Les Bryan and his
1948 Cessna 140
Les Bryan is sitting in the Vintage
campgrounds under the wing of his beautiful 1948 Cessna 140. It’s days
before the official start of AirVenture 2010, and Les has already been
here for a while, arriving before weather made grass camping
Les is from Evansville, Indiana, and is
not a newcomer to the fly-in. This is his 32nd year.
Les urges us to take advantage of the
AirVenture experience—to not let it slip by.
“I was here the first time the Concorde came, and I was standing in
line to take a ride in it.
“I had my credit card out; it was gonna
cost $400. I was gonna go Mach 2, go to Canada, drink a glass of
champagne. And you know, I got halfway up the line and I thought, ‘It
will be back here next year,’ so I stepped out of the line.
“The year after that it didn’t come
back. And after that they came back, but it was $800. I wasn’t gonna
spend $800 to go fly the Concorde.
“And now they’ve quit flying the
Concorde. I can never do that again. So that’s one of the things I
kind of regret not doing.”
Another great memory for Les is when he
met Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager—before their record-making nonstop
“I was here when they were first doing
the Voyager, and I was able to meet them. I made a donation, and I put
my name in their logbook.
“My name went with them around the
world,” he recalls.
“It’s kinda neat to be able to say
that I had a tie-in to something as historically significant. It’s
like Lindbergh and his flight to Paris.”
Les bought his 140 almost by accident. He
had been flying a Champ; his instructor had the 140, which Les decided
to get checked out in.
“I said, ‘This is really nice.’ And
he said, ‘All right, make me an offer.’ I said, ‘All right, 7,500.’
“He didn’t say anything. Just walked
away. Then about a week later he came back and said okay.
“Now what? I wasn’t serious. But I
went out and borrowed as much money as I could get my hands on. And a
week later I owned the airplane.”
Les flies out of Skylane Airport in
Evansville, Indiana. There are about 30 planes based there.
A few years back he and the other pilots
bought the airfield. “So we have a 2,000-thousand-foot grass strip.
And we maintain it and take care of the place.”
Linda & Keith
Doornbos, and their ‘Family Van’ Cessna 170
Keith and Linda Doornbos are from
Bloomington, Illinois, and this is their 30th consecutive time to the
“For the very first time we had a
Cessna 120,” says Keith, “and a very small dome tent. The two of us
in a couple of sleeping bags.”
“We were just amazed at what we saw,”
“The number of airplanes, the size of
the entire convention. Just the scale of the fly-in was something. We
had only been to small fly-ins, so the scale of this was really
Both Keith and Linda are pilots. These
days they fly here in their 1948 Cessna 170, which they’ve owned since
“It’s the family van,” says Keith.
“We use it the way people would use a minivan.
“We use it to go on vacations, and just
have a good time with it. We put the kids in there, and the camping
gear, and go wherever we want to go.”
They fly about 75 to 100 hours per year.
One of Linda’s memories of the fly-in
over the years is the change in the mix of the crowd. “There’s been
more and more women and families over the years.”
They’ve brought their two kids to the
fly-in for years as well. And though the kids are now grown up, they
still come to the fly-in with their families.
Son Brian and daughter Laura loved the
children’s activities area. They each eventually became a co-chairman
of that program—first Brian and then Laura after him. Daughter Laura,
now 26, has never missed an Oshkosh fly-in.
“She’s been up here every year since
she was 5 weeks old,” says Linda. “Now she brings her twins to the
fly-in, and they have never missed one either.”