|Photos by Chris
Emily Miller flies her balsa glider through AirVenture.
|Nicole Dyko provides
her artistic talent at KidVenture.
July 30, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009 is a great place
for adults to see their favorite planes, learn building techniques, and
witness aviation breakthroughs. And then there's KidVenture.
KidVenture has been the place to go for the upcoming generation of
aviation enthusiasts. It grew from about 2,000 kids and parents coming
through in the beginning to more than 20,000 in recent years.
KidVenture offers a wide variety of activities
for kids of different ages. The area offers everything from airplane
drawing contests, to sheet-metal riveting, to real flight training.
Priscilla Soltani, a 10-year-old who was
attending KidVenture for her second day, said she liked it better than
regular AirVenture, "Because it has more things for kids, and it's
What really differentiates KidVenture is its
hands-on nature. "Here, we let them touch everything," said Alan
White, deputy supervisor at KidVenture.
"Out on the flightline it says look, but
to not touch it."
KidVenture imposes no real age limit, either.
"If you're 40 years old and think you're a kid, you're welcome here
also," said White.
A few new things this year include the Learn
to Rivet booth with the wing of an RV-12, Build a Wing Rib booth, and Heli-Chair
SC demonstration. Also featured are a Mobile Discovery Center, provided by
the National Science Center and the U.S. Army that provides handson
interactive science demonstrations; and the Spirit of Education space
shuttle bus provided by Dream Flight U.S.A., where kids can learn about
At the Build a Wing Rib booth, kids have the
opportunity to learn how to rivet on a real RV-12 wing from a complete kit
donated by Van's Aircraft Inc. There has been a lot of participation; the
first wing was started Monday morning and was expected to be completed
well before lunch Wednesday.
"Fewer children are being introduced to
hand tools," said Jim White, a volunteer at the booth. "This
gives them an opportunity to introduce them at a very young age."
At the center of the hangar are the Young
Eagles Flight Education booths. Here, kids can learn the basics of
everything from preflight inspections to navigation and even participate
in real flight training.
FAA-certified instructors using FAA approved
training devices give kids the chance to log actual instruction time in a
real logbook that they can apply towards their pilot certificates.
Not only are kids having fun participating in
the activities, but some are helping to run them as well.
Ashleigh Asplund, age 10, was stationed at her
parents’ booth giving flawless demonstrations of the basic setup of a
small plane’s electrical system. She’s been teaching a wide range of
“The youngest person who has ever done it
is, I think, a 1-year-old,” she said.
It seems that KidVenture is a hit with the
younger crowd. The consensus among the kids is that it’s better than the
adult section for the simple reason that it just has more kids’ stuff.
“It’s pretty cool,” said Dylan Humble,
age 9, after visiting the air traffic controller booth—his personal
KidVenture is located at Pioneer Airport, with
a large portion in one of the hangars, and more in a large tent in front