As you make your way around the grounds, you can find many unusual or even unique airplanes. However, you won’t see many paint jobs as eye-catching as Lonnie Autry’s RV-8, N280LG, nicknamed 2 Sharks. With a great white shark painted on the belly and water painted splashing over the whole airplane, 2 Sharks is truly a work of art.
Lonnie has always wanted to have an RV-8, and has been dreaming of fun airplane designs since he was young.
“In high school, I sketched out an airplane design that I thought was cool,” Lonnie said. “The paint job was all white, and this dark color streamlines all the way down the nose, scalloped on the wings. I sort of had that idea, and with the help of John Stahr, we came up with something fun.”
Lonnie didn’t have a strong pull for any theme. However, after talking it over with John, EAA 714251, they decided on an ocean theme, fitting in perfectly with his California life, his wife’s job as an ocean conservationist, and his beloved dog Sharky, who likes to fly with Lonnie.
“There is a great white shark on the belly,” Lonnie said. “My dog is named Sharky, and that is why the airplane is called 2 Sharks.”
Even when Sharky isn’t flying with Lonnie, there’s still a reminder of him painted on the airplane. Painted on the inside of the airplane’s fuel access panel is Sharky.
Even before the paint job was finished, Sharky was never far away from the airplane.
“The plane was on blocks so John could be on his creeper,” Lonnie explained, “and half the time [John is painting], he’s got Sharky on top of him.”
While Sharky couldn’t come with Lonnie to AirVenture this year, Lonnie is still thrilled to be in Oshkosh.
“This is my aviation vacation for the year, and I’m happy to be here,” Lonnie said. “It’s just an awesome experience.”