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EAA AirVenture Today is published by the Experimental Aircraft Association for EAA AirVenture from July 27 - August 3. It is distributed free on the convention grounds as well as other locations in Oshkosh and surrounding communities. Stories and photos are copyrighted 2008 by EAA AirVenture Today and EAA. Reproduction by any means is prohibited without written consent.

  

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The official daily newspaper of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh


Volume 9, Number 1 July 27, 2008     

Around the Field
By Jack Hodgson

Anna and John Osborn are greeting new and old volunteers near the Vintage Division’s Red Barn. Photo by Jack Hodgson

Doing the "preflight" for AirVenture 2008. Husband and wife greet Vintage area volunteers…EAA Radio gets a new scenic studio…and sweeping out the cobwebs for another year at the Ultralight Barn.

Welcome to Oshkosh. For all the AirVenture early birds who arrive on "day zero," there are hundreds of volunteers who have been here for days, and even weeks, preparing the grounds and getting ready.

Friday morning down by the Vintage Red Barn, Anna and John Osborn are in the volunteer shack out front preparing to greet and recruit the volunteers who will make the Vintage area function.

In 2007 the Vintage area had 510 volunteers. Usually about three-quarters of those are returning from previous years.

Anna and John are from Kerrville, Texas. This is Anna’s 27th EAA convention; she started attending back in the late ’70s when she would fly in with her J-3 Cub.

Anna is an experienced pilot. "I got my license in 1977," she says. "It was just something I wanted to do. I started in the bicentennial year. I decided I needed a personal bicentennial project."

She learned to fly in a Cessna 150, flew the Cub for a while, and now she and her husband fly their 172. Husband John has been a pilot for 20 years.

These days coming to AirVenture is the longest trip they do in their plane. But over the years they’ve flown all around Texas and have been as far as Canada and the Bahamas.

Like so many others, the thing that brings them back to Oshkosh each year is not the airplanes; it’s the people. "You know these people so well," Anna says. "You’ve seen their kids grow up. We have kids working now as volunteers that we remember when they were born." One thing Anna is looking forward to in 2008 is watching her 14-year-old grandson experience the fly-in. He’s been coming for years, but he’s now begun his flight training. This year he’ll be enjoying the show as a 23-hour student pilot.

Jim Gray and the gang at EAA Radio are hard at work getting set up for this year’s broadcasts. Although they are in the same building as last year, they’ve moved upstairs and are now putting the finishing touches on a new studio, which has a 360-degree view of Wittman Field.

"What we’re doing right now is wiring everything up," he explains. "We bring in gear every year to do this. I’m the director of operations for KVSC in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and I take all of my spare parts for my radio station and bring them here to operate this station."

Jim arrived Thursday, but some of the EAA Radio volunteers have been here for weeks. There are about 10 volunteers on site now, and there will be about 25 before the week is out.

This is Jim’s 28th consecutive year to the fly-in. He’s been an EAA volunteer for 16 years, and with the radio station for five. He was recruited by EAA Radio Chairman, and his former college classmate, Fareed Guyot.

Jim flew into AirVenture this year in his Cessna 172. "It’s highly modified," he says. "I call it the 172 and a half. It’s got every mod known to man."

In addition to his work with EAA Radio he’ll be giving Young Eagles rides to kids during the show.

His home field is in Litchfield, Minnesota.

Bill Von Benken is one of a half-dozen volunteers preparing the ultralight area for this year’s Fly-In. Photo by Jack Hodgson

Down in the Ultralight area Bill Von Benken is sweeping 12 months of accumulated dust off the Ultralight Barn’s front porch.

In preparing for this year’s fly-in he and a half-dozen other volunteers have been building furniture, moving things around, setting up for the forums, putting down the parking row markers, mowing the lawn, and more.

Bill has been coming to Oshkosh for 13 years. His plane is a Kitfox that he built back in 1996. His home field is Lost Nation in Willoughby, Ohio.

"The first few years you come here you’re awestruck by the fly-in. But after, by volunteering you have much more chance to interact with everything."

He built the Kitfox in 750 hours, spread over the relatively short period of nine months. "You don’t know how much I worked on that thing," he explains. "It was almost every day."

"I came here, I took a demo ride, and I ordered it then. I got it end of August, and I just started working on it almost every day. I got it signed off in May and flew it the first time in June of ’97."

Why did he choose the Kitfox to build? "I liked the idea of the short takeoff and landing. I’m not interested in fast. And I like the folding wings because I can take it home and I store it in my own garage so I don’t have to pay hangar fees."

Visit the "Around the field" archive at www.AroundTheField.net.

FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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