April 4, 2013 - The tight-knit EAA community helped bring 19-year-old Philipp Stute of Friedrichshafen, Germany, to the Kermit Weeks Flight Research Center in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, to work on EAA's B-17 Aluminum Overcast as a maintenance volunteer.
Since graduating at the top of his high school class last October, Philipp has been pursuing his goal of getting accepted to the Lufthansa Flight Training Center. He wants to be a commercial airline pilot - specifically on the Airbus 330.
But before any pilot training begins, Philipp wanted to take advantage of his free time to acquire more hands-on aviation experience, and what better place to do that than Oshkosh?
"I had a lot of time between the last exam I took and another coming in June, so I thought an internship or something like this would be good," Philipp said.
His father, Thomas Stute, EAA 1002820, reached out to his good friend and former EAA Chapter 1114 president Kent Misegades, EAA 520919, with hopes of finding temporary work for Philipp in the U.S. aviation community.
Shortly thereafter, Philipp arrived in the states as an eight-week volunteer at the Weeks Hangar. His timing couldn't have been better, as Aluminum Overcast has undergone some extensive work over the winter repairing damage from a hail storm last year. When Philipp arrived, the plane had some finishing touches that needed to be done before the start of the 2013 tour.
"I am doing some things in the [B-17's] interior," Philipp said. "All the guns were taken out, refurbished, and cleaned. I put them together and put them in again."
Philipp is not new to the world of aircraft repair. He interned with Regional Airline Association, working on aircraft line maintenance. He has also worked alongside his father on a rare wooden Klemm Kl 107C.
"My father has his own airplane and we do all the maintenance by ourselves," Philipp said. "You cannot compare it to the B-17, of course."
The father-son duo also hopes to one day build an airplane together, once Phillip completes his flight training.
This is Philipp's second visit to Oshkosh; he attended AirVenture last year and was able to experience the excitement of being a part of the EAA community. "It was really cool," Philipp said. "We camped the whole week."
Philipp is proud to have the opportunity to come to the United States and work on a World War II airplane. Asked what he has enjoyed the most, he readily answered, "Meeting all the people here who are all interested in aviation and like to work on the airplanes."
He'll fly back to Germany on May 1, but will return for AirVenture in July.