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Love flying? Oshkosh is the place by gosh

Photo by Brian Hansel The B-29 Superfortress bombed Japan during World War 2.

Back in June while taking aerial shots of Wadena I was lucky enough to get a good tip from Larry Brincefield, a local pilot, and now I am passing it on.

If you love flying and aircraft the place for you in late July is the Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture convention in Oshkosh, Wis. You will not be lonely. The week-long show draws 800,000 people and is the largest annual gathering of aviation lovers in the United States.

You are on the cutting edge of aviation when you visit the 1,392-acre Wittman Regional Airport, home of the busiest air control tower in the world. More than 12,000 aircraft use Wittman during the summer show. Not only are aviation companies out in force, so are the home-made innovators, the warriors of past and present, the ultralights, the gliders, the choppers and even the model airplane lovers.

This year's show featured a Boeing B-29, the World War 2-era four-engine bomber, along with a German glider that could be flown either on the updrafts or by a propeller.

Piper Cub two-seaters with stall speeds of 33 knots are joined by F-18 Hornet jet fighters that can hit Mach 1.8. Planes that can be parked in the average garage grace the same field as those that mount four engines and have wing spans of 141 feet.

One of the highlights of Saturday afternoon's 3 ½ -hour air show was a mock bombing of Wittman Field. With thousands of spectators just across the runway gas explosions simulated a raid by fighter-bombers. The concussions of some of the blasts could be felt more than a football field away.

Since lifting off in 1953 in Milwaukee, Wis. the show has featured Harrier jump jets, Concorde jetliners, Stealth fighters, the V-22 Osprey, the SR-71 Blackbird, the Lockheed U-2, the Boeing 747 "Dreamlifter", Glenn Martin's jetpack and a visit from 15 Apollo astronauts, including the Apollo 11 crew of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins - who made history in in 1969 with a landing on the moon.