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blank 07/22/10 11:15AM AirVenture Cup, EAA, Events, OshKosh Air Venture, Stunt Flying

AirVenture Cup takes off this weekend from Mitchell airport

By: Staff reports, The Daily Republic

The skies will be alive in Mitchell this weekend during the 13th annual launch of the AirVenture Cup, the world’s largest cross-country air race.

According to a press release from the Mitchell Convention and Visitors Bureau, pilots from every background will come together in Mitchell for the launch, which is billed as one of the most successful racing events in aviation.

The public is invited to the airport Saturday and Sunday.

Weather permitting, free airplane rides for ages 7 to 17, tethered hot-air balloon rides and conversations with many of the pilots will be part of Saturday’s event.

The public is invited from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday to view more than 60 experimental aircraft and at 9 a.m. Sunday for the race launch. All activities are free and will take place at Wright Brothers Aviation, on the grounds of the Mitchell Municipal Airport.

Food and refreshments will be available Saturday, including a pancake feed from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and hamburgers and brats starting at 11 a.m.

The AirVenture Cup will have a new destination this year, racing from Mitchell to a private air strip at the Snow Crest Ranch in Montello, Wis. Running west to east will allow participants to take advantage of the prevailing tailwinds, according to the release. The starting point is alternated annually between Mitchell and Dayton, Ohio.

The AirVenture Cup is held in conjunction with the AirVenture Oshkosh fly-in convention, scheduled for Monday through Aug. 1 in Oshkosh, Wis.

The race will attempt to replicate the excitement of the Bendix Trophy Races of the 1930s, where the public watched some of the nation’s most famous pilots, including Jimmie Doolittle, Bill Lear Jr. and Amelia Earhart. Every aircraft in the AirVenture race is homebuilt, and many represent thousands of hours of painstaking work.

The race is open to Experimental Aircraft Association Members and is brought to Mitchell by the city of Mitchell, searchmitchell.com, the South Dakota Department of Transportation Aeronautics Commission and Wright Brothers Aviation.

The race started from Mitchell one other time, in 2008, when more than 1,000 people attended the event. Airport Manager Mike Scherschligt reminds people to bring their lawn chairs and to wear sunscreen.

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