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     

Seaplane Base buoys spirit of aviation
By Kristy Hemp
John Knapp taxis his Micro Mong Rocket at the Seaplane Base on Wednesday. Photo by Jim Raeder
Volunteers help fuel up a classic bush plane on floats getting ready to take to the skies.
Father and daughter seaplane pilots, Jack and Jacque Avery.

"It’s the Key West of AirVenture," says Paul Seehafer, chairman of the EAA Seaplane Base, describing the laid-back atmosphere and island-like surroundings of the base. And it certainly is. After getting let off the bus, visitors stroll down a winding wooded path, and after a short walk an opening appears, the oasis of AirVenture. You walk into a refreshingly cool breeze from Lake Winnebago that is a respite from the scorching sun and humidity.

Your attention can get pulled in several directions, the seaplanes and amphibians taking off and landing, planes being taxied in and out of the base, and the picturesque display of "water birds" gently rocking in the lagoon. Most visitors find a nook on the shore to gaze at the "water birds."

Every seaplane that wanted to was flying on Wednesday. "The weather is beautiful, and the water is just right for landing," said Jacque Avery, who flew in with her father, Jack from Trego, Wisconsin, on Wednesday morning. "A little chop is nice because it’s easier to judge your distance above the water. Smooth water gives off a reflection and makes that harder."

Jack and Jacque, both pilots, flew into the EAA Seaplane Base in a GlaStar on floats, an experimental plane that Jack built and won two awards with at the Seaplane Base in years past. Jacque also volunteers at the base, and they both say their favorite part is seeing their friends every year.

There are a lot of aviation speed records out there, and you can see the biplane on floats that holds the fastest takeoff record of 2.5 seconds, the Micro Mong Rocket. The biplane is owned and was built by John Knapp, a longtime Seaplane Base judge and volunteer.

The Seaplane Base is a place every AirVenture visitor should get to during their stay. A shuttle ride makes daily runs between the AirVenture grounds and the Seaplane Base ($2 round trip) approximately every hour (8 a.m. – 8 p.m.) from two locations. The stops are located just south of the ultralight runway and at the Bus Park.

The Seaplane Base is like its own little community—a fly-in inside a fly-in. You can camp, eat, and talk with seaplane vendors about getting your seaplane endorsement, buying a seaplane, and more!

If you just want to enjoy the camaraderie of other seaplane enthusiasts, you can partake in the Seaplane Pilots Association (SPA) Corn Roast tonight at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the base and are $20 for SPA members and $30 for non-members. The roast is to support the Open Water Fund.

You can also attend the 19th annual Watermelon Social scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Saturday, August 2, at the base. Tickets are $15 each (get them while they last!) and include roasted pig with all the trimmings, soda or a beer and, of course, watermelon. Tickets to the annual event are available at the base.

If you are not able to visit, you can still view the seaplanes at AirVenture. Every year the EAA promotes seaplane awareness by sponsoring a flyby of floatplanes and amphibians past the crowds at Wittman Field. This is usually performed around noon on Saturday.

FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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