with the Maule he’s flown to AirVenture from Venezuela the last
It’s not unusual for pilots to make
back-to-back journeys to AirVenture. Fernando Perez-Canto has just
traveled a little farther. This marks the second year in a row the
Caracas-based commercial helicopter pilot has flown his Maule MXT-7-180A
from Venezuela to Oshkosh for the fly-in.
“The environment is magic,” Perez-Canto
says of the spirit that drew him back to Wittman Regional Airport. “This
is the Woodstock for our hobby.”
Perez-Canto first heard about AirVenture
during a visit to Florida’s Sun ’n Fun fly-in.
“People down there told me that
AirVenture is the epitome of flying conventions,” he said.
So in 2004 he flew here commercially. The
event made “an excellent impression,” and he vowed to return, but not
necessarily via the airlines.
In 2008 Perez-Canto bought his Maule, a
single-engine STOL aircraft, from the factory in Moultrie, Georgia,
becoming good friends with the Maule family in the process. Last year he
flew himself to AirVenture for “the fun of it, the adventure.” He
covered the route—Caracas to the Dominican Republic, to Great Exuma in
the Bahamas, to Fort Lauderdale, to Chattanooga, to Oshkosh—in about 23
flight hours over three days, and plunged right into his typical
“I see the new planes, new equipment, new
products, always enjoying the afternoon the air shows, and meet new
Unfortunately, Perez-Canto will not be a
three-peater, but he has a good excuse not to be at AirVenture 2011. Next
June he plans to take off on a flight around the world, a project he’s
undertaking to raise money for the Amigos Del Nino Con Cancer (Friends of
Children with Cancer) foundation in Venezuela. Flying under the banner,
“Un amigo por el mundo,” (A friend for the world), the planned 70-day,
36,000 nm journey will take him through 40 countries, and across 18 seas
and two oceans. But first comes the bittersweet return flight from
AirVenture to Venezuela.
“Every time I leave here for my country, I always go with much loving
for flying,” he said.
Look for Perez-Canto to renew that love
affair with Oshkosh in 2012.