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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedEnjoying a quiet moment in the North 40, and discovering aviation later in life
By Jack Hodgson, EAA AirVenture Today


Photo by Jack Hodgson
James Scheibner enjoying the morning from the North 40 during AirVenture 2009.

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 himself.

“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 LSA.

“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?’ she asked.

“‘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- Venture.

“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.”

Visit the Around the Field archive at www.AroundTheField.net.

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