EAA AirVenture Oshkosh - The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration

 for Mon, July 28, 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 2 July 28, 2008     

If your aircraft breaks down ...
By Dave Sakrison

Eric Dienst, EAA Chapter 441, DeKalb, 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.

If your 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.

EAA 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 since."

Volunteers 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.

Chapter 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 problems."

If 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."

The 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.

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