EAA AirVenture Oshkosh - The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration

 for Sun, July 27, 2008

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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     

Ask Tom
Tom Richards will answer your questions in AirVenture Today throughout the week.

Please drop your questions (with your name and where you are from) off at the AirVenture Today office located near the old FAA control tower and the First Aid Station or via e-mail to asktom_airventure@hotmail.com and he will do his darndest to answer them.

Q: What are the dates of next year’s AirVenture?

M.S., Escanaba, Michigan

A: This year’s hasn’t even started. Besides, you ask me that every year. The dates are July 27-August 2. Get your reservations in early. You can find this kind of information on the EAA’s website, www.EAA.org, or on AirVenture’s site, cleverly named www.AirVenture.org.

Q: What are ailerons and what do they do?

N.W., Springfield, Missouri

A: Are you speaking of illegal ailerons? Are they the ones who slip over the border and control our airplanes in ways that our own ailerons are unwilling to? That’s just silly.

Like so many aviation terms, aileron’s heritage is French. (The word "aviation" comes to us from Latin via French.) It refers to wing or maybe even an armpit. Ailerons are the flaps on the back edge of an airplane’s wings that control roll. They are not to be confused with the flaps on the back edge of a wing that are called "flaps," which are between the ailerons and the fuselage and generally are used to increase drag or lift.

Q: I recall that the Young Eagles program aimed to get a million young people in the air by the 100th anniversary of powered flight. Where does that stand now?

F.S., Atlanta, Georgia

A: It doesn’t stand; it soars. The one-millionth Young Eagle took to the air in October 2003, right on schedule, thanks to the efforts of 85,000 volunteers. Since then, the numbers of kids 8-17 who have been introduced to the thrill of flight have grown at the rate of about 100,000 a year. In fact, the program just crossed the 1.4 million threshold.

In case you just arrived from another planet, Young Eagles is a program to give those youngsters an opportunity to go flying in a general aviation plane. They are offered free. Young Eagles have been registered in more than 90 countries.

Q: I’m making my first trip to Oshkosh, and I understand that Wisconsin’s mosquitoes are fierce and frequent. Is this true?

G.V.B., Orlando, Florida

A: There are those who say that the mosquito is Wisconsin’s state bird. That is not true. While the state’s mosquitoes in some areas this damp spring and summer have experienced a surge in population, they are not permitted on the AirVenture grounds. They are headquartered on a carrier in Lake Winnebago, just beyond the EAA Seaplane Base. By the way, we have mosquitoes, but we don’t have alligators as you do where you come from. At least not a lot of them.

Q: Is there Wi-Fi availability at the convention?

R.R., San Francisco, California

A: Yes. I suppose that you want more of an answer than that. There are 14 Wi-Fi hot spots at various locations in the camping areas. See the map in this issue, or when you get back to the campsite, you can log in via the WiFi and view areas on the AirVenture website, www.AirVenture.org. This access is free to EAA members and their guests in the campgrounds, though be cautioned that any number of conditions, ranging from your computer to weather can affect the signal.

Also, EAA members can check their e-mail at 20 online stations in the EAA Welcome Center (formerly EAA Member Village). Six stations and two ports for laptops are also available in the Welcome Center area of the campground.

Q: I know that Harry Houdini, the magician and escape artist, called Wisconsin home and that he was the first person to fly an airplane in Australia. What kind of plane was it?

C.C., Benton Harbor, Michigan

A: Is this for second place in a trivia contest? As a resident of Appleton (25 minutes north of here), where he grew up, I know way too much about Houdini. For example, he often said that Appleton was his birthplace, but it actually was Budapest, Hungary. (He also was quoted as saying his greatest escape was from Appleton.)

The plane was a Voisin, which he purchased in Europe, sometime around 1909, perhaps for $5,000. Houdini could be a little creative with the facts. The craft resembled a box kite as much as anything. After his successful flight in Australia, the plane, with HOUDINI painted on its wing and tail, was never seen again. Or at least there is no record of it.

And, in case you run out of things to do here in Oshkosh, the History Museum in Appleton includes the AKA Houdini Exhibit, an award-winning exhibit featuring Houdini paraphernalia and historic documents.

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