The Experimental Aircraft Association
began sixty years ago as a flying club. "Because the planes we flew were modified or built from scratch, they were required to display an 'expirimental' placard where it could be seen on the door or cockpit," explains founder Paul Poberezny on the association's website
. From that small group of individuals, the EAA has now grown to over 175,000 members and 1,000 branches internationally.
Starting as a small "fly-in" event, EAA has held an air show every year since the group's establishment. The annual event officially adopted the "AirVenture" name in 2008. Each year AirVenture draws both aviation enthusiasts and innovators from around the world, who seek to push the limits of aviation and change the way we fly.
Making its long-awaited public appearance at EAA AirVenture was the HondaJet
, where two of the planes demonstrated a side by side formation flight.
"EAA AirVenture Oshkosh has special significance for me. This event is where I introduced the proof-of-concept HondaJet to the world for the very first time. It was truly the beginning of Honda's exciting venture into aviation," remarked Michimasa Fujino, Honda Aircraft President and CEO. "I am very excited that EAA AirVenture Oshkosh has once again provided the setting for the first public appearance and demonstration flight of not one, but two FAA-conforming HondaJets."
HondaJet, which was founded in 2006, has currently produced six jets that have met FAA certification requirements. Those flown in the EAA AirVenture Air Show were the third and fifth jets produced, made in 2011 and 2013, respectively. The company is aiming for FAA certification by the end of next year, following multiple delays
Described by Honda as a "light business jet aircraft," the plane boasts advances in technology, such as the over-the-wing engine mount, that make it "the fastest, highest-flying, quietest, and most fuel-efficient jet in its class," according to Honda.
Capable of flying at speeds of 483 miles per hour, the HondaJet also operates at an altitude of 43,000 feet, the same height as the much larger Boeing 777. Don't expect to see any HondaJets alongside Boeings at major airports, though. The $4.5 million HondaJet is intended for private air travel, and is only able to carry up to five passengers and one crew member.
We caught up with a friend of the show at EAA AirVenture, Yves "Jetman
" Rossy. TRANSLOGIC first featured Rossy in 2012 when we traveled to Jetman's home turf of Switzerland
For those not familiar, in 2006 Rossy became the first man to fly with a jet-propelled wing. Since then, he has flown his jetwing across the English Channel and at the Grand Canyon. The now 53-year-old Jetman was a 17-year veteran of the Swiss Air Force before ditching the fuselage and jumping out of a plane with only a jetwing.
Jetman's wing is propelled by four JetCar P200 engines. These engines, plus the 6.5 foot wingspan allow Rossy to soar through the skies at an average speed of 125 miles per hour for a distance of around 15 miles.
Ten years after his first jet-propelled flight, Rossy performed his first public jet-propelled flight in the United States at the EAA AirVenture.
"It's the Super Bowl of aviation," according to Rossy. "Many of these people are experimental... I am also experimental in my development and that's really gratifying to share."
Currently Rossy is the only person to ever fly with a jet-propelled wing on his back, but according to him that will soon change.
"I did work to instruct my first student. One month ago he did his first motorized flight but after sixty glider flights," announced Rossy. "The next step for next year is side by side... playing around the clouds."
John McGinnis flew his first airplane when he was only seven years old, and even then realized how inefficient personal planes were. Forty years later, after teaching himself aeronautical engineering and fluid dynamics, John invented Synergy
, a cheaper, more efficient small aircraft.
"It's the world's first double boxtail airplane," explains McGinnis. "It's a massive drag reduction, makes for quiet, roomy and comfortable, fuel efficient aircraft of the future [sic]."
The efficiency of Synergy is due to its unique boxtail design, which allows Synergy to travel more than 1,700 miles at up to 200 miles per hour, all while achieving fuel efficiency greater than 40 miles per gallon and carrying up to six passengers.
"Turns out when you put the tails above and behind the wing tips, and you cause them to push really hard against the atmosphere, they reduce what's called the induce drag," said McGinnis. "You get the same benefit as if you had a longer wingspan, but we don't have the penalty of a longer wingspan."
In addition to the HondaJet, Jetman and the Synergy, our episode
at EAA AirVenture also covered the remote controlled unmanned Nimbus glider and the Greenwing eSpyder, which you can see in the video at the top of the page.
Of course, no trip to an experimental air show would be complete without a flying car concept. Be sure to tune in next week for our feature on the Terrafugia Transition