An Excellent Aircraft Adventure

That confounding Wisconsin Spring spilled dense fog all over the runways Saturday morning and torpedoed our plans for a Young Eagle Flight, but we still had an excellent adventure.

That’s how cool EAA, the Experimental Aircraft Association, is.

First, we accidentally poked our heads into the maintenance hangar and, instead of being sternly rebuked for trespassing, we scored a warm welcome and a tour of that busy facility.

Thanks to Paul, a retired association member from Iowa, we even got to climb aboard a newly refurbished B-25 Bomber and imagine what life must have been like for pilots then.

Then, after we got the official word that all Young Eagle Flights had been canceled for the day, we headed over to the EAA museum where my young friend and I had a blast battling the wind in a simulated hurricane, posing in front of infrared sensor, guiding an F-22 Raptor through a snowstorm in Chicago, and checking out lots of very cool aircraft.

My favorite was the 1949 Taylor Aerocar, a replica of the flying car designed by Molt Taylor, who spent most of his life campaigning to make flying cars mainstream. I liked it because it looked just like my Bug and, had I been around at the time, I’d like to think I would have ordered myself one of Mr. Taylor’s aerocars, maybe in blue mist metallic, and flown it all over the Erb Park neighborhood.

We also checked out the nose art, a slice-of-time collection of mostly pin-up artwork that pilots used to personalize the nose of their aircraft (though we avoided the curtained off area where some of the more graphic, less clothed models hid).

I can’t believe I’ve lived in Wisconsin this long and have never been to the EAA museum. I’m looking forward to heading back down there soon.

For those of you who, like me, did not know about the Young Eagles Program, it is offered to kids from 8-17 and allows them to get a tour of the outside of the airplane, run through a pre-flight check with the pilot and then enjoy a 15 or 20 minute flight. This whole introductory experience is free!

We can’t wait to reschedule ours.

We accidentally popped into the maintenance hangar and met Paul, who said I could use his picture in my blog as long as I was sure he wouldn’t break it. Ha ha.
Paul gave us an unexpected tour of the coolest garage we’ve ever seen, and let us climb into the cockpit to check things out.
The crew of volunteers come from all over to work on vintage and home built airplanes to get them ready for the big show. AirVenture 2019 runs from July 21 through the 28, though there are plenty of other reasons to check out the museum and EAA events.
I loved the Aerocar because it looks a lot like the car I currently drive, minus the wings.
I like this one too because I loved the movie Fly Away Home. Bill Lishman was an EAA member. Nicknamed Father Goose, he designed this ultralight plane to guide geese on their migration in 1988.
There’s a hang glider simulator that made us both want to try hang gliding some day.

Flamin’ Mamie was one of the more demure nose art models.
Because we showed up as the doors were opening Saturday morning, we pretty much had the place to ourselves, which we loved. So much to see!
Wisconsin’s first pilot John Kaminski brought this aircraft to Milwaukee in 1912.
So many planes, so little time. We’ll be back.

11 thoughts on “An Excellent Aircraft Adventure

  1. I have been to the EAA museum several times. Both my husband and my brother were private pilots. Carl and i went flying in his airplane on our first date! Very interesting place to visit. Glad you enjoyed your day there.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Laura! We always love to show off “the house.” Next goal is to make sure we get those Young Eagles flight scheduled.

  3. Laura – What a wonderful comment on our museum. I was the money lady at the pancake breakfast and glad you were able to get to the museum. Please come again!

    1. We loved it. The pancakes were also especially fluffy so our compliments to the chefs.

  4. Always interesting. I enjoyed my visit and wonderful tour some time ago, and recommend it to everyone. Great photos, Laura.

  5. I worked Oshkosh one summer when I was with Mooney Airplane. At the Young Eagles dinner, my chair backed up to Harrison Ford’s at the next table. 🙂

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