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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedArriving early to AirVenture 2009
By Jack Hodgson, EAA AirVenture Today


Jay Shower and Ann Pooch came to AirVenture 2009 from Gillespie Field in San Diego, California.

July 26, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin -  When I’m wandering around the North 40 my eye is always drawn to one of my favorite planes: the venerable Cessna 150/152. I love hearing about the hardy souls who fly this small trainer from some great distance to attend AirVenture.

On Friday morning I came across a particularly good-looking C-152, and as I was admiring it I realized there was another next to it—and another and another next to them! Why it was practically a whole row of 150s and 152s!

Turns out they were all part of a group arrival by members of the 150/152 type club. Twenty-two of them flew in Friday morning. They’re here together celebrating the 50th anniversary of the little Cessna.

In this group, Ray Key has the honor of flying the furthest to get here. He’s based at Flabob Airport near Riverside, California.

Ray’s 152 is a 1980 model, and it’s in terrific condition. He and his three fellow owners put in a new engine and repainted it three years ago. The engine is larger than usual, a 125- hp Sparrow Hawk conversion, which also includes a better prop.

The plane has 9,000 hours on the airframe but only 300 on the new engine.

Ray does a lot of flying in this little bird. He’s logged almost 200 of the new engine’s time. One trick he has to find new places to fly is that he’s gradually visiting every airport on the LA sectional.

“I took all the airports on it that have a hard surface and are nonmilitary,” Ray explained. “There’s roughly 98 of them. And I’ve visited over half of them now.” He plans to complete all of them eventually.

Although Ray is a relatively new pilot—he got his ticket just two years ago—he does a lot of flying. “I’m flying over 150 hours per year.”

In addition to the 152 he’s also a half-owner of a Christen Eagle. So he’s learning aerobatics. Ray flew the C-152 here from Flabob in 22 flying hours covering 1,700 miles.

Another EAA member who came to AirVenture this year from California is 72-year-old Jay Shower and his fiancé, Ann Pooch.

Jay has been coming to the fly-in for 15 years.

Jay has had an amazing life in aviation. He got his first flight in 1949 when his dad smuggled him onto the military aircraft that he was flying. In 1954 Jay soloed before entering the Navy for a career as a naval aviator.

“I flew off carriers for 16 years,” Jay related. “I was 26 years in the Navy, so I’ve got a lot of jet time, a lot of carrier time.”

His favorite military planes were the A-4—“a Tinkertoy,” he called it— and “the most prestigious jet [I flew] was the RA-5C Vigilante.” “That plane would fly Mach 2.5. The book says 2.3, but it would go 2.5 Mach.”

After retiring from the Navy in 1983 Ray has continued to be a very active pilot. He’s had the V-tail Bonanza that he and Ann flew to AirVenture since 1984. And he’s literally flown it all over the world.

“I put the tip tanks on in 1990 and flew it to Europe,” Ray said. Their route took them via Gander, Newfoundland, and over to Greenland, on to Iceland, and then to Scotland. “I ferry airplanes across now, all the time. Ann and I went two years ago in a Silver Eagle, which is a TP210.”

This is Jay and Ann’s fifth year coming together to the fly-in. Last year, in their North 40 tent, Jay brought out a ring and proposed to Ann. Lots of nice things happen at AirVenture.

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