Eight Day Air Camp


The spirit of the Wright Brothers is alive and well in thousands of garages, basements, and hangars of pilots and would-be pilots all over the world. The legacy of the Wright Brothers is manifest in the 30.000 airports world-wide plus the almost one million pilots and 300,000 registered aircraft in the world. There’s no doubt about it, flying is very important to our culture today.

That’s why the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, exists and why they devote so much of their resources to introducing the subject and thrill of flying to our nation’s young people. EAA Chapter 1158 in West Bend, Wisconsin, offers an eight day, non residential, camp for youths 13 to 15 years old that features a unique combination of science, hands-on construction projects, weather, and actual flying experiences. It is believed to be the only summer camp of its kind in Wisconsin and the U.S.

Participants are involved in various flight activities that include an ascension in a tethered hot air balloon, flight in a helicopter, flight in a glider, flying a remote controlled model plane, and a half-hour instruction in a Cessna 152 trainer, where, under the guidance of an FAA certified instructor pilot. The camp ends with a flight to the EAA Museum in Oshkosh where participants gain even more flight time with experienced pilots in their privately owned aircraft.

Hands-on projects have been a hallmark of Air Camp. Ranging from studying the flight characteristics of a balsa-wood flying model to the supervised use of tools in the wiring of an aircraft electrical circuit, and the construction of an actual aircraft wing section, participants learn valuable aviation “how-to” skills. Air navigation and radio phraseology are the topic on a day preceding the cross-country trip to Oshkosh. Chart reading and use of navigational computers is also covered.

The science and history of flight is covered. Principles of physics, applied mathematics, and earth science is linked to understanding the basis of flight, spacecraft, the inner workings of aircraft instruments, meteorology, and the use of modern GPS technology.

Participants meet an active airline captain and learn about the path to that career. An informational packet is given to each participant with details about local aviation training options.

Although many Air Camp graduates may advance their aviation interests at a personal or professional level, the true measure of the programs impact is gauged more by the impact on a young person’s growing awareness of aviation options and their own discovery of talents and interests that may or may not follow an aviation path. Non-the-less Air Camp helps them master skills, gain self confidence, interact with others, and gain appreciation of the practical application of science and math. In sum, the guiding philosophy of the Chapter 1158 Air Camp is that every astronaut, airline captain, or top gun pilot, was once a young person with a dream of flight. Air Camp seeks that spark of interest and helps give wings to that dream.

For more info go to: eaa1158.org, click on Air Camp.