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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedEAAer’s Burgess Tribute Flight Continues Around the U.S.

Lufkin, Texas, EAA Chapter 1219 members who met J.W. at the airport for lunch

On Sunday, June 15, J.W. French (EAA 226844) departed Fort Myers, Florida, to re-create the late Sam Burgess’ 1974 flight around the lower 48 states in an open-cockpit Acro Sport. EAA first reported French’s flight in Chapter Hopping, from the June 2008 issue of EAA Sport Aviation (page 86). As a result of that story, French received an enormous response from EAA chapters and members located along his route, many of whom provided open invitations of hangar space and a place to stay. With encouragement from EAA Founder and Chairman Paul Poberezny and EAA chapters throughout the country, French not only aims to re-create Burgess’ historic flight, but also make a stop at Wittman Regional Airport during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008.

Note: Read the account of stops 1 and 2 here and stops 6 and 7 here.

Stop 3: Angelina County Airport (KLFK) in Lufkin, Texas (Tuesday, June 17, 2008)
Supported by EAA Chapter 1219

French arrived safely at Angelina County Airport (KLFK) in Lufkin, Texas, after departing from Pineville, Louisiana, earlier that day. He was greeted and served lunch by EAA Chapter 1219. "You can't beat Texas hospitality," French wrote after his visit. He will depart Lufkin Wednesday morning and he expected to land at Flying Tiger's Field of Dreams (81D), south of Houston.

Stop 4: Flying Tiger's Field of Dreams (81D) south of Houston, Texas (Wednesday, June 18, 2008)
Supported by Freya Shiller (EAA 830440), Bruce Bohannon (EAA 169040), and Kathy and Craig McDonalds

Bruce Bohannon with J.W. at Flying Tiger's Field of Dreams (81D) south of Houston

French landed safely at Flying Tiger's Field of Dreams (81D), located south of Houston, Texas. Freya Shiller (EAA 830440), who had been French's contact for this RON (remain over night), landed several hours later in her Mooney. Kathy and Craig McDonalds were French's hosts for this stop. "Kathy and Craig have a beautiful horse farm with a nice grass strip," French wrote. "The guest quarters are magnificent."

French had the chance to meet several other Texans EAAers as well. "Bruce Bohannon (EAA 169040) kept talking about having choir practice tonight...I was beginning to think this was not my kind of crowd if this was their idea of showing me a good time," French wrote. "Fortunately, Freya explained to me that 'choir practice' was Bruce's code word for the boys getting together to talk flying. The fellowship was a spiritually uplifting experience...the people involved here are the kind that make any organization great."

Because of thunderstorms Thursday morning in Waco, Texas, French had to cancel his visit with EAA Chapter 59. Instead, he proceeded to San Marcos, Texas, later in the day where he visited with three generations of his family. "It was great to visit with my family. I haven't been here to see them since the SBMJ 2005," he wrote.

French stayed in San Marcos, Texas, until Sunday morning (June 22), when he left for Alpine, Texas, his next stop.

Stop 5: Alpine-Casparis Municipal Airport (E38) in Alpine, Texas (Sunday, June 22, 2008)
Supported by Mary and Woody Haston (EAA 414833)

French arrived at Alpine-Casparis Municipal Airport (E38) in Alpine, Texas. He reported the trip from San Marcos to Alpine went fairly smooth thanks to clear skies and minimal headwinds. On Monday, French will spend time with Woody and Mary Haston. "Woody was involved with the construction of the Curtiss Sparrowhawk with Sam Burgess, and helped look after Sam during his final days," French wrote. He will stay in Alpine until Tuesday morning (June 24), before he departs to San Manuel, Arizona, for a RON visit with Mark Rhoads (EAA 320230) and members of EAA Chapter 1406.

Stay tuned as we continue to bring you updates on J.W. French's re-creation of the late Sam Burgess' 1974 trip around the United States. You can read the account of Sam Burgess' 1974 trip at EAA's Sport Aviation magazine online archive. Sam's article, entitled "Spirit of Flight No. 3," appeared in the November 1974 issue beginning on page 70.


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