59 years ago today, February 14, 1955, Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 designated by NATO as the “Fishbed” first flew. Approximately 60 countries over four continents have flown the MiG-21, and it still serves many nations a half-century after its maiden flight. The fighter made aviation records. At least by name, it is the most-produced supersonic jet aircraft in aviation history and the most-produced combat aircraft since the Korean War, and it had the longest production run of a combat aircraft (1959 to 1985 over all variants) with over 11,000 produced.
This MiG-21 is owned by the EAA Museum in Oshkosh and is a Chinese version built in 1963.
Paul Howard Poberezny, the leader of a small group of aviation enthusiasts who had been assembling at his home on an irregular basis, founded the Experimental Aircraft Association and is elected its first President. On January 26th, 1953, Poberezny calls the first official meeting of EAA at Curtiss-Wright (now Timmerman) Field in Milwaukee. The group originally gathered together to aid and assist amateur aircraft builders. However, its purposes quickly encompassed the promotion of all facets of aviation – especially sport aviation, the preservation of Americas rich heritage of personal flight – and the promotion of aviation safety. The organization derives its name from the Experimental Aircraft category, which is assigned to airplanes used for recreational and educational purposes only. One of the keys to the associations constant growth is the fact that its membership is open to everyone interested in aviation.
From humble beginnings the EAA has grown into a huge organization that fights tirelessly for the General Aviation, Vintage and Warbrids communities. EAA is, of course, best know for their annual gathering AirVenture which is more commonly known and loved as simply Oshkosh.
The calendar marches on and mid-August finds 3 more air shows on my to-do list. Two I’m working and one is just to watch.
First on this list is the Waterloo Air Show that takes place August 20-21 at the Region of Waterloo International Airport outside of Toronto. I’m working airside security at this one so there won’t be many photo opportunities but I’ll do my best to grab a few shots of what looks to be a fantastic group of performers and static displays including the Snowbirds and the CF-18 demonstration team.
The end of the month marks the unofficial end of Summer and in Toronto that means two things. The end of the CNE and the Canadian International Air Show, better known as the CNE Air Show. This will be my second year working in Boss Control on the Ontario Place island. Absolute best seat in the house to see a fast paced over-water show from the likes of perennial favourites the Snowbirds to the V22 Osprey making its first appearance and the Heavy Metal Jet Team who put on a great show at Oshkosh. Dates for this show are September 3rd, 4th and 5th.
September 16th marks probably what will be my last road trip of the year to watch airplanes. Vintage Wings of Canada and the EAA Canada chapters come together for Wings over Gatineau, a one day event which promises to see the skies full of birds- military, private, old and new. I’m a member of both groups but this one is strictly for pleasure and picture taking. Gatineau is located just across the Quebec border from Ottawa.
The Canadian air show calendar might be more compressed than the US but there’s lots to see in that time.