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.