EAA AirVenture Oshkosh - The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration

 for Fri, Aug 1, 2008

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EAA AirVenture Today is published by the Experimental Aircraft Association for EAA AirVenture from July 27 - August 3. It is distributed free on the convention grounds as well as other locations in Oshkosh and surrounding communities. Stories and photos are copyrighted 2008 by EAA AirVenture Today and EAA. Reproduction by any means is prohibited without written consent.


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The official daily newspaper of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Volume 9, Number 6 August 1, 2008     

KidVenture gives youth a valuable aviation experience
By Allison Reineck
Melody Apperson waves to her mother as she flies by at KidVenture. Photo by Phil Weston
Amber Tille in the "My First Logbook" area with instructor Mike Garrison. Photo by Phil Weston
Mathias Young shreds with the help of SFC Lincoln Beverley at KidVenture. Photo by Phil Weston

Away from all the action along the flightline and AeroShell Square are the smiling faces of children at KidVenture, located at Pioneer Airport.

KidVenture is a place where children and their families can enjoy learning about aviation with hands-on activities, simulators, and aviation heroes. Many of the simulators take children on missions from NASA and the Wright brothers.

"They have so much fun, and you hardly hear kids crying around here because they are so excited," said volunteer Kay Nordbye.

A few organizations at KidVenture include the U.S. Army, Balsa USA, the FAA, Wings of Dreams, and more. These organizations donate their time to introduce children to aviation.

The U.S. Army, and its Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP), not only gives information regarding internships, competitions, and scholarships at KidVenture, but it also hosts a rocking interactive video game, known as Guitar Hero.

The game is set up in the back of a U.S. Army Hummer with surround sound and three flat screen TVs. Children can become Top Rockers by playing the handheld guitar to rock music and see how well their hand-eye coordination is.

Children visiting KidVenture are enjoying watching Mark Enderby of Balsa USA, build a Fokker E. III Eindecker kit he started Monday. After he finishes the kit, it will be donated to the Northern Aces Air Show Team.

Enderby is attending AirVenture for his 29th year and volunteering at KidVenture for his third year. "I started volunteering for other areas of AirVenture, but working with the kids here at KidVenture is a lot of fun," Enderby said.

When walking through KidVenture, one cannot miss the FAA and its Hazardous Materials Find the Crime walkthrough course. The Find the Crime course explains to children what is acceptable and not acceptable to pack in checked luggage. After completing the short course, children will receive an honorary Special Agent Certificate along with an FAA pin.

Children, ages 3 to 7, can take rides in Marv Hoppenworth’s homebuilt pedal planes at the Fly a Pedal Plane booth. Although babies’ feet cannot reach the ground to pedal, many parents and children are stopping by to take pictures alongside the Top Cat pedal planes.

Both Marv and his wife, Cathy, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, have volunteered at KidVenture for many years and continue to donate not just their time, but the pedal planes as well. "It’s fun to watch the children get started in the pedal planes, because it takes them a while to get used to the turns," Cathy said.

Attendees seem fascinated with the Wings of Dreams display and speaking with Michael "Orville" Markowski, the aeronautic engineer who built the Windy and designed the Wind Tunnel Model of a space shuttle in 1971. Children can view the Windy and learn how it measures lift and drag. This EAA Hall of Famer received a four-year degree from Penn State University after receiving a scholarship for the Windy. "I want to inspire kids and help them make their dreams come true," Markowski said.

Also presented at KidVenture is "My First Logbook." Kids can make their first step into aviation by virtually flying and having it recorded in their very first logbook. Aviation Supplies & Academics, Inc., the National Association of Flight Instructors, and EAA are sponsoring the activity, and NAFI volunteers are providing flight instruction to the children. Every pilot that is learning to fly must work from a training syllabus, go through lessons, and fly a Cessna 172 on a computer.

Kids can learn to rivet, craft their own propeller, compete in an Aviation Artist Contest, listen to important figures in aviation on the Aviation Hero Stage, and much more. KidVenture is open daily from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and until 2 p.m. on Sunday, August 3.

"Kids will come back every single day, learn about aviation, and see important aviation icons," Nordbye said. "It’s an amazing opportunity for families and children."

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