Friday, July 22, from 6:30-9:30 a.m., pilots can get a full weather briefing from FSS specialists at the FSS satellite trailer parked next door. Check the weather and file flight plans without having to walk to the FSS below the control tower. The briefing trailer will begin operations on Monday, July 25, at 6:30 a.m.
  • VAA Message Center: Visitors can write a message in the "notebook on a string" for people who frequent the Red Barn. The names of people who have a message waiting will be posted on the marker board near the message area.
  • VAA Picnic: On Wednesday, July 27, friends and members of the VAA are invited to attend the annual picnic held at the EAA Nature Center. Tickets will be sold at the Red Barn and must be purchased in advance. Dinner starts at 6 p.m. New to the event this year, in addition to soft drinks included in the price of dinner, a cash bar will be available. Those interested should contact Jeannie Hill at 815-245-4464 for reservations.
  • Friends of the VAA Red Barn: If you are a friend of the Red Barn, stop by the VAA information desk to check in and receive a special name badge.
  • Shawano Fly-Out: The fly-out will take place on Saturday, July 30, after a morning briefing scheduled for 7 a.m. on the porch of the Red Barn. A signup sheet for the event will be available at the Red Barn desk.
  • Portable electronics charging station: To help you stay connected, the VAA is offering a place for visitors to drop off their cellphones, iPods, iPads, and other electronic items to be charged. A claim ticket with a pickup time is given to those who drop off their electronics at the station, which is located in the building just to the west of the Red Barn. A donation to help fund VAA programs is appreciated.
  • VAA Judging Awards: VAA members who wish to have their Antique, Classic, and Contemporary aircraft judged during the week by VAA's volunteer judging corps can register their aircraft at the Showplane Camping/Registration building, located south of the Vintage Hangar. Aircraft to be judged must be registered no later than Thursday afternoon, July 28. Judging ends at noon on Friday and the annual VAA Aircraft Awards ceremony will take place on Saturday, July 30, at 6 p.m., in the Vintage Hangar.

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