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Oshkosh plays host to annual fly-in

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Hudson Star Observer
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OSHKOSH -- Hundreds of thousands of airplane enthusiasts will descend on Oshkosh this week for the Experimental Aircraft Association's annual fly-in.

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Big attractions this year include rare vintage warplanes and some of the newest technology that may help return humans to the moon.

The skies above Oshkosh will be swarming with planes this week and little Wittman Regional Airport will temporarily take the mantle of "worlds busiest" from O'Hare in Chicago.

One of those planes will be a B-1 bomber. EAA spokesperson Dick Knapinski says it's the first time in more than ten years a B-1 has been on display, and there are a lot of other warplanes to look at.

He says the fly-in this year is holding what they call the "big bomber reunion," with of the great bombers of the WWII era. He says this includes four or five B-17s, B25s, and rarer still, a British Lancaster bomber. He says there are only two in the air in the world.

While the main attraction is airplanes, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration will show off some of its outer space equipment.

A full-scale space shuttle engine is on the grounds, and NASA will show off a new space-capsule called a Crew Exploration Vehicle.

NASA spokesperson Kathy Barnstorff says it's the first time the new craft will be at EAA. She says the mockup is a cut in half version of a CEV, and spectators will be able to look inside and see what the agency anticipates astronauts will be sitting in when they head to the moon, Mars and beyond.

Barnstorff says NASA hopes to return humans to the moon by the year 2020.

More than 700,000 people are expected at the Airventure fly-in. People-watchers should keep an eye out for famous pilots and astronauts.

Also expected is actor Harrison Ford, who played space pilot Han Solo in the Star Wars movies.

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