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John Blackner - 40 Consecutive AirVenture Adventures!

John Blackner and Jack Dueck
Jack Dueck (right) presents John Blackner with special recognition on his 40th consecutive AirVenture.

Lyncrest Airport
Airplanes parked outside hangars at Lyncrest Airport.

This story starts with an e-mail addressed to the EAA Oshkosh headquarters staff; "Do you have any recognition for attendance records at Oshkosh?"

"No, we really have no way set up for tracking attendances"

"Well, John Blackner will be attending his 40th consecutive Oshkosh convention this year, and a bunch of his buddies out here at Lyncrest airpark wanted like to recognize this achievement if it could be done this year at Oshkosh."

Lyncrest Airport, at the southeast corner of Winnipeg, MB, is a pilot's dream. Two grass turf runways, about 48 private aircraft hangars, and about 110 members, who control the operations of the airport, and pay only a municipal tax, (no fees, no rent on hangars that each owns privately).

On Tuesday, July 19, a crowd of Oshkosh travelers shows up for a pre-AirVenture get-together. Hamburgers on the grill, soda, good cheer and pleasant conversations abound. We are late in arriving on our way from Regina, and Jack Niema, spokesperson for the group and my contact are in almost constant cell phone contact as the miles around the Winnipeg perimeter road pass by. Suddenly a J-3 and a Pietenpol are circling our motor home, and announcing our arrival by Unicom to the guests at the airport. They now know our location - three miles; on the Fermour exit ramp; turning onto Murdock Rd. We arrive and are waved to a parking spot for overnight camping.

We meet the 15 or so persons, all planning to attend this year's convention, and enjoy the type of hospitality that only aeroplane and EAA AirVenture people share. We look at possibly the oldest homebuilt still flying in Canada; a Pietenpol built in 1933. We look at a pristine J-3 with an 85 Continental that was once owned by the legendary Max Conrad, and a myriad of other aircraft and building activities.

Fast-forward to Sunday, July 27, Camp Scholler at AirVenture. Behind the scenes, EAA staff provided an autographed photograph of Paul and Audrey for John Blackner, together with a congratulations letter from Tom. It reads, in part, expressing the appreciation of all of EAA for the type of commitment and support by John and folks just like him, for our love and passion of flight. John's friends provided a tribute of their love and respect for one member of their group and at this Scholler campsite, on this July 27, 2008, the EAA culture, love, and spirit of flight is expressed as John receives these gifts.

Editor's note: Perhaps a yearly recognition program could be developed, recognizing those Canadian EAA members that have a long history of attendance at EAA conventions. We could start with the 2009 AirVenture, (which will be of special interest to the Canadian Centennial of Flight). If you have attended 40 or more EAA conventions, or if you know of someone who has, I would like to hear from you at cgyrv@yahoo.com. - Jack Dueck

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