|A row of Cessna 195s in the Vintage parking area.
Photo by Julie Wegner
According to Vintage Aircraft Association President Geoff Robison, weather early in the week likely impacted the number of antique airplanes able to attend EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2011.
“There was a line of thunderstorms around Chicago that wouldn’t move,” Robison said. I know that impacted arrivals from the east and from the west.
“Weather like that is just not fun in an open cockpit airplane.”
However, numerous airplanes that did make it were something very special to see.
Said Robison: “It is particularly interesting that the quality gets better every year. They are really, really excellent.
“The awards program [Saturday Night] will reflect that. We don’t normally give out all the awards on our schedule because there just aren’t airplanes that fit the category.
“This year is the first in a number of years that we are going to put out an award for every judging category. That tells you what is going on with the quality of these restorations and the people that are bringing them here.
“We are very proud of what they’ve been able to accomplish.”
Grass runway for grassroots flyers
While controlling weather is well beyond Robison’s control, improving VAA’s piece of the convention grounds is not.
“One of my primary projects this year is working with Rod [Hightower, EAA President] to get a grass strip available for these antique guys and have it regularly available. I am confident, and Rod is committed—he said it out loud—to having a grass strip for these antiques to use.
“Some of the really special ones, especially the tail skid airplanes, really need the grass.”
Another project in the works looks to build a permanent pavilion for the VAA’s Tall Pines Café.
VAA is also growing a program that allows type clubs to reserve space for parking and camping spots for their members.
“This year we saw more Stinsons, Ercoupes, and there was a group of [Cessna] 170s down there,” Robison said.
“That’s very desirable real estate and to be able to come in with all your buddies and park and camp together is a big feature.”
This year’s top Vintage award—the Gold Lindy—for a Contemporary airplane went to David Smither of Aubrey, Texas, for his 1966 Cessna 301K twin.
Rick Michalek of Keosauqua, Iowa, took the top Classic award with his 1953 Piper PA-22
The Grand Champion Antique is a 1938 Lockheed Model 12A belonging to David Marco, of Atlantic Beach, Florida.