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Want an Aviation Vacation? Discover the EAA's Air Museum Oshkosh Air Show!

January 28, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 182

Airplanes are fascinating to all, particularly children. Do you want a great place to take your family on your next vacation? Would you like to find out just what is an experimental airplane? Recently, I was introduced to the adventurous world of flight when my sister Carol Scott married an aviation enthusiast Thomas W. Wathen. With this brief guide, I'm sharing what I learned from this aviation insider about this exciting method of transportation and how to make planes and air shows the focus of a vacation.

The place to check out for air shows and flight demonstrations is the Oshkosh, Wisconsin association known as the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). It is a large facility with multiple chapters where most air organizations hold air camps. This unique organization was founded in 1953 in Oshkosh and my brother-in-law first learned about the EAA in the late 1950s when he discovered its magazine, The Experimenter. By 1981, Tom was invited to join the EAA's President Council, after he had become a long-time member, a collector-builder of experimental aircraft, and had donated his Piper PT-1 to the EAA museum. The EAA has over 160,000 members and about 1,000 chapters worldwide. In fact, one of its chapters is located at FlaBob Airport, Riverside, California, owned by Tom and the location of his own Thomas W. Wathen Foundation for aviation exploration.

While the EAA is the largest international organization of aviation professionals and enthusiasts, it essentially began as a flyers' club for planes which are modified or built from scratch. These types are required to display an EXPERIMENTAL placard where it can be seen on the door or cockpit. Thus, the association took the "experimental" name. However, while "home-built" planes are still a large part of the EAA, the organization includes every aspect of aviation and aeronautics. The organization is a perfect starting point for inspiring children to enter the world of science, engineering, math as well as flight and aeronautics.

Entertaining and inspiring youth is a major function of the EAA organization. In 2010, the United States' national aero-modeling organization, the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), negotiated a collaboration with the EAA for the two American-based organizations to promote full-scale and modeling aviation as both family recreational and educational activity. In fact, EAA's Young Eagles is a program begun in 1992, initially aimed to give one million children an airplane ride by December 17, 2003, the Centennial of Flight by the Wright brothers. Since then, the Young Eagles have approached nearly two million rides and have done much to promote aviation for children and young adults. In addition, the program has had a series of nationally famous chairmen, including its first head, actor Cliff Robertson. Later chairmen include actor Harrison Ford and USAF General Chuck Yeager, who was the first man to fly faster than the speed of sound. These are, indeed, inspiring dedicated role models for Young Eagles!

EAA's most high profile event is the AirVenture Oshkosh, commonly called the Oshkosh Air Show. It is the world's largest air show, vastly larger than any air show held by any air force or country in the world! The week-long annual July event attracts around 10,000 to 12,000 planes and a total attendance of more than 500,000. The event also includes approximately 800 exhibitors, nearly 1,000 forums, workshops and seminars, and attracts some 700 journalists. Related to it is a smaller event, the Sun 'N Fun Air Show, held every April in Lakeland, Florida, which is supported by EAA chapters' participation, though not an official EAA event.

All year round the EAA displays its collection of planes at the AirVenture Museum. The collection of more than 200 aircraft will feature 90 on display inside the museum at any time. The museum includes Pioneer Airport, a re-creation of a vintage aerodrome which offers vintage aircraft rides, and displays an additional 40 planes.

Discover for yourself and your children this exhilarating vacation experience of the EAA. On your next trip, check out the Oshkosh museum and vintage airport or schedule your trip to attend EAA's phenomenal July Oshkosh Air Show! Take a ride on an Oshkosh Museum vintage plane anytime from May to October! Or, head to Florida in April for the Sun 'N Fun air show! While I was fortunate to get an insider's view of the Experimental Aircraft Association through aviation enthusiast Tom Wathen, anyone can explore these recreational aspects of flight through the EAA and even through your local airport or nearby EAA chapter programs. On your next vacation or weekend exploration, who knows what great air flight experiences await you and your family!

(c) 2012 Elizabeth McMillian

Elizabeth McMillian enjoys writing about her personal interests, including travel, exercise and cycling. She is an architectural historian, a former editor at Architectural Digest, and the author of five books and numerous articles. If these air flight exhibitions inspire you or your child to consider a career in aviation, whether flight training, maintenance, engineering, security or air flight control, consider how to become part of this exciting, recession-proof industry, by checking out grant and scholarship opportunities at http//

Source: EzineArticles
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