Like seemingly every other American enterprise these days, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) has added social justice to its mission. Thus, at least a portion of its time and effort is devoted to highlighting the achievements of members of victim groups. The largest group of victims to be celebrated at Oshkosh is women. Each person who shows up at Oshkosh identifying as female is given a free T-shirt and asked to pose for a group photo:
Anyone whose parents own an airplane can learn to fly easily. Anyone whose credit card has an ample limit can learn to fly easily (flight schools are not so flush with cash that they would turn away someone based on race, gender ID, or LGBTQIA status). Thus, the group victim photo (above) turns out to be a photo of wealthy white women and girls.
A 1:00 PM P-51 “Warbirds in Review” talk involved towing a vintage $3 million P-51 in front of some bleachers and seating two P-51 combat veterans next to an interviewer. A standing-room-only audience assembled in the hot Wisconsin mid-day sun. One pilot had flown roughly 100 combat missions in the P-51. The other had flown a combined total of more than 400 combat missions in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. With the perfectly restored airworthy P-51 airplane in front of the crowd and these two guys who could tell us about their combat experience, what questions were asked? “What was it like to be black in 1940 when segregation prevailed?” (Answer from Charles McGee, Tuskegee Airman: “I went to high school in the North and we didn’t have segregation.”) By the time we bailed out at 1:35 PM, not a single question had been asked about aviation and we hadn’t gotten to the aviators’ first flying lesson, much less learned anything about the fire-breathing P-51. These guys were not experts on being black in the U.S. in the bad old days, any more than any other African-American of the same age.
Boeing still hasn’t fixed the 737 MAX system design and software, but they were all-in on diversity at their Oshkosh pavilion: