Apollo 13 anniversary to be commemorated at AirVenture

Members of the Apollo 13 crew and team will participate in activities at AirVenture 2015 marking the 45th anniversary of what was called the “successful failure” of the aborted moon mission.

EAA AirVenture 2015, the 63rd annual Experimental Aircraft Association fly-in convention, will be held July 20-26 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.

Apollo 13 mission commander Jim Lovell and flight director Gene Kranz will lead the members of the mission team participating in activities at Oshkosh. They will recount the preparations for what was planned as the third manned mission to the moon, the circumstances surrounding the malfunction that threatened the crew, and the ingenuity and determination that allowed the astronauts’ safe return to Earth.

The final schedule and list of additional Apollo 13 team members are still being established. Exact schedules and activities will be announced as they are confirmed, EAA officials said.

Lovell is one of America’s most experienced astronauts, with flights on four missions. After flying aboard Gemini 7 and Gemini 12, he was command module pilot for the famed Apollo 8 mission that in December 1968 became the first manned mission to orbit the moon. His flight in Apollo 13 was portrayed by Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks in the 1995 movie “Apollo 13.”

Kranz was one of Apollo’s most experienced flight officers during the 1960s, and was a top official in NASA mission operations until his retirement in 1994 with experience stretching from the early Mercury flights through the Space Shuttle program. Most recognized with his trademark vest that he wore in NASA Mission Control, he was portrayed by actor Ed Harris in “Apollo 13,” whose performance earned an Academy Award nomination.

Both Lovell and Kranz have visited AirVenture on several occasions, most notably in 1994 when the “Salute to Apollo” program recognized the 25th anniversary of the first successful manned moon landing. Both men are also avid aviation enthusiasts with military aviation backgrounds.