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Wed, Sep 04, 2013

Best of Show! The Very Best/Worst of Oshkosh '13! (Part 2)

Compiled By The Staff and Readership of the Aero-News Network and Aero-TV (Part 2 of 5)

For quite a while, we have recognized the highs and lows inherent in the general and sport aviation community -- and yes, we’ve had a bit of fun in the process. There are but a few places where that is more apropos than at a major event like the Oshkosh Fly-In -- a place where one can take a solid read on the heart and soul of aviation. It's hard to know what really is going to make a difference and what really qualifies as exceptional unless you've been watching this industry carefully for several years... as we have.

Over the last few years, ANN readers remarks have been heavily incorporated into ALL aspects of this report, and not just the Aircraft awards and such. Their contributions have been carefully considered and (in many cases) incorporated into our annual summation.

The full list of our Annual Best Plane of the Year Selections (tentatively announced after Oshkosh and finalized at year's end) will await the end of the year. So; here are our picks for the Best and Worst of this year's Oshkosh... and why we think so...

ANN Thanks its readers, staff and supporters for their input to this year’s listings... in particular, ANN appreciates the input and assistance of Tom Patton, Nathan Cremisino, Ashley Hale, Paul Audd, Ben Flock, Dave Juwel, Judy Juwel, Gene Yarbrough, Maxine Scheer, Eric Van Gilder, John Ylinen, Bruce Brandon, Rich Davidson, Ginger Davidson, Tom Woodward, Karen Woodward, Maria Morrison, Roland Delhomme, and Katherine Tryon.

Oshkosh Show Stealer(s): Paul Poberezny’s “Victory Lap”

The rumors were clear... it was likely that if we saw Paul Poberezny at this year’s event, it might be for the last time. And, unfortunately, it was that. But for those of us who had the chance to say Hi... to see that smile and to shake hands with a guy who changed aviation for the better... to let him know how much we appreciated his efforts... well... if that isn’t a show stealer (and a heart-breaker), nothing is. God Bless You, Paul.

 

Runner(s)-Up:

  1. TWO Night Airshows! An immense crowd favorite, the night airshows have not only become a high point of the Oshkosh experience, but a grand way to entice folks from the area to come back and see another airshow... and let’s face it, ANYTHING that gets boots on the ground, at Wittman Field is a good thing. At the same time,the wonderful kaleidoscope of bright magic, warn colors and aerial mastery just plain makes aviation look as magical as we flyers know it is. Mission accomplished.
  2. Team AeroDynamix -- Sport Aviation’s ‘Home Team’
  3. Jet Man -- Exhilarating AND insane!
  4. Terrafugia -- Cars CAN Fly!


 

Funkiest Aircraft: Maverick Flying Car

A unique flying machine that also made its Oshkosh flying debut -- but without the fanfare shown other new designs.

 

Best Warbird: B-29, ‘FIFI’

This magnificent B-29 is a show-stopper wherever it goes... and a rare one at that. This is the airplane species that changed the world and saved tens of thousands of lives putting a stop to a vicious war... God bless all those who them.

 

Runner(s)-Up: F7F Tigercat

Steve Hinton flying the Big Cat: Unforgettable. It seems almost too much to contemplate when you think of what these airplanes once did and who flew them. They MUST keep flying so that we never forget.

 

Best Research Aircraft: Aviat CNG Husky

We’re not remotely sure how practical this thing is, but its nice to see some innovative research take place that allows for such possibilities. The multi-fuel nature of this program is particularly encouraging.

 

Runner(s)-Up:

  1. Perlan-FL 090 in a glider? Let’s go!
  2. GWI’s eSpyder... A research aircraft that is NOW a commercial reality... how cool is that?

  

Hottest Prospect (not yet evaluated): Synergy Aircraft’s ‘Synergy’

An exhaustively studied platform promising new levels in drag reduction, the Synergy is about as promising a new bird as we’ve in quite the while... and we can’t wait to see it in the air.

 

I Gotta Get Me One Of These: Sonex Xenos

No... not the jet... or even the hot little aerobatic single-seat Onex... but the Xenos motorglider. I love shutting the engine down and soaring, at will, and the Xenos has had my eye for years. If there was a really Fast-Build kit available, I’d have spent serious money by now. Someday...

 

Runner(s)-Up:

  1. Airplane Factory Sling 4
  2. RANS S-20. If Randy Schlitter builds it, I’ll fly it.
  3. Maverick Flying Car-Ultimate platform for exploration and accessing remote territory without loading a Jeep onto a CH-53.

 


Best Construction: CubCrafters...

Holy smokes... have you looked ANY of their recent aircraft over lately? These guys not only know how to build Cubs, they just flat-out know what true craftsmanship is... and it shows in any of the airplanes they’ve brought to Oshkosh and other shows for a number so years. Stunning airplane, simply stunning.


Best Upgrade: Belite Floats

Even the simplest and most cost-effective of today’s sport flyers should be able to try out their water wings... and the Belite series is no exception.

 

The Sexiest Aircraft at OSH 2013: The Gary Childs and George Backovich GP-5 (based on a George Pereira design)

Sleek, sexy as all get out and remarkably fast, this is an aircraft that was designed and thwarted in its quest at Unlimited racing having to settle for Super Sport Class and then Sport Class... and never failed to impress. I've rarely seen an airplane that can inspire the kind of whiplash response I see when pilots get their first glance at this slinky red monster. Simply put, its a work of aerial art. I'd love to get my hands on this thing...

 

Runner(s)-Up:

  1. ANY Lancair Evolution
  2. Synergy Aircraft Synergy

 

The Coolest Aircraft at OSH 2013: Sonex SubSonex Jet

I want to fly one. Actually, everyone at ANN wants to fly this thing... and that’s the rub. While the bird will cost well North of $100K to build, there is little to compare with the thought of owning one’s little personal jet... and the SubSonex attracts extreme interests for that reason alone... but should also attract interest for one more important reason...the fact that its being produced by a solid reputable company with a solid track record.


Best Darned Idea #1: EAA’s Saturday Night Airshow

Cool, clear, moonless night, spectacular visual spectacle in the night sky well coordinated to the music. Considering spectators who watched this truly marvelous visual experience from on the AirVenture Grounds, on the airport and off the airport anywhere one could see the night sky over the airport -- thousands thought likewise.

 

Best Darned Idea #2: Innovations Pavilion

Two years after ANN posited that one of the true saviors of sport and general aviation was to be found in the concept and processes of Innovation, someone at EAA listened. An ANN reader agreed and noted that, “I thought the "Innovations Pavilion" was a significant statement by the EAA Board that the organization was refocused on the interests of the members. It put the "experimental" possibilities for the future back at the forefront of what caused the organization to be started in the first place. I understand this expensive, air-conditioned facility provided free exhibit space to pre-start-up organizations with new-technology ideas. They competed for free exhibit space alongside corporate sponsors paying for the facility. This was one of the best things I saw at Airventure this year. The exhibits were truly inspiring of what we could be enjoying in future personal aviation.”

 

The Cloak Of Invisibility: Federal Agencies in Fed Pavilion

I don’t care what your politics are... but the events that have transpired to rob the aviation world of the opportunity to see and interact with your federal agencies is close to a criminally negligent scenario... and one that will surely make aviation less safe, less popular, less efficient and contribute to its decline. Why has this Administration declared war on aviation? The gov’t uses aviation for its own purposes, but seems to object to its citizenry ability to utilize it, personally and professionally. We’re stunned with what has transpired in the past few years...

 

Runner(s)-Up:

  1. EAA/AOPA on Third Class Medical Waiver (which the FAA clearly does not want to approve...even though AOPA, in particular, wants to prostitute it, ad nauseum, for marketing purposes).
  2. FAA accountability -- I know, I know... since when was there any to speak of?
  3. NATCA--Where were they during EAA v FAA battle? ... Answer: AWOL.

 

Best Airshow Performance: Sean Tucker... always

THE consummate performer... its more than just what he does, but the way that he does it. Sean brings incredible joy AND precision to the art and craft of professional airshows, and his is an example that we hope millions of Americans will get to see more and more as soon as this Administration’s God-Awful war on airshows comes to an end.

 

Runner(s)-Up:

  1. Team AeroDynamix
  2. Terrafugia
  3. Skip Stewart/Melissa Pemberton’s ‘Tinstix’ routine 

 

Hey ANN Readers! It's NOT too late to let us know what YOU think! Let's hear from YOU, our readers and viewers, about the all the highs and lows YOU experienced in your examination of what is still the greatest airshow on Earth, warts and all.

 

FMI: Best/Worst of Oshkosh 2013 Comments? Complaints? Additions? Let Us Have It!

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