Photo by Rose Dorcey
attended EAA AirVenture Oshkosh every year for as long as heís
lived, Joe Honeck, 17, said itís more than a tradition; itís
flew solo from his hometown of Iowa City, Iowa, to Wittman Regional
Airport in Oshkosh on Wednesday afternoon in a 1948 Ercoupe. The
trip took two and a half hours with no trouble at all. "It was
smooth, and I had a bit of a tail wind coming up," Honeck said.
"I was a little off course for a while, but I looked up and was
able to find it."
arriving, Honeck parked the plane, pitched a tent, purchased a
bicycle from Goodwill, and was ready for the excitement of
AirVenture to begin. "This [camping alongside his aircraft] is
just normal for me," Honeck said.
grew up with AirVenture and aviation. His parents, Jay and Mary,
have flown to AirVenture since 2001, but they have been attending
the convention since before he was born. He sat on top of phone
books in the cockpit and experienced his first love for flight. He
received his private pilot certificate last November and got checked
out in the Ercoupe two and a half weeks ago. "I flew in here,
but I was so nervous for the last few days," the 100-hour pilot
said. "Flying here is like living a dream for me, but I didnít
think it would happen before I turned 18."
parents and two other couples purchased the Ercoupe after the
airplaneís wings were damaged on the way to another buyer in
Texas. "The original owner was going to sell it to a guy in
Texas, but on the way there it was in an incident, and the metal
wings crumpled," Honeck said. New fabric wings were installed
just three weeks ago. Before the trip, he logged about 15 hours in
parents, both pilots, will arrive on Sunday to continue their family
tradition. Until then, the University of Iowa freshman intends to
"chill out" by his vintage airplane. "I work so hard
back home at my parentís aviation-theme hotel, that Iím really