Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My week doing an aviation talk show at AirVenture

Huzzah! The hard-working folks at EAA Radio (not run by EAA) have now made all of the interviews during Oshkosh 2012 available on the archive page. It's a good portrayal of just how magnificent this resource is for fans of AirVenture (or at least fans of flying).

Here are the ones that I was involved with. I'd forgotten how much goes into hosting a one-hour interview show (with multiple guests). I enjoyed doing the show because it was fun getting back to doing talk radio again. Also, I like talking about PEOPLE and I think aviation has great people stories to tell. I think I did OK. Just look at this list!

A talk show is hard work. In the end, it has to sound like a conversation and, at least the way I do it, an informal one at that. That's why at my campsite every night, you'd find me working on the next day's hour.

Click to listen (mp3).

Sometimes guests don't show up (it happened to me twice, once involving an RVer) but here are two segments I filled on with Mike Morgan. (Part I | Part II)

Brandi and Brian Unrein

What a fun interview this was. This young couple from the Atlanta area built and flew an RV-10 before becoming old people like, well, you know. They flew it into Oshkosh this year.

Chad Jensen
Chad, a former and future RV-7 builder, is now the manager of communities for the EAA. I knew him when. The EAA wasn't real thrilled to learn I'd be hosting a show this year, but I let Chad know ahead of time that I wasn't about to sandbag him with questions over this Board of Directors proxy controversy -- which I still don't quite understand. If I had, I'm pretty sure Chad would've been ready for it, anyway.

Alex and Alejandro Cuellar, Mike Rettig, and Paul Merems
This was a very inspiring interview about the effort by Van's Air Force members (and others) to make Alex Cuellar's wish to attend Oshkosh come true despite the medical challenges he faces. In the end, he and his dad were ushered into Oshkosh, treated like royalty (the Oshkosh version) and all of those who made it happen made the rest of us proud. It's a great interview.

Chip Yates
This guy was awesome and, as I told him, really had the "high beams" on. He set a record just before Oshkosh for hitting 200 mph in homebuilt airplane, just before the batteries fried. This is must-listening.

Don Hull
Don, from Alabama, is an RV builder who is flying his Cessna for now, and volunteering with Pilots n Paws, a neat effort whereby pilots help rescue dogs who certainly are in need of rescue.

Gary Bipes
Gary is from Hector, MN and I interviewed him on the final Sunday of AirVenture. He's a fascinating man -- a former combat photographer, worked for the CIA, was in the ag-spraying business. I wrote about him for my day job, too. (Part I | Part II)

Jack Beck and Marmy Clason
I've known this wonderful couple since I wrote this article in 2008. They started building their RV9 at, perhaps, the worst possible time in the opinion of some rational people. But maybe rational people don't know everything.

John Zimmerman
John is a VP of Sporty's and came in to talk about using iPads in the cockpit. I've got to get an iPad.

Lane Wallace
I'm honored to call Lane a friend. She's a great aviation writer and explorer. We talked mostly about her book, more so than aviation stories. Perhaps that disappoints a lot of aviation people but the world is deeper than that. We didn't get into it on the radio, but we had a fabulous conversation about parenthood after the show.

Lauran Paine Jr.
Likewise, Lauran Paine is one of my heroes. He's a writer who describes himself as "about as complicated as a fencepost." He's a Vietnam combat pilot, former airline pilot, and RV-8 builder too. When EAA Radio asked if I was interested in doing a talk show this year, the first person I thought about was Lauran. I was not disappointed. (Part I | Part II)

Lyn Freeman and Katrina Bradshaw
I think educators are really missing out on exciting their students by not bringing aviation into the classroom more. So do Lyn and Katrina who are with Build A Plane and are trying to link up airplanes and schools.

Bob Kelley and friends
Bob, of Indiana, helped organize a program to teach kids how to build an airplane. And the Eagle's Nest group did in completing -- and flying to Oshkosh -- an RV-12. He and a couple of the kids tell their story.

Paul Dye
Paul found the RV-1, the original RV, and helped organize the effort to get it back to flying status, have it tour the country, put it back in the hands of Van himself, and then have it flown to Oshkosh, where it was presented to the EAA. Paul is also with NASA and was the longest-serving flight director in shuttle history. He's also from Minnesota, which really tops pretty much the list of everything else he's accomplished.

Rick Gray
If there's a champion homebuilt project crowned at Oshkosh, it's pretty much a given that Rick Gray built it. Now he's a judge and he walked us through how homebuilders can do a better job of homebuilding. We also chatted about his RV-10 accident last fall, from which he is lucky to be alive.

Scott and Casey Stewart
If you're a fan of Van's Air Force, you probably recognize Scott as "DakotaHawk." This discussion involves how fathers and sons build airplanes and are bonded by aviation. Two fine people. It was a pleasure to finally meet both in person.

Mark Giron
What a fabulous and smart person Mark is. He's an official with the Federal Aviation Administration and he's also an RV-6 flyer. On the evening of this interview, he was to host a "safety rally" in the homebuilt camping area of Oshkosh. Only a few of us showed up, however, so here's your chance to hear what you missed, people.

Chris Briers
I admit, I didn't know much about the P750-XSTOL, which is a New Zealand plane used in many rescue and relief efforts. But I enjoyed meeting Chris and the test pilot, who is from South Africa and has an amazing resume.

Frank Johnson
Frank is a woodworker who got started making wooden props by finding a guy who was about to shut down a business. He said, "teach me," and the guy did. And now he teaches us all about wooden props.

George Richards
Building an airplane takes a fair amount of pluck, you know, and so does flying it into Oshkosh. George is a builder of a Falco. In New Zealand. That in itself isn’t unusual at all. He wanted to fly it into Oshkosh. New Zealand… you probably know… is nowhere near Wisconsin. The story of meeting his dream is inspirational.

Alan White
Alan is the builder of a Dyke Delta, a space-ship looking design that’s celebrating 50 years today and for about 39 of those years, Alan White was building one. He flew it into Oshkosh for the first time back in 2010.

John McGiness
John also has a dream. He's the developer of Synergy. His idea is half fighter jet, half futuristic airplane, all family.

Marisela Solesbee
Marisela stopped at the station to talk about her work. She makes quilts for returning injured soldiers of war. I overheard her conversation and found it fascinating (I wrote about it here) and was honored to be able to interview her.


  1. It woud have been nice if you had the time to interview Brenda Smith who built a RV-12 with the very first UL Power engine. A very interesting project and excellent workmanship.

  2. I put out a call for potential interviewees all over the place. I think I got to just about everyone who suggested someone and a topic.

  3. Hi Bob,
    I just found these. Thanks for posting them. Its a blast listening to that again.
    It was a lot of fun and really added to an already outstanding adventure.
    I trust your own machine is going well.
    George Richards
    (Kiwi Falco guy)

  4. Hi George! Great to hear from you! The machine is doing well, fixing a small weeping rivet in the fuel tank today (I hope) and am polishing it while looking for a new hangar home. I've enjoyed listening to our interview again. It was great. What a treat to meet you and hear your story. Best Oshkosh I've ever had thanks to you and all of the people above. Hope we see you again soon. If you're ever in the Twin Cities, holler!

  5. Alex Cuellar passed away on November 9, 2013. He will be missed but his visit to Osh Kosh was one of the highlights of his life. Thank you to all that made it happen.