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