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Stick Shaker – AirVenture: A Season of Change

Part of the allure of attending EAA’s AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin each year is based on past experience and knowing what you can expect and realizing that there will be the unexpected. This manifests itself in what you take in through the senses; the sight, sound and smell of aircraft old and new, from antiques and warbirds, to leading edge experimental aircraft.

It is also true in relationships. You expect to see old friends. You expect to see men and women who have made a name for themselves – the who’s who in the aviation industry. You also know that there is a very good chance for the unexpected; the opportunity to sit next to the likes of a Burt Rutan in a forum, or chat with the FAA Administrator on the flight line, or rub shoulders with Harrison Ford – the list is long. I have attended the EAA event for almost twenty years and there is something special about the relationships forged in Oshkosh.

This year will be a little different for many of us. Oshkosh without Henry O and Paul Poberezny is kind of like popcorn without butter and salt. I know that as I represent NASAO at the tent next week, there will be a steady stream of folks that will come by the tent to pay their respects. Some will be compelled, others will stop by out of habit because it’s what they have done for so many years. I know, because I have watched as each year they would arrive with big grins, eager to swap stories with Henry. They would laugh and smile and Henry would place his arm around each and say how good it was to see them.

Henry O was one of a kind and with his background with the EAA and his special relationship with Paul, it made for a unique experience at EAA for those of us in the NASAO family. Because of their passing there are things that will change. But for those of us who reaped the benefits of their company, their knowledge and their zest for aviation, the expected and unexpected of Oshkosh will continue to live long inside us.


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NASAO is one of the most senior aviation organizations in the United States, predating even the Federal Aviation Administration’s predecessor, the Civil Aeronautics Authority. The states first established NASAO to ensure uniformity of safety measures, to standardize airport regulations and develop a truly national air transportation system responsive to local, state, and regional needs. More
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