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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     

Around the Field
Adam from Gaithersburg, Maryland, John from Rhode Island, a reluctant red dragon, and a 9-year-old’s third visit to AirVenture
By Jack Hodgson

Nine-year-old Adam Donaldson Jr. and his Dad, Adam Sr. from Gaithersburg, Maryland, are looking forward to the F-22s and the big explosions of the weekend air shows.

What caught my attention was the red dragon on the tail.

Adam Donaldson, his son Adam Jr., and friend Doug Holly are securing their plane and setting up their gear in the North 40 campground. They arrived to AirVenture 2008 on Saturday from Gaithersburg, Maryland.

This is Adam’s fourth time to the fly-in. His memories of the first visit are of being overwhelmed.

"Just being blown away. The first year we left on Wednesday. I thought, camping Saturday, Sunday, going to the show Monday, Tuesday would be enough. But I remember leaving Wednesday thinking, it’s not enough."

Adam has been flying for five years. Doug, who has just earned his private pilot certificate, is here for the first time.

They made the half-day trip to Oshkosh in their club’s Cessna 177B Cardinal. The red dragon on the tail has a story behind it. They call it "the reluctant dragon."

"We’re a Civil Air Patrol squadron and a flying club. It has to do with the Civil Air Patrol squadron."

It seems that they are not your typical CAP squadron. Always doing things differently and not quite fitting in.

"They’re renegades," says Adam. "So they call themselves the reluctant dragons. The current president of the squadron used to wear a red flight suit in the ’80s, and they used to give him such a hard time for wearing it. So all of our club planes have the red dragon on them."

Getting their campsite set up in the North 40, they’re awaiting the arrival of another member of their club. He’s inbound to AirVenture for the first time, in his RV-7.

"He gets everyone at the flying club to come out and help with his airplane. We’ve all been building his airplane for five or six years. We’re happy to see it show up at Oshkosh."

Adam is interested in checking out diesel engine technology at this year’s fly-in. His interest in diesels is primarily for fuel savings and simplicity.

"Yes, diesel fuel is more expensive, but you figure this Cardinal burns about 14 gallons an hour. And an equivalent diesel is gonna burn about half as much. When you factor that in, along with fewer moving parts, and theoretically lower maintenance costs. When you compare a Lycoming or a Continental TBO to diesel you come out ahead even with the retrofit costs."

This is 9-year-old Adam Jr.’s third time to AirVenture. What does he remember from his past visits?

"Ummm, our plane got soaked. It rained." And what planes does he remember? "I like the F-22 and the P-51."

John Telfeyan is from Little Compton. Rhode Island, and he flew his Cessna 172 here from his home field in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

He made the flight by way of Buffalo, New York, Big Rapids, Michigan, then directly across Lake Michigan. All told it came to about 8.5 flying hours.

"Flying over the lake is weird," John says. "It makes you think. Last year, before I left the eastern shore, I could see the western shore. That was great. This time I see a lot of boats. This time it was a bit hazy, and I didn’t see the other shore. But I was fiddling along, and looking around, and suddenly there I was."

Last year was his first at AirVenture.

"Before I left I had people tell me I wouldn’t believe it till I see it. And when I got here, they were right. This is unreal."

As we talked a big loud warbird flew by us, taking off on Runway 27. "That sound is always cool," he says.

"I like every aspect of the fly-in. I want to build a plane some day. But I like everything, the warbirds, everything."

He’s been flying since 1991. "It’s small, but it’s busy," he says of his New Bedford home field. "There’s a lot of traffic to the islands. It’s not super busy, but it’s staying Class D, which is good."

At last year’s fly-in John met the folks from the Terrafugia "roadable" car, and as a result of that meeting he now works for them. "I’m their composites guy."

John’s airplane is a 1999 172SP. He owns it with a friend, and has had it for four years.

"About four years ago I thought, ‘I guess I should do this.’ The kids are gone; we have enough money to do something.

"So I was talking to a friend who was advising me because he’s owned, like, 15 planes, and this was my first. He mentioned that he was talking to someone else about a 172, so I said, see if he’d like to partner in it. So instead of two of us getting two 50-year-old airplanes, we got one 5-year-old plane."

Visit the "Around the field" archive at www.AroundTheField.net.

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