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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS Feed“Crazy” wheels power into AirVenture
By Kristy Hemp, EAA AirVenture Today
  

Photo by Stefan Seville
Steve and Brian Betts’ “blowped.”

July 31, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin  - For years the campgrounds at EAA AirVenture have been home to campers known for their “getting around creatively” inventions, but it was by chance that you saw such a creation in action. 

This year a couple of camping regulars decided to do something about it. 

“Last year, we saw all these ideas—including the famous gas-powered La-ZBoy,” explained Eric Whyte, chairman of the AirVenture Cup Race and on-air host for EAA Radio, “and one night we were sitting around the campground drinking beer and a couch drove by. 

“We joked about having a contest for all the crazy ‘transportation’ that we saw, and here we are today.” 

The inaugural Creative Transportation judging contest was held on Wednesday, July 29, at 7 p.m. outside the Camp Scholler Red Barn. Entries were divided into five categories: electric power, gas power, human power, modified production, and outrageous creativity. 

Between 25 and 30 entries came out of the woodwork Wednesday evening, and a parade was held to show off the “transportation” hardware to the crowd before the start of judging. 

And the envelope, please… 

The winner of the electric power category was Janos Lancos, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, with his solar-powered radio-controlled electric skateboard. 

The human power division drew a tie between an eight-seat bicycle powered by Elizabeth Janos and her eight member family from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and Les Koberg’s handcrafted T-6 Texan pedal plane that is a miniature replica of AeroShell Aerobatic Team Lead Alan Henley’s plane. 

Alan was injured last year in an accident playing with his children at home, and the miniature T-6 is part of a sweepstakes being held at AirVenture to support Henley and his family. 

A young contender won the gas power category. Teenager Scott Stevens, Corsicana, Texas, brought his scratch built replica of an antique 1920s racing motorcycle. 

A “blowped” blew the competition away…okay, maybe it blew things at the other competition—but it did win the outrageous creativity category. Brian and Steve Betts modified a moped by replacing the stock engine with an ultralight engine and adding an ultralight propeller, looking quite similar to a powered parachute cage.

At the last minute, an antique category was added. Bruce and Jane Clendaniel, Preston, Maryland, won the category with their 1903 Oldsmobile replica that is steered with a tiller.

The modified production category was taken by a modified two-seat restored lawn mower that some said looks just like a Willys Jeep.

“Bragging rights” were the only prizes this year, but next year the organizers hope to expand the event to include prizes such as dash plaques.

EAA Founder Paul Poberezny also stopped over to check out the contest. “He gave us two thumbs-up and said it was interesting.” Whyte said. “We asked him if he wanted to be a judge, and he said he wouldn’t know where to start.”

A motorized couch that was the inspiration for the contest was spotted in the campground, but it’s now being referred to with the likes of the Loch Ness monster.

“Many have seen it, but it can’t be confirmed,” Eric laughed.

Many participants said they already have ideas for next year, which should make for an interesting field of entries.

If you want to get involved at AirVenture 2010, the organizers are planning on again holding the competition on Wednesday during the fly-in. All are invited to come and show their creation.

Categories

Electric power: Electricity providing the principle propulsion
Gas power: Gas or diesel providing the principle propulsion
Human power: Some form of human power (pedals, cranks, etc.)
Modified production: Any production vehicle (bike, golf cart, go-kart, etc.) that has been modified to the owner’s specifications.
Outrageous creativity: Thinking outside the box in design, paint, construction, configuration, etc. Antique: Anything that looks old!

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