Dienst, EAA Chapter
Illinois, is one of the mechanics
providing emergency aircraft repair at EAA AirVenture
Oshkosh. EAA Chapter
75 built and operates the repair center with volunteers.
aircraft breaks, or if something comes "unglued" while you’re
here at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008, you can find help at the Emergency
Aircraft Repair building, located between the Vintage camping area and
the Ultralight area, on the south end of the AirVenture grounds.
Chapter 75, Davenport, Iowa/Rock Island, Illinois, sponsors the
Emergency Aircraft Repair at AirVenture and has been doing so since the
early 1960s, when the EAA convention was held at Rockford, Illinois.
Chapter 75’s Neil Pobanz, a certificated airframe and powerplant
(A&P) mechanic, says it all started at Rockford when a homebuilt
airplane needed an engine change. "The owner had the expertise but
no tools. One of our members drove home and got the tools, then helped
with the job," he said. "We’ve been helping ever
staff the repair center, including seven A&Ps with inspection
authorizations and "a bunch" of A&Ps, along with some very
knowledgeable amateur builders. "We have a very experienced
fiberglass guy," said Pobanz, "and two of the world’s best
welders." Chapter members come from all over the United States to
help out during AirVenture. Many of the volunteers have dual chapter
memberships so they can take part.
75 doesn’t charge for repairs. "But we expect the aircraft owner
to participate," Pobanz explained. And donations are welcome, to
cover the cost of tools. The primary focus is on amateur-built aircraft,
with some vintage aircraft thrown in. And the center’s focus is on
emergency repairs, not routine maintenance. "Certified aircraft and
routine things we refer to FBOs on [Wittman] field," Pobanz said.
"We’re here to assist with repairs and to help solve
someone needs parts, "we will refer them to mail order
suppliers," said Pobanz. "Or sometimes we just send them down
to the Fly Market—they’ll usually find what they need there."
chapter helps with repairs to about 200 aircraft each year at
AirVenture. While Pobanz was talking with AirVenture
Today on Saturday afternoon, Program
Chairman Cy Galley was out with helpers trying to recover an ultralight
that dug its nose wheel into the mud near Runway 18. "Some days it’s
quiet, and some days we don’t have room for all the airplanes trying
to get in here for repairs," Pobanz said.
The Emergency Aircraft
Repair center isn’t hard to find: Take Wittman Road south to the
Vintage area; just past the Hangar Café Quonset hut, make a half-right
onto Waupun Road, and look to your left. Even if you don’t need
repairs, stop by, say "hello," and say, "thank you"—for
46 years of Emergency Aircraft Repair.