Ask any aviation professional what inspired them to pursue their career, and there’s likely a story dating back to their early childhood.
That was exactly the case for Howard Olson, a CWA-based AMT. At the impressionable age of nine, his parents brought him to his first EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to walk the airport grounds and watch aircraft come and go. Forty years later, he hasn’t missed a single annual gathering. For the past 20 years, Howard has helped develop — and expand — a portion of the event aimed at inspiring the next generation of aviators.
“We are running the Control Line Aircraft exhibit at KidVenture [a part of AirVenture specifically laid out for children],” said Olson during an afternoon rainstorm in Oshkosh. “We’re trying to inspire kids to get active in aviation, to learn to build something with their own hands, and feel proud of being able to do this.”
Control Line Aircraft is a type of aeromodelling that involves rudimentary components that are easy to find, craft, and assemble. The planes fly in a circle, powered by a small engine, and operated through wires attached to a hand-held control.
“I got started in this at a young age, my kids did it, and now my grandson is getting started in it as well,” Olson added. “If we can use exhibits like this to teach kids the basics of flight, perhaps it will help them want to learn more.”
Olson wasn’t the only Endeavor employee actively offering assistance at AirVenture. Endeavor First Officers — and sisters — Alex and Stephanie Arcamuzi have been volunteering at the world’s largest gathering of aviation enthusiasts for nearly 13 years each — and have been attending AirVenture since their early teen years.
“We grew up with a pair of very hard working parents who instilled an equally strong work ethic in us,” said Stephanie Arcamuzi. “We developed a motivation to help others by watching them. We love seeing how the little things we do as volunteers come together to help make a difference during the week.”
For these employees, being part of the effort to put on AirVenture is more than a volunteer opportunity, it’s a labor of love that all would agree delivers a strong return on their investment.
“I would encourage anyone to get involved in helping within the aviation community,” noted Olson. “We’re losing a generation as far as an interest in aviation goes, and none of us want to see that happen.”