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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedTribute Flight Comes to a Close as J.W. French Heads to Oshkosh
Mark Standish, host and Chapter #57 member Billings, MT.
J.W. and Acro Sport at Mobridge, SD - his 48th state. Mission accomplished!
J.W, and Chapter # 702 Alexandria, MN Dan Barber, host.
Hosts Chuck and Jody Doyle and residents of Sky Harbor Airpark IAC Chapter #78.
J.W. and Bob Collins
Future aviators.
Members of Chapter #54 Lake Elmo, MN.
J.W. French, EAA 226884, has been visiting EAA chapters at local airports re-creating Sam Burgess’ 1974 flight around the lower 48 states in an open-cockpit Acro Sport. He visited Billings, Montana; Alexandria, Minnesota; Webster, Minnesota; and South St. Paul, Minnesota, this week, and plans to arrive in Oshkosh Monday for the opening day of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008.

Stop 21: Billing Logan Airport (BIL) in Billings, Montana (Friday, July 18)
Supported by Mark Standish and EAA Chapter 57
Friday morning Bob Little of EAA Chapter 344 wished J.W. farewell as he departed for Billings, Montana. "I was really looking forward to this leg of the trip because it would be the last time I'd have to deal with the 'big rocks'," he said. J.W. arrived safely in Billings later that day, where Mark Standish greeted him. "That evening we visited EAA Chapter 57's hangar and I met Pat Kinney, the local middle school science teacher who mentored the young ladies who recovered a famous Pietenpol. They received recognition for there their efforts that included an educational camp at EAA headquarters," he said. "One of the young ladies is now building a Pietenpol Sky Camper. This chapter is really active in involving young people in aviation." Later that day J.W. made his daily call to his wife, Vicky, to wish her a happy 10th anniversary.

On Saturday, July 19, J.W. departed Billings en route to Bowman, North Dakota, and claimed the 47th state of the Sam Burgess Memorial Junket. Avoiding thunderstorms and IFR conditions, J.W. departed Bowman and landed safely in Mobridge, South Dakota, later that day, claiming the 48th and final state of his re-creation flight. On Sunday morning, he was off to Alexandria, Minnesota. "Sam, I cleaned my plate," J.W. remarked with emotion.

Stop 22: Alexandria Municipal Airport - Chandler Field (KAXN) in Alexandria, Minnesota (Sunday, July 20)
Supported by Dan Barber (400589) and EAA Chapter 702

J.W. arrived safely at Alexandria Municipal Airport - Chandler Field (KAXN) Sunday morning, where Dan Barber of EAA Chapter 702 greeted him. That evening members of the chapter congregated at Dan's hangar for a cookout. "Dan has a Stearman, an Aviat Husky, and a Cirrus in his hangar," J.W. said. "Dan later told me that only two chapter members didn't own tail-wheel airplanes, so it was really my kind of crowd." At 2:30 p.m., J.W. received the clear weather he was waiting for and preceded to make a one-hour trip to Webster, Minnesota.

Stop 23: Sky Harbor Residential Airpark Airport (1MN8) in Webster, Minnesota (Sunday, July 20)
Supported by Chuck Doyle (EAA 322661)

Arriving safely at Sky Harbor Residential Airpark Airport (1MN8), J.W. met Chuck Doyle, his overnight host, as well as a contingent of Sky Harbor residents. "I had a tour of Chuck's hangar and the collection of vintage airplanes he has is amazing," he said. "Included in the group were a Twin Beach, two Waco Biplanes, a Pietenpol with a Model A engine, a replica Bucker Jungmeister with a Warner 185 hp super scarab engine, and a Travel Air biplane restoration in progress. How could you possibly go into a hangar like that and pick which plan to fly?" J.W. enjoyed dinner that night at a local pizza parlor with several airpark residents before departing for St. Paul, Minnesota, the next morning.

Stop 24: South St. Paul Municipal Airport - Fleming Field in South St. Paul, Minnesota (Tuesday, July 22)
Supported by Bob Collins (EAA 597535) and EAA Chapter 54

J.W. landed safely at South St. Paul Municipal Airport - Fleming Field early Tuesday morning and met his overnight host, Bob Collins, a news writer for Minnesota Public Radio. J.W. was interviewed by one of Bob's colleagues, which gave him the opportunity to talk about the life and times of Sam Burgess. Later that night, Paul Hove, a member of EAA Chapter 54 and a builder of a completed RV-7A, joined Bob and J.W. for dinner at Bob's house. "After dinner we went to Bob's hangar where several members from the chapter gathered to have a look at the Acro Sport," J.W. said. "Two young boys were a part of the group, so I made sure they both got to sit in the cockpit and have their pictures taken by dad and grandpa." The following day, J.W. left for Monroe Municipal Airport (KEFT) in Monroe, Wisconsin, which is close to his brother's home in New Glaris, Wisconsin. "I'll have a couple of days for some R & R and then we'll be off to Brodhead, Wisconsin, on Friday, for the Pietenpol and Hatz fly-in," he said. "Next Monday I will head to AirVenture 2008 for the week. I'll make a report after Oshkosh and another one about the National Antique Fly-In in Blakesburg, Iowa, after I get back home to Ft. Myers, Florida, in September."


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