Bridgett Benner are here for their second time to AirVenture. They
flew their Bonanza from their home base at Ernest A. Love Field in
to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh last year because they had been given an EAA
family membership as a gift. "We had so much fun last year that we
came back again this year," said Bridgett.
flight into OSH took 10.5 flight hours and included stops in Casper,
Wyoming, and Dubuque, Iowa.
they left the kids with their grandparents and are enjoying Oshkosh on
the things they remember most from their first visit?
enthusiasm," says Bridgett.
itís just all the passion for aviation," says Dave. "Sharing
what you love about aviation and flying. When youíre home with your
friends itís like, ĎOh, you fly? Thatís cool. Do you fly at night?í
But youíre here and everybody else speaks the language. Shares the
enthusiasm. Itís a lot of fun."
year we brought our 10-year-old," remembers Bridgett, "and he
did the ground school over at the KidVenture. And now he has a whole new
love for flying with his dad, because he got to do that."
plane is a 1966 V-Tail Bonanza. Theyíve owned it for two years.
do as much flying as we can," says Dave. "I just retired and
youíd think thatís the time to do more. But we just redid the
interior of it. Three months to do the interiors, and itís just come
back up last month, so Iíve started flying a lot with it again."
of flying trips do they do back home?
of the things we really like to do because we live in northern Arizona,
is fly the Grand Canyon. We take friends, or people visiting the
wondered what restrictions are on private planes over the canyon.
long as you avoid hazy days, because you have to be at a minimum of
10,500 feet over the main corridors that go over the nicest parts of the
canyon. Thereís other places to the west where the canyon still is
quite nice and you can be at 9,000 feet. And the rim all along there is
about 5,000 feet so youíre anywhere from 4,000 to 6,000 feet. Itís
Papas with his son, Air Force Crew
Papas. Photo by Jack Hodgson
nine-year-old Dan Papas was
attending his first Oshkosh Fly-In. Dan, and his dad, Chuck, were
talking with a friendly stranger, and Dan blurted out that he planned on
joining the Air Force. That stranger turned out to be a retired Air
Force colonel, who became young Danís mentor.
that he wanted to fly from a very young age. He was an EAA member and
flew as a Young Eagle (his dad has flown more than 300 Young Eagles).
on his 16th birthday, got his private at 17. As soon as he graduated
high school he joined the Air Force. At 19, after coming back from Air
Force tech school, he did his instrument and commercial ratings.
going to college full-time and is a crew chief on a C-130 for the Air
National Guard in Illinois.
drove the family car to Oshkosh this year from their home in Valparaiso,
Indiana, but Dan, who is now 20, soloed here in their 1960 Cessna 172.
has been in their family for 15 years.
worked on it and restored it since I was 4 years old," says Dan.
"Iíve only known this airplane."
had so many adventures and childhood memories in this plane. Last summer
we were able to, in between my Air Force and college careers, fly this
out to Colorado, and took it up to South Dakota. We saw Wall Drug, the
Badlands, and Mt. Rushmore. Then flew it to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to visit
friends we made in Oshkosh."
part of the summer in Japan doing humanitarian operations as crew chief
of his C-130. He was recently deployed to combat the flooding in the
Midwest, and in the fall he will be going to Afghanistan.
attended every AirVenture since he was nine, even though his busy career
limited him to a one-day visit a couple years ago. But he fully intends
to make it back here every year in the future.
Visit the "Around
the Field" archive at www.AroundTheField.net.