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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedJ.W. French Re-Creation Flight Nears End

Read about Stops 1 and 2
Read about Stops 3, 4 and 5

Read about Stops 6 and 7

Read about Stops  8 - 13

Read about Stops 14 - 17

Independence, Oregon, chapter’s morning coffee crew at the EAA Hangar.

J.W.’s Nephew Eric French with twins Morgan and Jason.

J.W. and John Proctor at Arlington Fly In.

For the past week J.W. French (EAA 226884) has been flying through Washington State, making stops at the Arlington Northwest Fly-In and visiting EAA chapters at local airports as he nears the end of his re-creation of Sam Burgess' 1974 flight around the lower 48 states. In a little over a week, J.W., in his open-cockpit Acro Sport, expects to make his last stop in Alexandria, Minnesota, before heading to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for the week of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008.

Stop 18: Snohomish County Airport Paine Field Airport (PAE) in Everett, Washington (Wednesday, July 9)
Supported by Lee Elliott (EAA 778892)

Arriving twenty minutes after the air show had started at the Arlington Northwest Fly-In in Arlington, Washington, J.W. elected to land at Paine Field Airport in Everett, Washington. Shortly thereafter, he was met by his host, Lee Elliott, and was off to Lee’s home where J.W. would stay for the night. After a “good night’s sleep and a great breakfast prepared by Lee,” J.W. departed on his short flight to the Arlington Airport (KAWO). “The Sam Burgess Memorial Junket Acro Sport was parked on the show line right next to John Proctor’s Cloud Dancer, a beautiful powder blue Hatz biplane on floats. During the fly-in, J.W. had the opportunity to spend time with folks he met at previous stops, including Bob Schwarzler and Jerry Medlock from the Independence stop, and Craig Vincent, his overnight host during the Tracy stop. “Life is good: Beautiful weather, magnificent scenery, interesting airplanes, and the greatest people in the world to associate with,” J.W. said. “It doesn’t get any better than this.” He stayed in Arlington for the remainder of the week, and departed for Martin Field Airport (S95), College Place, Washington, the following Sunday.

Stop 19: Martin Field Airport (S95) in College Place, Washington (Sunday, July 13)
Supported by David and Wilma Cheney (EAA 538457) and EAA Chapter 604

J.W. departed Arlington in the morning “to take advantage of the cooler temperature, calmer wind, and smoother air” for his trip to Martin Field Airport. He once again reported apprehension between stops because of rugged mountains (“big rocks”) that didn’t offer a place to land if engine failure occurred. Adding to this, he lost satellite reception about 45 minutes out and had to use a chart, whiskey compass, and a clock. Fortunately, he was able to get the signal back roughly 15 minutes after restarting his GPS, and he eventually landed safely in College Place, Washington. “Wilma Cheney met me at the fuel pump, and in short order, the Acro Sport was safely stored in a hangar, my gear was put in the guest house, and Wilma and I enjoyed lunch,” he said. “The Cheney’s own Martin Field and it appears to be one of those remaining bastions of general aviation that continues as a labor of love by people dedicated to grass roots aviation.” The next day, J.W. enjoyed a picnic hosted by EAA Chapter 604 before departing for Sky Meadows Airpark Airport in Spokane, Washington, the following day.

Stop 20: Sky Meadows Airpark Airport (WN92) in Spokane, Washington (Wednesday, July 16)
Supported by Rob Neil (EAA 779177)

After enjoying some downtime with EAA Chapter 604 at Martin Field, J.W. departed for Sky Meadows Airpark Airport Tuesday morning. Safely landed, he was greeted by host Rob Neil and was offered the choice of a ride in Neil’s Europa Motorglider over a range of big rocks to a steakhouse in a neighboring valley or a float trip in a canoe down the Little Spokane River with a cooler full of beverages. “You know me and big rocks; I went for the canoe trip,” he said. “We had a great meal afterwards and then we visited Rob’s neighbor, Larry Howard, who is putting the finishing touches on the restoration of a Laird Biplane. It turns out he was acquainted with Sam Burgess and Amelia Reid.” The next morning J.W. had to face the part of the trip he had been most concerned about from the beginning—Mullan Pass in the Rocky Mountains of Montana. “I parted, with Rob as the escort, to take on the Mullan Pass. Was I comfortable? No. But the air was smooth and I had a nice tailwind,” he said. “The pass was not as challenging as I thought.” Two hours later he landed at Helena, Montana, to claim the 46th state in the Sam Burgess Memorial Junket. Bob Little (EAA 57521), the president of EAA Chapter 344, greeted J.W. at the airport. “Bob was stationed in Hawaii when Sam was there and he and Sam worked together to help kick start the EAA chapter there,” he said. “It’s a real treat to meet people who knew Sam. He certainly touched many people’s lives in a very positive way.” The following day he will be off to Billings, Montana, where he will stay overnight with the support of his host, Mark Standish.


FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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