11 BHS students attend Oshkosh

Published 6:59 pm Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Oshkosh, Wis., is headquarters for the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), an organization of more than 1,000 local chapters, mostly in the United States.

Their purpose is to foster the spirit of aviation and provide camaraderie among aviation enthusiasts throughout the country.

One such nearby group is Chapter 445 in Tallahassee, Fla.

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Oshkosh is also home to two other very special activities: Aviation Summer Camps for students and the world’s largest general aviation air show, AirVenture, which is held each year during the latter part of July.

The aviation camps are open to young people interested in increasing their knowledge of flying while sharing that experience with other students.

According to Col. Gary Breedlove, “The camp for older students of high school age is the most prestigious aviation camp in the United States. The participants have eight days of hands-on curriculum, tours of aviation facilities and flying, and three of those days are spent at the AirVenture air show that takes place at the same airport as their camp. It is truly a once-in-a-life-time experience for a very limited number of students.”

There are only 96 slots available each summer, 48 in each of two camps. The process to get accepted is very competitive, Breedlove said.

“Thanks to our excellent relationship with the pilots of EAA Chapter 445, Bainbridge High School has been very fortunate to have cadets sponsored to the Advanced Aviation Camp for five consecutive summers. There have been at least two every year, and three were sponsored to the camp last summer,” Breedlove said.

The past participants include the following: Michael Love and Josh Pope, 2006: Derrick Akins and Phillip Lambert, 2007: Jessica Merritt and Tiffy Blocker, 2008; Darren Good, Adam Anderson and Stephen Dunn, 2009.

Cadets Tyler Pollock and Avery Chestnut will be attending the camp July 20-28. This will give Bainbridge High School a total of 11 cadets who have had this terrific, first-class aviation experience.

“We are very, very fortunate to have this opportunity, and I reinforce that with our cadets routinely.”