Winning Essays from Airplanista’s “For the Love of OSH” Essay Competition (fourth place)

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This post continues a seven-part series featuring the essays submitted by the seven finalists from our just-concluded Essay Competition at #Oshbash 2019. I will continue to post additional essays in the coming days - dan

X-Plane 11 Fourth Place Prize: Justin Cook

The slogan “World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration” could not describe EAA Airventure Oshkosh better. It is often said you come for the planes but stay or come back for the people. This has become very true for me as it has become a pilgrimage to see people that I have met both through EAA as well as online. People with the common bond of aviation are what make EAA what it is. I recently became president of my local EAA chapter and one of my main purposes for coming this year is to help people learn more about EAA Chapters and what the chapter network offers in their own communities.

This year’s convention will be my ninth convention and it has played a big part in shaping my career and who I am today. While in college and struggling to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up I had in epiphany that I had a passion for aviation and business why not combine them. This was the genesis of my goal to get a job in aviation, one that I am happy to say that I have achieved. My passion for aviation started at an early age as I am a third generation pilot and one of five in my family but if it were not for EAA and Airventure I don’t know that I would be as passionate about it as I am. In the days and weeks leading up to Oshkosh my excitement grows and I always leave reinvigorated and ready to hit the ground running and get more activity in my chapter. It is my goal to make that Oshkosh feeling something that we can experience year round in our own communities.

People often ask me why Oshkosh? Why EAA? I can’t but help to answer by telling them it is just something they have to experience. Anyone who has even a slight interest in aviation will find something to make the trip worthwhile at Airventure. From history buffs to those ready to spend thousands on plane upgrades or even a new plane you will find it at Oshkosh.

There is just something about over 10,000 aircraft and over 500,000 people making a yearly trek to a moderate size Midwestern town to celebrate a common bond of all things aviation. Where else can you go and have that many people but yet everything is clean and well kept, you can leave a phone charging and come back hours later and it is still there. Everything is different here and I hope we can all take that Oshkosh feeling back home to continue to grow aviation in our own communities. As Leonardo da Vinci once said “For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” I would like to amend to say “For once you have been to Airventure, there you have been and there you will long to return”.

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