EAA AirVenture Oshkosh - The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration

 for Thu, July 31, 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 5 July 31, 2008     

Around the Field
Early morning in the North 40
By Jack Hodgson

On the north side of Runway 9/27, early Wednesday morning, we find all sorts of activities. Lots of people preparing for the day. Making breakfast, stowing camping gear, hanging towels to dry. A few planes are arriving at this early hour, and some are cranking up to depart.

John Sweeny of Smithfield, Rhode Island. Photo by Jack Hodgson

John Sweeny is straightening up his campsite beside his Diamond Star. John is from Smithfield, Rhode Island. He flew into EAA AirVenture Oshkosh this year by way of visits to family in Pittsburgh and Fulton County, Ohio. The trip was about seven flying hours.

He especially liked visiting Fulton County.

"It was a delightful little airport," he says. "Fulton County, just outside of Toledo. Itís got a nice long paved runway and a crossing grass runway. Itís kept in immaculate shape. Itís self-serve, but the guy from the FBO came out and pumped my gas for me. They just treat you real well."

This is his sixth visit to the Oshkosh fly-in.

"We have quite a few friends that we only see here. From all over the country. You meet them year after year, so we always come back to look them up."

His Diamond Star is a 2003 model he bought new from the factory.

"Itís a great airplane. Fantastic airplane. I fly it about 200 hours a year. A lot of pleasure flights. But I own a real estate title company, so I do work from Rhode Island out to the islands, Marthaís Vineyard, Nantucket, Block Island. Also New Hampshire, and up into Maine."

Johnís been flying since 1986. In addition to the Diamond, heís also owned an Archer, and he has a handful of hours in a Stearman.

"Absolutely my favorite."

Heís also building an RV-8. When asked how thatís going, he smiled and rolled his eyes. Laughing he said, "Great. Iím about two and a half years into it, and Iím hoping to have it up here, realistically, within three years."

Heís a member of EAA Chapter 1363 in Quonset, Rhode Island.

Like so many, attending the AirVenture is a big part of his year.

"Each year you leave and then you start counting weeks till Oshkosh again to plan your vacation around it."

Also getting ready for another day at AirVenture is Gerald Hubert. Gerald flew his 1960 Skyhawk to Oshkosh from Ann Arbor, Michigan.

He made the relatively short trip with one stop for fuel before flying across Lake Michigan on Sunday.

This is his fourth year to Oshkosh, and one of his favorite moments each visit is "the drum roll when I get out of my plane."

This year his main goal is to get some needed supplies.

"Iím just shopping around. Looking at all the airplanes. Buying a few items. Thatís probably the main thing that brought me back, I needed a few items, like a parachute and a new headset."

In addition to the Skyhawk, which he just bought in April, Gerald has a Skybolt, which he spent four years building and just finished. He has about 10 hours on it.

Gerald is a member of EAA Chapter 113 at Willow Run Airport.

The Andersons of Calgary, Canada. Photo by Jack Hodgson

Michael Anderson is sitting in his camp chair scanning the newspaper while his wife is at the showers and his 2-1/2-year-old son sleeps.

Michael is from Calgary, Canada. He arrived to AirVenture 2008 as part of "a loose flock" of 12 planes from the Calgary Flying Club.

They arrived Sunday morning after spending the night in Alexandria, Minnesota.

This is Michaelís fourth time to Oshkosh. His memories of past fly-ins include the excitement of the arrival procedure. "Coming in behind a couple of Tri-Pacers in a Cardinal can be exciting when things start slowing up."

He also remembers the visit a few years ago by White Knight and SpaceShipOne. This year he had hoped to get a good look at the Martin Jetpack, but the large crowds prevented that.

Heís made a lot of modifications to his airplane.

"Itís a 1968 Cardinal thatís been upgraded. Itís almost a one of a kind; there are maybe four out there that have a 200-horse fuel-injected engine. Ours is one of two that are still 100 percent Cardinal from the firewall forward. Itís the engine and prop combination from a 1975 Cardinal RG. Under a Canadian LSTA weíve got an upgraded useful load of 2,500 pounds."

"And of course, the Cardinalís roominess and handling makes it perfect for my family of two and a half."

This is his son, Aidanís, first visit to the fly-in. At 2-1/2 years old, heís still a little young to fully appreciate the goings on, but he enjoys the excitement and activity of KidVenture.

Michaelís home field is Springbank, just outside of Calgary, and he is a member of EAA Chapter 14. Heís also a member of Ultralight Chapter 114, but oddly he doesnít fly ultralights.

"Nope, but theyíre real fun guys. And they maintain a good grassroots feel for the flying that I like to stay in touch with."

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

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