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Timeless Voices Program Shines Light on Aviation Stories

By Ti Windisch

July 27, 2017 - While EAA always has an eye toward the future of aviation, the past is what laid the groundwork for everything that’s happening, and everything that will happen. That’s why Timeless Voices of Aviation, an oral history project launched in 2002, is dedicated to preserving tales of the past, delivered by the folks who lived them.

“It’s a program that is preserving the legacies and stories of these people,” said Chris Henry, EAA’s museum programs representative. “It’s their oral histories.”

Timeless Voices became reality during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2002, when interviews were conducted in the chaplain’s office, and 48 people got to share their stories. In March 2003, Zack Baughman, a former intern who worked on Timeless Voices in 2002, was hired full-time to work with the program.

Zack’s hard work helped AirVenture 2003 become the most productive convention for Timeless Voices, as more than 100 interviews were conducted across three studios over the course the week. These days the program averages around 50 interviews each AirVenture.

To-date, Zack, Chris, and other volunteers and employees have interviewed around 1,300 people total for this ongoing project.

Many of those interviewees are World War II veterans, which was and is a focus of Timeless Voices of Aviation. But anyone with aviation experience -- including military aviators, mechanics, air traffic controllers, aircraft designers, builders and restorers, flight instructors, writers, air show performers, administrators, airport and FBO operators, airline employees, and so many more --  are encouraged to come tell their story.

A tent is set up near the Warbirds Area this year for anyone interested in signing up for a Timeless Voices recording session. Shuttles are available to ferry interviewees to the recording studio.

Some of the Apollo astronauts coming to AirVenture will share their stories for Timeless Voices, but just because astronauts are participating, that doesn’t exclude  everyday, general aviation folks who have also contributed to the development of aviation in their local communities. The banner slogan of the program is “Let No Story Go Untold,” after all.

For more information on the Timeless Voices program, including how to watch the interviews online, and how to share your own story, visit www.EAA.org/timelessvoices

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