by The Kid Reporter
Published in Midwest Flyer – October/November 2018 issue
When I first arrived at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, July 23-29, 2018 at Wittman Regional Airport, Oshkosh, Wis., I felt a chill in the air. But the warmth of the people I met soon made me feel real comfy!
We walked into press headquarters and spoke to the leader of the press, Mr. Dick Knapinski, who gave us a pleasant welcome to begin our day.
From there, we walked over to the control tower nearby where we met Kristopher Blocher of Detroit, Michigan. Kristopher has been an air traffic controller for 6 years and his favorite color is blue, like the sky on a beautiful day. Kristopher said that the best part of EAA for him are the people and talking to people from all around the world.
As I walked around looking at the many planes on display, tied down and taxing in, I came across a gorgeous 1946 Aeronca a young man from Greenfield, Indiana was wiping down. He told me he was working on completing his pilot license and came to Oshkosh with his dad. He has been coming to EAA for 16 years – practically all of his life – and his favorite part about AirVenture is also the people.
A couple steps away, I encountered a vintage Ercoupe named “Scampy,” flown by Syd Sohen, who has been coming to EAA for 48 years. Syd’s favorite thing about EAA is looking at planes, showing off his plane, and of course, the people! Syd’s eye-catching Ercoupe had a polished aluminum fuselage and fabric wings.
On our way to the parking lot, an exhibit booth featuring “pedal planes” caught my attention. They can be built from a kit or plans, and are tailored to kids ages 3 to 7. There are 14 models to choose from including the Oshkosh 85 Pedal Pitts, Oshkosh 86 Pedal Eagle, Oshkosh 88 AT6/SNJ/Harvard, Oshkosh 89 Jet Top Cat, Oshkosh 90 Tiger Moth, Oshkosh 91 Jungmeister, Oshkosh 92 Scorpion, Oshkosh 93 P-51 Mustang, Oshkosh 95 Gee Bee R2, Oshkosh 99 Pietenpol, Oshkosh 06 Taylorcraft, Oshkosh 07 J3 Cub, Oshkosh 07 Super Cub, and Oshkosh 08 Staggerwing.
The fuselage and wings of each pedal plane are made out of 3/8-inch plywood. The landing gear and working parts are made of steel. The cowl and covers are made from aircraft aluminum.
The pedal planes move by pedaling and steering using a control stick. Most of the planes are approximately 55 inches wide and 50 inches deep, and feature tailwheel steering. Some models have a rotating propeller that is driven from the pedal crank.
The manufacturer, Pedal Plane Kits, is a family owned business out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Owner, Gary Sampson, has been coming to EAA for 33 years and enjoys what else, the people and talking with them (www.pedalplanekits.com).
I had conversations at EAA 2018 with people from many locations. Everyone I spoke with has been coming to EAA for years, and the one thing that keeps them coming back are the “people.” There are always new people to meet and talk to, new planes and airshow performances to see, blue skies to explore, adventures to be had, and memories to share.
I hope to see you next year at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, July 22-28, 2019. Reporting exclusively for Midwest Flyer Magazine, The Kid Reporter! ERW