and John Osborn are greeting new and old volunteers near the
Vintage Division’s Red Barn. Photo by Jack Hodgson
"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.
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.
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
the Vintage area had 510 volunteers. Usually about three-quarters of
those are returning from previous years.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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."
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.
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,
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."
addition to his work with EAA Radio he’ll be giving Young Eagles rides
to kids during the show.
field is in Litchfield, Minnesota.
Von Benken is one of a half-dozen volunteers preparing the
ultralight area for this year’s Fly-In. Photo by Jack Hodgson
the Ultralight area Bill
Von Benken is sweeping 12 months of accumulated dust off the Ultralight
Barn’s front porch.
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.
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.
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
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."
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."
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."
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