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.
|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
|Members of Chapter #54 Lake Elmo, MN.
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
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