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     

KidVenture marks 10th anniversary

Kids can get their simulator time logged into their My First Logbook at KidVenture, celebrating its 10th year at EAA AirVenture this year.  Photo by Hillary Lawrence

Kids love airplanes! The proof is in EAA AirVenture’s KidVenture area, which in 10 years has grown elevenfold since first opening in 1999. Organizers are looking to build on that success at KidVenture’s home on EAA’s Pioneer Airport this year.

"Last year we had about 22,000 kids and parents coming through, and we’re expecting more this year," says Dan Majka, who’s been KidVenture’s chairman since its inception. That’s a far cry from the inaugural year in 1999, when 500 people were expected and 2,000 showed up.

Many established activities from past years will return, like control-line flying, kite building, flight simulators, and prop forming, to name just a few. The focus remains on having fun while discovering knowledge and basic skills about several aspects of aviation.

For example, in the NAFI (National Association of Flight Instructors) Logbook area, there will be 10 stations where kids can learn from certificated flight instructors (NAFI members and FAA staff) on all the phases of flight operations, from preflighting an airplane to landing. Once all 10 stations have been completed—including a flight on an On Top basic aviation training device (ATD)—kids get signed off in their own "My First Logbook." Both the ATDs and logbooks are provided by Aviation Supplies & Academics.

New attractions

New for this year will be a Junior A&P (airframe and powerplant) area highlighting some of the mechanical aspects of flight. "We’re expanding this area with up to five additional booths where the kids will learn hands-on skills using tools they might not have access to at home," Majka says. "A&Ps will show them how they do things."

Van’s Aircraft and Avery Tools will again support the riveting demos where kids can practice building what’s become one of the hottest items on the AirVenture grounds in recent years: riveted name badges. "They get to make their badges at KidVenture," Majka says. "You can’t buy them; you have to make them here."

KidVenture has also received two BD-5 kits that will be put to good use as kids actually work on some of the parts during the convention. They’ll construct a real airplane in the riveting area with solid and blind rivets. Other new features in the Junior A&P area include an engine shop where kids can take apart and put back together an actual four-cylinder aircraft engine and an avionics section, where they can solder, wire things, and see what avionics technicians do. Once through these new stations they’ll get a "Junior A&P" endorsement in their logbooks.

Simulators galore

There will also be plenty of computer flight simulators for kids to try, including the popular HotSeat flight sims that provide a realistic wide-screen experience with vibrating seats and surround sound. At least three of the advanced units will be set up throughout the week.

DaVinci Technologies will support a booth where kids can design a pylon air racer like those that fly at Reno. On the computer, they’ll start with a stock P-51 Mustang and modify the wings and the fore and aft sections. Then the computer will make the adjustments and do a simulated flight around a virtual Reno Air Race course, calculating how fast the airplane would fly a lap. Times will be posted each day, with the fastest time of the day receiving a prize.

Majka said they’re also attempting to obtain use of a three-dimensional printer that would create a plastic model of the winners’ designs.

"The kids really love this because it’s creating a new airplane like a designer would. They also tend to come back day after day with design improvement ideas, then try to win again."

Meet aviation personalities

The International Aerobatic Club booth will have a Christen Eagle on display, where kids can sit in the cockpit, plus AirVenture air show pilots will appear throughout the week and talk to kids about aerobatics and aerobatic flying.

The KidVenture Hero Stage will again showcase numerous notable aviation personalities. This year the facility also gets an upgrade by expanding inside one of the Pioneer Airport hangars.

RC flying

This year kids get to try radio-controlled (RC) flying out themselves thanks to the use of "buddy boxes," which allow instructors standing by to take over to prevent crashes.

More KidVentures features

  • Pedal planes: An all-jet fleet of F-14s for the smaller kids.
  • Stomp rocket: Kids use compressed air and foot power to propel rockets to heights of 200 feet.
  • Control-line model flying: About 3,000 kids annually take part.
  • Artist booth: Prizes every day for the best drawings in several age categories.
  • Cockpit climb areas: Most things on the convention grounds are considered "Look, but don’t touch." Well, at KidVenture kids are encouraged to touch airplanes and get into the cockpits, including a three-fourths scale Mustang, J-3 Link Trainer, T-28 cockpit, F-100 cockpit, BD-5, Sirocco, Prescott Pusher, and a DC-3.

Volunteers make it happen

KidVenture boasts some 400 volunteers—the second largest single volunteer group of the convention. More than 25 EAA chapters from throughout the country are represented. "It’s a massive effort, but we have a terrific crew," Majka says. "They really display great teamwork, and this would not be possible without them."

With KidVenture turning 10 this year, Majka is starting to see volunteers who previously attended as kids.

KidVenture Hours: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily, except for Sunday, August 3, when it closes at 2 p.m.

Getting there: A dedicated bus goes to and from KidVenture from the main bus tower area during operating hours. Another transportation option: take the museum shuttle and walk across the Pioneer Airport turf runway, which is inactive during the convention.

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