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Wed, Feb 11, 2009

'Concorde Reunion' To Celebrate Oshkosh Milestone

AirVenture Programs Will Mark 40th Anniversary Of SST's First Flight

A handful of occurrences over the decades have helped establish EAA's annual AirVenture Oshkosh fly-in as the world's premiere annual general aviation event. Undeniably, one of those milestones occurred in 1985 when the British Airways Concorde supersonic transport (SST) made its first of five visits to Wittman Regional Airport.

That "happening" helped enhance the stature of "Oshkosh" in the eyes of the global aviation community.

This being the 40th anniversary year of Concorde's first flight, EAA will commemorate the aircraft's unforgettable Oshkosh appearances with a series of special programs and activities at AirVenture 2009, July 27-August 2. The Concorde Reunion will involve pilots and co-pilots from the airplane's five visits; cabin crew members; engineers, mechanics, and most importantly, attendees who took flights the sleek SST or simply witnessed her touching down and taking off on runway 18/36.

"Concorde is retired, but her legacy lives on - especially in the hearts and minds of Oshkosh attendees," said EAA President Tom Poberezny. "We've invited members of the flight crews who participated in the Oshkosh experience to offer their perspectives on the airplane -- what it was like to fly it, and its participation at Oshkosh, which was a unique mission for the British Airways personnel."

Currently in the planning stages, a series of forums and presentations throughout the week will explore various aspects of the airplane, its unique mission, and events that led to its first grand appearance at Oshkosh. Also being planned are special events to bring together passengers and crewmembers from Concorde's Oshkosh flights, including a reunion photo shoot on AeroShell square and a special evening program at Theater in the Woods. More information will be announced as details are confirmed.

Captain Tony Yule, a Concorde co-pilot for British Airways, is coordinating the former Concorde crewmembers to appear at Oshkosh. "The idea is to have two captains, two co-pilots, two engineers, some cabin crew - allowing us to provide complete coverage for most any event we want to do here," he said.

Several key figures have already committed to appear, including the members of the flight crew in 1985: John Eames, Ian Smith, and Dave MacDonald. The captain of that first Oshkosh flight, John Cook, passed away in 2005.

FMI: www.airventure.org

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