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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedVolunteer Spotlight: Bill and Mary Ammentorp
Story and photo by Kristy Hemp
Bill and Mary Ammentorp. Convention Headquarters, EAA 284536, Hometown: Kerrville, Texas

What do you do?
Bill: Take care of the EAA volunteers’ needs.

Years volunteering:
Bill: 16. Started at the Red Barn, moved to Pioneer Airport, and then Convention Headquarters. Outside of AirVenture, I’ve given nearly 1,000 Young Eagles rides, and more than 1,000 rides in EAA’s Travel Air.

What do you enjoy most?
Mary: It’s so much fun, and seeing all the people.
Bill: A sense of accomplishment.

How did you get involved?
Bill: When I retired, we wanted to see where we wanted to stay.
Mary: We thought we’d spend a month or two in Oshkosh because we enjoyed the flying, but liked it so much…
Bill: We ended up staying six months. We fell in love with the scene.

Aviation background:
Bill: I was an airport rat. I would ride my bike there and wash planes for rides.

When did you start taking lessons?
Bill: Before air conditioners in cars, we took a family trip. It was so hot, and the kids were crying. I told Mary that there’s a solution to this—I could learn to fly.
Mary: I don’t think we were back in Lubbock and he was taking lessons!

Most memorable AirVenture event:
Bill: When the Antonov, a Russian freighter, come in. The Cold War was just thawing, and they put an American flag up when they came in. It still gets me today.

Most unique aircraft you’ve flown in at AirVenture:
Bill: Paul Poberezny gave me a ride in his P-51.

Aircraft arrival you would run to see:
Bill and Mary: Concorde.

What surprised you about AirVenture when you first started to volunteer?
Mary: The complexity of volunteer contribution and the effort to run it. Everybody becomes family.

I’d love to go to lunch with:
Mary: Pete Conrad, astronaut. I asked him once how he felt when he was on earth and looking at the moon. He said, “It’s my job.”

Fun volunteer story:
Bill: I was flying Young Eagles, and a young man named Andrew, 8, decided to go, but was a little unsure. I gave it power, and at about 50 feet, he said, “That’s high enough!” I told him we had to get over the trees, but we would go back. Once we got to altitude, he didn’t want to go back, and on the ground he said, “Dad! We have to get one of these!”

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