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Shelly Tumbleson, Glenn Weiblen, Mike Jagge, Durwood Blasingame and Roy Roberts from Castroville Municipal Airport.

Earl arrivals Shelly Tumbleson, Glenn Weiblen, and Durwood Blasingame register their aircraft for AirVenture 2008.

Three airplanes and the six Texas pilots who flew them are among the first few dozen airplanes to have arrived this week at Wittman Regional Airport for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008. The gaggle of Vintage flying machines from Castroville, Texas, arrived Thursday morning after a day and a half of flying that included three stops, minimal mechanical difficulties, and an overnight with friends in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin. Glenn Weiblen, a first time AirVenture visitor, summarized their trip by saying, "Man, we're really here, and we're lookin' forward to it."

Weiblen, a pilot since 1978, flew a recently purchased 1955 Cessna 180, along with his friends, Shelly Tumbleson in a 1953 Cessna 180, and Durwood Blasingame in a 1948 Navion. Each carried passengers who are pilots and they plan to meet up with other pilots from the Castroville Municipal Airport (CVB) over the next few days. The group will camp together under the wing of their six airplanes in the Vintage airplane parking area. "It's my most enjoyable vacation every year," Tumbleson exclaimed. He's attended AirVenture since 2003.

Roy Roberts, with 51 years of flying experience (30 as a crop duster) and an airframe and powerplant mechanic with inspection authorization, is eager for AirVenture to begin. "We'll be here all week. This is a great place to see new things and spend a week with friends under the wing, and of course, to meet new people and talk about their airplanes."

Tumbleson was happy that Roberts came along. "I lost my generator at our first stop in Sulphur Springs and made it the rest of the way with just a handheld radio and a portable GPS," he said. The group left Castroville on Wednesday morning, flying all the way to Prairie du Chien Municipal Airport (PDC). They made stops in Sulphur Springs, Texas; Neosho, Missouri; and Washington, Iowa. The most they paid for 100LL was $5.13; the least was in Iowa at $4.52.

Mike Jagge was the most philosophical of the group. "The destination is the best part, but the trip makes it all worthwhile," he said. "Flying with these guys, they have a lot of knowledge, and I learn from them along the way." An avid motorcyclist and owner of a 1946 Champ, Jagge learned to fly just four years ago, and said that by watching his fellow pilots, and by asking questions the right way, he can apply what he learns to his own flying. Flying was something Jagge wanted to do all his life. "I'm enjoying it," he said. "As we get older, we have to keep our brains working."

These good-natured guys from Castroville are looking forward to sharing the same camaraderie they do back at their home airport. "We're a group that gets together at the airport every weekend to have a good time-have cookouts and talk about airplanes, and we welcome anyone who is interested in aviation," Weiblen said.

"We plan to get educated in aviation while in Oshkosh," Blasingame added. "I learn something new every year, especially at Oshkosh."

 
Two Days and Counting
The AirVenture grounds have been busy with activity for weeks, but now that we're only two days away from the official start of AirVenture, the excitement is getting thick.
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