Camping… with 600 Buddies


Wednesday is traditionally the day when the homebuilt exodus begins at AirVenture. Many folks have been there since the Friday before the show, and are ready for a hot bath and a real bed, so peak airplane “attendance” is reached somewhere on this day. We climbed to the top of the Homebuilt Camping administrative “tower” to take this panorama of almost 600 airplanes and their associated tents to memorialize the high tide point before the departures really begin.

As we moved through the rows upon rows of homebuilt airplanes, it was refreshing to see so many types represented—high wings, low wings, go-fast cruisers and aerobatic hot rods. Tails in the back, tails in the front, and the same thing with little wheels. There are even a few float planes that somehow missed the Seaplane Base over on Lake Winnebago—or maybe they just really wanted to camp on dry ground.

We’ll wave goodbye as more campers pack up their gear and mount their winged steeds on today and Friday. Hardy souls will hold the HBC ground through Saturday, and by Sunday the field will be empty: Only the shadows will remain in the grass to show where a marvelous time was had by all.

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Paul Dye
Paul Dye, KITPLANES® Editor at Large, retired as a Lead Flight Director for NASA’s Human Space Flight program, with 40 years of aerospace experience on everything from Cubs to the Space Shuttle. An avid homebuilder, he began flying and working on airplanes as a teen and has experience with a wide range of construction techniques and materials. He flies an RV-8 and SubSonex jet that he built, an RV-3 that he built with his pilot wife, as well as a Dream Tundra and an electric Xenos motorglider they completed. Currently, they are building an F1 Rocket. A commercially licensed pilot, he has logged over 6000 hours in many different types of aircraft and is an A&P, FAA DAR, EAA Tech Counselor and Flight Advisor; he was formerly a member of the Homebuilder’s Council. He consults and collaborates in aerospace operations and flight-testing projects across the country.



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