OSHKOSH, Wis. - Steve and Suzanne Oliver have been performing at EAA AirVenture for 25 years… but 2011 marks the debut of their Oregon Aero® FireDancer Night Show at the Oshkosh venue. Add this to Steve’s scheduled daytime aerobatic performances and Suzanne’s awe-inspiring skywriting… and it’s clear to see why this acclaimed husband-and-wife aerobatic and skywriting duo have been in demand for return performances here since 1986!
“The eyes of the aviation world are on Oshkosh,” says Suzanne. “What happens here makes international news. So the opportunity to perform here, year after year, brings us broader recognition than any other air show. Every performer wants the opportunity to be asked to perform at Oshkosh. To be associated with AirVenture is still a biggie for us, because only those with a proven professional reputation over time continue to be asked back again.”
The Olivers are the 2010 recipients of the Bill Barber Award for Showmanship, presented by World Airshow News and friends and family of the late Bill Barber. The award goes to air show performers who demonstrate great skill and showmanship. They also earned the International Council of Air Shows Sword of Excellence award in 1999 for their extraordinary level of professionalism in the air show industry.
The Oliver Aerial Team, as they are known, offer three different world-renowned acts with their highly-modified 1956 De Havilland Chipmunk: Steve performs rock-n-roll aerobatics as the Oregon Aero® SkyDancer, and Bob Seger-inspired pyrobatic night shows as the Oregon Aero® FireDancer. Suzanne and Steve both perform the rare aerial artform of skywriting as the Oregon Aero® SkyWriter. And the couple offer nostalgic open-air barnstorming pleasure rides in their 1928 New Standard D-25 biplane at venues across the country.
Steve’s classic daytime aerobatics will take to the skies at the AirVenture flightline (starting at 3:30 daily) on Tuesday, July 26 and Thursday, July 28. His action-packed 12-minute routine is performed at speeds up to 220mph, set to classic rock-n-roll and lively narration, accentuated by a roaring engine and voluminous smoke trails. Larger than typical air show aircraft, the SkyDancer warbird dominates the aerobatic box with aerial ballet consisting of loops, rolls, avalanches, humpty-bumps, octagon eights, point-n-hesitation rolls, and low inverted passes tight in spectators’ view for optimum photo shots.
As the nation’s only female professional skywriter, Suzanne is on call throughout AirVenture to wow crowds on the ground with smoke messages in the sky. If you think you see wisps of clouds forming into the shape of a smiley face or a celebrative message, it’s actually Suzanne in the Oregon Aero® SkyWriter. The aircraft will be barely visible, because it will be 10,000-13,000 feet above ground, crafting letters and images in reverse against a slate of blue sky so spectators below can appreciate the view.
With Suzanne at the controls, the SkyWriter flies high and wide in elegant loops, scripting mile-long letters two miles up in the sky. As Pepsi’s skywriter for more than 23 years, Suzanne is likely the most experienced skywriter in the world. She creates smoke signals that astonish spectators for up to 30 miles in every direction. As Suzanne takes the aircraft through its precisely choreographed penmanship, skywriting fluid vaporizes in SkyWriter’s exhaust system, expanding behind it in legible white smoke.
Following its inauguration at AirVenture 2010, the 2011 Night Air Show will return on Saturday, July 30, to bring this year’s aviation extravaganza to a dazzling close. It’s a thrill to see the night sky lit up by colorful streams of sparkling light, drawn through the air by precision aerobatics, set to rousing music and thundering pyrotechnic explosions. Start time is approximately 8:30 p.m.
As darkness falls, Oregon Aero® SkyDancer transforms into FireDancer, brightening the night sky with huge trails of colorful sparks streaming behind each wingtip, tracing Steve’s aerobatics across the black expanse. Smoke, lights, Roman candles and silver fountains are fired electronically from the cockpit, igniting dozens of fireworks from both wingtips. All of this is choreographed to the driving sounds of Bob Seger, which propel FireDancer Against the Wind with Night Moves you’ll Never Forget!
Suzanne preps for Steve’s night show by individually wiring nearly 50 large-scale fireworks to the stainless steel mounts on FireDancer’s wingtips. This painstaking process takes eight hours.
Once Steve sets FireDancer in motion, it takes only eight minutes to set off all the pyrotechnics, including fountains that spew massive streams of sparks that trail 1,000 feet behind the aircraft as it paints loops, rolls and Cuban Eights through the night sky. All the while, multi-colored balls explode into cascading works of pyrotechnic art.
Tens of thousands of fans will be drawn to the flightline, where they will be treated to a stunning night show by Steve and many of the world’s fellow top air show performers (including the AeroShell Aerobatic Team, Bob Carlton, Gene Soucy and Matt Younkin).
Earlier in the day, Steve and the other night show performers will be interviewed during a live broadcast on EAA Radio (Oshkosh 365, www.oshkosh365.org) from the Welcome Center at 11-11:30 a.m. Country music star and pilot Aaron Tippin will follow at 11:30.
Following the night show, performers will be available for a meet-and-greet alongside their aircraft on Conoco Phillips Plaza. In the afterglow of the night air show, a fireworks display will close out AirVenture 2011 with a bang.
THE OREGON AERO CONNECTION
The Olivers have trusted Oregon Aero seating, headset and helmet products since the company’s founding in 1989. Oregon Aero, based in Scappoose, Oregon, designs and manufactures products for aviation and other industries that eliminate pain, improve impact protection and reduce noise. The company has been engineering, testing, certifying and manufacturing advanced seating systems for more than 20 years.