on the project with illustrator and Oshkosh native Robert
You most likely know Treat Williams as
the lead in the musicals Grease or Hair and the long list of movies in
which he's appeared.
But Treat has another passion that he
can't hide: flying.
"I had aviation dreams as a kid. I
was a pilot and I dreamt that I would run down a hill and take
off," Treat said.
"I also remember riding my tricycle
down the sidewalk and trying to hit lift-off speed."
"My dad built a mock aircraft panel;
it looked like a suitcase. It had a door bell and three lights-red,
blue, and green. I played with it for years.
"I'm still flying the
Treat soloed at age 17 in a Piper Super
Cub. "On my first solo, I couldn't hear the engine," Treat
"I realized it was because I was
screaming so loud!"
Treat's journey to his license is similar
to many other aspiring pilots. "I couldn't afford to continue to
fly after my solo. So, in college, I would sing at parties.
"Once I had $28, I would go out to
the airport and fly."
"I breathe flying. My whole life is
about flying," said Treat. "I get more out of flying IFR than
starring in a movie."
Putting passion into words and
That love shows in his new children's book AIR SHOW!.
Treat collaborated on the project with
illustrator and Oshkosh native Robert Neubecker. The book follows two
aspiring young aviators and their pilot dad and co-pilot friend to an
"We got the idea for the book from
AirVenture," explained Treat. "I wrote it because I needed an
outlet other than flying airplanes - just to say this is what I
Treat also has a clear message in his
book. "I've been given this gift and I'm saying to my readers, 'you
can go and do this.'
"It's a skill you work very hard for
and I take my training seriously. It's an honor to be a pilot, but
there's a huge responsibility that goes with it."
But he's the first to say he could not
have produced the book alone. "Robert loves airplanes as much as I
do. I couldn't express my love of flying without him."
The book is loosely based on EAA
AirVenture Oshkosh. "We wanted our message to depict an experience
at any air show, but it definitely has an AirVenture feel,"
Diversity in art and flight
Just as Treat's creative drive is diverse, so is his aviation drive.
Treat has more than 8,000 hours and holds
a private, commercial, SEL flight instructor, instrument, multi,
commercial helicopter license, and type ratings in the Citation I, II,
"I have yet to get my ATP,"
Treat said. "Every couple years, I think it's a good idea to get
another rating. I feel it challenges me and keeps me fresh."
Treat flew in a RotorWay helicopter
during his stay at AirVenture. "I haven't kept current with my
helicopter rating, but after my flight, I plan on getting current
He has a vision of where he wants to end
up in his flying career. "I hope my flying comes full circle and
that I'm flying in a Cub again."
This visit is Treat's second AirVenture,
and won't be his last.
"There's just an honest love of
aviation-an absolute love of flying that I haven't experienced anywhere
else. I could say the cockpit of a C-5 was my favorite memory, but it's
really the family atmosphere I'm experiencing.
"That's why the book has been so