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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedKidVenture a hit for kids of all ages
By A.J. Forst, EAA AirVenture Today
Photos by Chris Miller
Emily Miller flies her balsa glider through AirVenture.
Nicole Dyko provides her artistic talent at KidVenture.

July 30, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin  - EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009 is a great place for adults to see their favorite planes, learn building techniques, and witness aviation breakthroughs. And then there's KidVenture.

Since 1999, KidVenture has been the place to go for the upcoming generation of aviation enthusiasts. It grew from about 2,000 kids and parents coming through in the beginning to more than 20,000 in recent years.

KidVenture offers a wide variety of activities for kids of different ages. The area offers everything from airplane drawing contests, to sheet-metal riveting, to real flight training.

Priscilla Soltani, a 10-year-old who was attending KidVenture for her second day, said she liked it better than regular AirVenture, "Because it has more things for kids, and it's more fun."

What really differentiates KidVenture is its hands-on nature. "Here, we let them touch everything," said Alan White, deputy supervisor at KidVenture.

"Out on the flightline it says look, but to not touch it."

KidVenture imposes no real age limit, either. "If you're 40 years old and think you're a kid, you're welcome here also," said White.

A few new things this year include the Learn to Rivet booth with the wing of an RV-12, Build a Wing Rib booth, and Heli-Chair SC demonstration. Also featured are a Mobile Discovery Center, provided by the National Science Center and the U.S. Army that provides handson interactive science demonstrations; and the Spirit of Education space shuttle bus provided by Dream Flight U.S.A., where kids can learn about space-related subjects.

At the Build a Wing Rib booth, kids have the opportunity to learn how to rivet on a real RV-12 wing from a complete kit donated by Van's Aircraft Inc. There has been a lot of participation; the first wing was started Monday morning and was expected to be completed well before lunch Wednesday.

"Fewer children are being introduced to hand tools," said Jim White, a volunteer at the booth. "This gives them an opportunity to introduce them at a very young age."

At the center of the hangar are the Young Eagles Flight Education booths. Here, kids can learn the basics of everything from preflight inspections to navigation and even participate in real flight training.

FAA-certified instructors using FAA approved training devices give kids the chance to log actual instruction time in a real logbook that they can apply towards their pilot certificates.

Not only are kids having fun participating in the activities, but some are helping to run them as well.

Ashleigh Asplund, age 10, was stationed at her parents’ booth giving flawless demonstrations of the basic setup of a small plane’s electrical system. She’s been teaching a wide range of people.

“The youngest person who has ever done it is, I think, a 1-year-old,” she said.

It seems that KidVenture is a hit with the younger crowd. The consensus among the kids is that it’s better than the adult section for the simple reason that it just has more kids’ stuff.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Dylan Humble, age 9, after visiting the air traffic controller booth—his personal favorite.

KidVenture is located at Pioneer Airport, with a large portion in one of the hangars, and more in a large tent in front of it.

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