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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedPOP…goes the question
By Barb Schmitz, EAA AirVenture Today
  
July 27, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin - For decades, volunteers from Protect our Planes (POP) have helped assure that the public keeps their hands off, and only their eyes on, the thousands of planes that converge each year at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.

But in 2009, the group officially has another duty: providing directions and guidance as they roam the grounds and at the 50-foot wayfinding towers in the Warbirds, Homebuilders, Vintage/Showplanes, and Ultralight/Lightplane areas.

You'll know them by their blue vests.

Judy Knight, of Cameron Park, California, and co-chairman in Vintage/Showplanes, said their new role is an extension of what they're done in years gone by. "In the past, people would see our vests and stop and ask us questions," she said. "This is a natural step for us to become a source of information."

Most of the questions she's received so far have centered about Wi-Fi availability, the location of the toilets-particularly the flush toilets-and the highlights and schedule of the day.

And while she can't always answer every question every day, she knows where to look. "Plus I take the map everywhere I go."

Don Abner of Bemidji, Michigan, does the same thing.

Although this is only his third year volunteering with POP, it's his 29th convention. Abner and his grandson, Cole, 16, of Kerkhoven, Minnesota, were volunteering Monday in the homebuilt area, carrying a map and issue of EAA AirVenture Today, which includes the daily schedule.

Abner said most of the questions they have gotten centered on where things are. And with the revamped grounds, that wasn't surprising.

As they walk around and answer questions, Abner said they also watch out to make sure all the visitors respect the planes.

"Last year I had a woman changing a diaper on the wing of an airplane," he said. Plus, they occasionally have to stop people from standing on someone else's plane so they can see a particular plane land, he said.

While there are nearly 200 people signed up to volunteer for the POP corps, Knight said they still need more since volunteers roam the grounds about 12 hours each day. All you have to do is show up at the POP office by the B lot near the main entrance and say you want to help.

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