Like many pilots, I have had a soft spot for Oshkosh for a long time. Besides the aviation connection for
me is that we saw our first grandchild, Lucas, for the first time in that city. Our daughter and son-in-law lived
in Oshkosh when Lucas was born and he was only a week old in July 1996. I was still a student pilot at the time
and that was the only trip taken to Oshkosh when I didn't visit the EAA Museum or AirVenture or do something connected
to Whitman Field. (Amazing, isn't it, how grandpas can work the grandkids into almost any topic?)
Several from SGF Chapter visited Oshkosh this year and at least three of us will share some experiences as the program at Tuesday night's meeting. Hopefully, the slides put together by Earl and I will help visualize the 2004 event.
More will be brought out at the meeting, but I would like to make a couple of observations about the annual Oshkosh event. I don't attend every year but every time I am there I am impressed by the EAA's ability to handle the crowds from entry to parking to aircraft movement to the shuttles to exiting the grounds. True, it helps that the Wisconsin State Police have blocked freeway ramps. It nonetheless shows very careful planning by EAA. It also shows that there is a very large base of aviation enthusiasts volunteering many hours of their time to make the AirVenture a success.
That brings me to a second observation. There are a bunch of people who like things connected with aviation. (I started to write "aircraft" but that would be a stretch for some of the contraptions on display even if they do fly.) I met up with Wendell and Ernestine Jones the day I visited and, in conversation at the Aces Café over lunch, we talked about the number of aviation enthusiasts that come together each year at Oshkosh. We often look at our small numbers in the SGF Chapter and the even fewer who are active in Chapter activities. From that we think that we are very much alone. It is invigorating to visit a major aviation event such as the annual AirVenture and see the numbers who share our enthusiasm about aviation. Now, if we could only get a few more of our fellow Chapter members to join with us each third Tuesday ….
Odds and ends…
The Columbia FSS is hosting a fly-in Aug 28.
Les Featherston has offered to host a fly-in at his Rebel's Bluff airstrip for all MPA members and families this fall. This portends to be a great event. Look for details.
I hope you read in the latest AOPA ePilot (August 13 issue) about the NBC crew who tried to show how easy it would be to act suspiciously and still charter an aircraft? A St. Louis Downtown FBO personnel were alert and the TV crew explained their misadventure to authorities. "This incident demonstrates the validity of the Airport Watch concept," AOPA President Phil Boyer was quoted as saying. Vigilant pilots and airport workers make the best security force because they know who does and doesn't belong at the airport."
Springfield Chapter MPA Meeting
Tuesday, August 17
Menu: Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Peas, Salad and Peach Cobbler
Program: Wendell Jones, Bill Cheek, Earl Holmer
"Highlights from Oshkosh 2004"
I look forward to seeing you on the 17th.