By Rob Finfrock
The four recipients of the 2015 Bob Hoover Presidential Scholarships, presented last year in partnership between CJP and the Bob Hoover Legacy Foundation, spent an exciting and activity-filled week immersed in the wonders of general aviation (GA) at the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) AirVenture 2015, held July 20-28 in Oshkosh, WI.
From July 20-23, Scholars Dakota Foster, Robert Morgan, Achyut Nair, and Anna Robinson – enjoyed a wide array of activities and opportunities arranged with the help of CJP volunteers. Morgan termed his experience at AirVenture, “a nonstop adventure of back-to-back once in a lifetime opportunities. I had no idea what all to expect during this trip, but the entire [visit] was beyond anything I could have expected.”
After a barbecue dinner hosted by Textron Aviation for CJP Members and their guests on Opening Day, the group got started bright and early the next morning with a “splash in” to the EAA Seaplane Base in a Cessna C208 Grand Caravan turboprop mounted on amphibious floats. From there, the students enjoyed aerial tours of the AirVenture grounds from the vantage point of a Bell 47 helicopter, followed by flights with the world famous AeroShell Aerobatic Team onboard their WWII-vintage North American T-6 Texans.
“I experienced my first seaplane ride, my first helicopter ride, and my first ride in an aerobatic airplane,” exclaimed Achyut Nair. “It was a great experience to view and learn about all the aircraft that were there at Oshkosh, [where] I had a view of aviation past, aviation present, and aviation future.”
Also throughout their stay at Wittman Field, the group met with aviation design pioneer Burt Rutan, toured the “World’s Busiest Control Tower” at Wittman Field and enjoyed a nighttime air show, and visited the EAA Museum. CJP Director Tracy Forrest provided accommodations for the group in CJP’s Hospitality trailers at Camp Scholler, the EAA’s large on-site RV campground at Wittman Field for AirVenture attendees.
“AirVenture 2015 was one breathtaking adventure after another,” added Anna Robinson. “Thanks to CJP giving me the opportunity to check so many ‘firsts’ off my list and meet truly phenomenal people. It was beyond description and I am beyond grateful.”
The students also enjoyed a private introduction and photo session with the Apollo 13 crew. To add to the excitement, they were invited on stage before the Astronauts program at EAA’s Theater in the Woods, where they were able to take photos and touch one of the actual space suits from the Apollo 8 mission.
After spending time with the Apollo 13 crew, the Scholars attended the Bob Hoover Dinner during AirVenture, where they had the opportunity to catch up with the famed aviator since their first meeting last October during the scholarship awards presentation in Daytona Beach.
“My first AirVenture experience was surely unforgettable, and one that I can’t wait to tell my kids about one day and hopefully make their trip as memorable,” added Dakota Foster. “I am eternally grateful for the opportunities that the members and staff of CJP continuously provide for us.”