The Kid Reporter
Published in Midwest Flyer – October/November 2020 issue
EDITOR’S NOTE: Anyone who has ever attended EAA AirVenture Oshkosh at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, has their own special memories, be it meeting people you have only read about, attending workshops and special programs, camping out, watching the daily airshow, or seeing every make, model and type of airplane that has ever been built by hand or in a factory. The following memories come from an 11-year-old boy who has attended AirVenture over the past 10 years. Not being able to attend in 2020 due to the pandemic was disappointing for everyone, but this young lad looks forward to many more memories in the years to come, and hopes you will too.
The 10 memories I have of a decade of attending EAA AirVenture Oshkosh include:
1. Watching the fireworks, because it is cool to see all of the pretty colors and planes fly by, and it is extremely cool to watch the “Wall of Fire!”
2. I liked it when the jets came by and made a super cool ruckus. It made the earth beneath us shake!
3. FOOD!!! Whatever you crave, there is a meal or snack for you.
4. Seaplanes. If you are not into looking at airplanes at the airport, well then head to the EAA Seaplane Base on beautiful Lake Winnebago. There you will find every kind of seaplane imaginable, from Piper Cubs to transports, such as the magnificent ”Martin Mars” water bomber that appeared in 2016.
5. The U.S. Navy Blue Angels appeared for the first and only time at Oshkosh in 2017. The team was formed in 1946 and is the second oldest military formation team in the world, second only to the French Patrouille de France formed in 1931. The Blue Angels currently fly six McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet jet fighters – one amazing aircraft in use today on our nation’s aircraft carriers. Other military formation teams that have performed at AirVenture includes the third oldest military formation team, the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds (formed in 1953) that fly six F-16C Fighting Falcons. The Thunderbirds performed at Oshkosh in 2014. The Canadian Snowbirds performed at Oshkosh first in the 1970s, and then again in 1983 and 2016. The Snowbirds were founded in 1971 and fly 11 CT-114 Tutors. The Italian military aerobatic team, “Freece Tricolori,” performed at Oshkosh in 1986.
6. Interviewing spectators, airshow performers, and aeronautical engineers allowed me to learn a lot about airplanes, how they are built, and what enables them to fly!
7. Frequent visits to the “Ford Pavilion.” If you are feeling like you have “the wiggles,” then why not head down to the Ford Pavilion where you can climb up a rock wall and come down using a bungee cord. Or how about throwing a baseball or having a blast and getting cooled off at the same time from all of the activities you did during the day with the “water cannon.”
8. “KidVenture” at EAA’s Pioneer Airport has numerous activities for kids, from learning how to make an aircraft propeller, to flying an airplane. KidVenture has every activity a kid could ask for.
9. Watching drones fly is cool because there are different styles, depending on what you want to do with them. If you are feeling like you want to compete, there is a drone “racing station.” And if you just want to relax and have fun, then go to the “driving station” where you can learn to drive a drone freely.
10. The daily airshows. There are so many cool planes and aerobatic or “trick” planes that do lots of cool maneuvers that look dangerous, but when flown by the experts, are really safe. I like the smoke that comes from the planes, and “barrel rolls.”
If I may add an eleventh memory of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, it is a memory shared by my mom, dad and my grandparents, as I was too young to remember it at the time. It was when the founder of EAA, Paul H. Poberezny, took the time to pose for a photo with me on his lap in his red convertible Volkswagen “Red One.” Back in 1982, Mr. Poberezny held my mother in his arms so my grandparents could take their photo. Mr. Poberezny loved EAA and its members and attended AirVenture right up to within weeks of his passing on August 22, 2013. Mr. Poberezny considered all EAA members part of his family and wanted to be with them to the end.
May EAA and AirVenture Oshkosh celebrate a resurgence in 2021, when once again we will come together as one, and where there is something for everyone!
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2021 will be held Monday, July 26 thru Sunday, August 1.