July 27, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin -
James Scheibner is sitting in front of his screen house, next to the twin
engine Cessna. His plane and tents stand all alone on the north side of
Runway 9. Eventually he will be surrounded by fellow campers out here in
the North 40, but now, still early in the week, he has the grassy field to
Photo by Jack
James Scheibner enjoying the morning from the North 40 during
“We like camping here, just ’cause it’s
a good angle on the flightline, watching everything going on on 9/27, and
a lot of friends know where we are.”
His wife and kids are still asleep in the
tent, but he’s sitting in his folding chair, air-band radio in the cup
holder, watching the action as the airport wakes up for this day before
the opening of AirVenture 2009.
James has been coming to the fly-in since
1990. The fly-in has been a big part of his life. He and his wife were
married here, in 1996—in the Ford Tri- Motor…on opening day.
“The kids have been coming here ever since
they were [born]; that’s our family thing. Coming here every year.”
James owns and runs the fixed base
operation (FBO) at Hillsdale Municipal Airport (JYM) in Michigan. “You
can’t get much further south in Michigan than us.” Hillsdale Muni,
says James, is just a little 4,000-foot strip. “Hillsdale Aero was
established in 1970. I’ve owned it since ’95.
“We’re kinda a full-service FBO; we
have the fuel, we have the flight instruction. But our main business is
aircraft sales, buyer and seller services, maintenance.”
They are also a dealer for Flight Designs
“I jumped into the light sport movement
because I saw that as the next flourishing thing for general aviation. So
I’ve been a distributor for Flight Designs for three years.”
James and his family flew in this year in a
client’s 1976 Cessna 310R. His personal planes are a Skyhawk and a
Flight Designs CT. But he likes the twin for traveling to Oshkosh so he
can carry his family and all their camping gear.
They made the hour and 15 minute trip here
this year on Saturday. “The weather was a little bad at home, but that’s
okay. That’s where you want it to be bad.”
Holy crap! The tower’s gone!
Dan Schildgen is from Colleyville, Texas,
which is near Fort Worth. His home airport is Hicks Airfield (T67).
Hicks is a fairly active field. Dan
estimates that it has about 200 hangars.
He arrived at AirVenture 2009 in his Cirrus
SR22-G3 on Friday afternoon before the show opened. It’s his fourth year
to the fly-in.
He comes back each year because of the
people he meets, and just plain enjoys the week.
Dan bought the SR22 about a year and a half
ago. He was able to retire at a relatively young age and now has jumped
into aviation with both feet.
He’s flown the Cirrus all over the
continent. “Wisconsin, Chicago, Texas, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico,
Cabo in Mexico.”
He’s logged 700 hours in the 18 months
since he got it.
In addition to flying the Cirrus, Dan is
doing aerobatic training in an Extra 300L.
Dan first learned to fly only four years
ago. He claims it was a spur of the moment thing.
“One day at the office I told my wife,
‘I’m leaving for a couple hours,’ and she says, ‘Okay.’
“I get back and she’s, ‘Where have
you been?’ I said, ‘I just took a flying lesson.’
“‘Where did that come from?’
“‘I just DID IT!’
Dan goes on to tell how the aviation seeds
were planted in him.
“My dad had a plane. We grew up in the
suburbs north of Chicago.”
“We had a plane down in Palwaukee, but I
really had no interest when I was a kid.”
“But I sold my company, and I’m kinda
retired, so I have to have a couple of hobbies.”
In addition to the Cirrus, Dan is thinking
about adding to his fleet. That’s on his agenda for this visit to Air-
“I’ll probably be looking at planes
more than I did in the past. I want to buy a second plane, probably a
light sport plane. And I want to buy the Extra.”
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