Midland, Mich.– November 1, 2005 – Created by Walt Suminski and other pilots in the Midland area, the “Kids To Oshkosh” program has been providing opportunities for local high school students to travel to the annual EAA AirVenture Oshkosh convention in since 1992.
Knowing that there are a lot of young people who are interested in EAA AirVenture but unable to attend for various reasons, EAA Chapter 1093 put together the “Kids To Oshkosh” program. The program takes three students to the convention each year, providing them with a means to attend AirVenture by airplane at no cost. The lucky three this year were Emily Burley, Mike Blain and Eric Schroeder. By following through with this program each year, the chapter has created a very unique experience for many kids.
This year, the “Kids To Oshkosh” program, chaired by Dot Hornsby, took the three students to EAA AirVenture on July 26. Chaperoned by Jim Pollack, they began their day by boarding an airplane at Midland’s Barstow airport with pilots Jack Hallett and Creig Kelley. They arrived in Oshkosh less than an hour and a half later. As they touched down, Ken Whyte and his aircraft parking crew were waiting to park the plane. Cody Welch arrived in the “EAA Welcome Wagon,” which took them off to a nice, hot breakfast at Dave Schmelzer’s campsite, then met the group.
The day officially got underway with a tour of the AirVenture grounds, the EAA AirVenture Museum and Pioneer Airport. As usual, the students meet various aviation celebrities such as EAA Founder Paul Poberezny, EAA President Tom Poberezny and EAA Young Eagles Chairman Emeritus Gen. Chuck Yeager. Each of the students received money for their lunches and souvenirs and then had the opportunity to visit the destinations that most interested them. Later everyone met to discuss the experiences of the day and watch the air show together. Following the air show, the group boarded the airplane and returned home, anxious to share their stories with their families back in Midland.
The “Kids To Oshkosh” program has provided an amazing experience for so many young people. The trip to EAA AirVenture is such an exciting and memorable experience for the young enthusiasts. The efforts of EAA Chapter 1093 have been an outstanding gift to the aviation community, and of course to the students selected to participate.
Prior to departing Midland’s Jack Barstow airport, three local high school students (front), Mike Blain, Eric Schroeder, and Emily Burley pose for a picture with pilots Jack Hallet and Creig Kelley, and Chairman of the Airport Advisory Commission, Jim Pollack.
Jim Pollack greets Emily Burley as she arrives at Barstow airport.
The students and their families after having spent the day at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2005.