Warbird Gathering Set For Topeka During AirVenture

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A non-profit group is organizing what it hopes will be a major warbird event. The Gathering of Warbirds and Legends will be held at Forbes Field in Topeka, Kan., from Aug. 1-4 and is inviting warbird owners and operators to reserve one of 65 "slots" to participate in the event. Slot holders will be picked based on "aircraft and crew credentials." Those with slots will take part in a revenue-sharing scheme that will kick back at least part of their operating expenses and heavily subsidize their fuel for the event. Slot holders will also be invited to take part in a mass formation flight of up to 52 aircraft. About a third of the slots were claimed on the first day. Scott Glover, a warbird owner and one of the show's organizers, said the revenue-sharing plan is unique among aviation events. "We certainly won't make any money in attending this Topeka event, but there is no doubt that this is unique, historic, and very affordable for all," he said. The event is scheduled for the last four days of AirVenture Oshkosh, which is the largest annual gathering of warbirds (more than 300) but organizers said they've been in contact with EAA about the scheduling.

The organizers of the Topeka gathering say their event will be an alternative for "pilots, owners, and aircraft history buffs not necessarily able to afford the expenses, or longevity, of AirVenture." As EAA Chairman Jack Pelton told AVweb in January, AirVenture has never paid participants for attending the big show. Those who want to attend AirVenture are being encouraged to consider leaving Oshkosh on Wednesday or Thursday to make the Topeka event as well. The Topeka show will be heavily promoted in the Topeka and Kansas City areas to encourage spectator attendance, and the admission revenue remaining after overhead is paid will be distributed to the slot holders. Those who don't get a slot, along with the owners of other private aircraft, are welcome to fly in to the event.