Unedited copy as submitted for the Aug 2, 2003 issue of Airventure Today.
Around the Field
by Jack Hodgson

Waco fans, and a gang from Slobovia Outernational.

Jim Beisner is a character. One of those feisty, fun, friendly EAA characters that you meet if you talk to lots of people here each year.

Jim and his cohorts, Tim Pinkerton and Janet Barnard, are from Troy, Ohio. "The birthplace of the Waco biplane", they are quick to point out.

The threesome arrived to EAA AirVenture 2003 in a pair of planes, a 1961 Cessna 172 and a 1961 Piper. They stopped on the way here at Morris, Illinois, the airport that used to be run by Frank and Sylvia Trofimchuck who we met yesterday.

"It has a really great restaurant," says Jim. "That's one of the most important parts of an airport."

Jim has been attending the EAA fly-in since its days in Rockford, Tim is attending his 5th AirVenture and Janet is here for the first time.

"It's just awesome," she says. "You see all the airplane, and to be with all the pilots, is great."

She especially likes the Waco biplane. "I like the open cockpit and history of it. It's big and substantial. And I like to think about the barnstorming era and what that must have been like."

Wacos are a big part of this gang's flying world. Jim and Tim are in the process of restoring one. They got is as a wreck and are gradually getting it back in shape.

"We're ahead of schedule," reports Jim. "We don't have a schedule. But if we did, we'd be ahead of it." Remember I said he's the smart aleck.

"We got the Waco from a guy in New Hampshire who had landed it in a tree," continues Jim. "That's a bad thing. Not so good for the tree either."

As if attending AirVenture every year, and restoring the Waco don't keep them busy enough, all three are teachers at a aviation summer camp for kids.

"We try to cover the whole history of flight," says Tim. "The kids fly kites, and ride in a hot air balloon. Then they do gliders, powered planes, and even rockets and radio controlled planes. We finish the whole thing with a Young Eagles rally."

They call the camp simply, "The Waco Summer Camp" and it's held at Waco Field in Troy. This is the 6th summer they held it, and it consists of about 20 4th through 8th graders.

Tim and Jim are members of Vintage Chapter 36.

Frank Garletts and his family are visiting AirVenture from their home in Pocahontas, Mississippi, near Jackson. They made the trip this year in their Cessna 182.

With Frank is his wife Tammie and his two youngest kids Julia, 4, and Francis, 16 months. They have two other kids, an 18 year-old daughter and a 19 year-old son, who have attended the fly-in in the past but couldn't get off work this summer.

Even the girls are AirVenture vets. Francis was here last year for her first time at age 4 months, and Julia is here for her third time.

The Garletts live in an aiport community in Pocahontas that's called the Slobovia Outernational Aerodrome. It's a 4,800 foot grass strip. There are 12 homes and about 20 planes based on the field.

"My wife's letting me live my dream," says Frank.

Frank's been a pilot for 11 years, and has owned the 182 for 9. He attended his first AirVenture a few years ago with his son, who was 16 then.

"When I first arrived I didn't want to pitch my tent, I just wanted to watch the airplanes," he says. "The Bonanza group was just coming in and I was amazed by all the planes."

This year the girls are enjoying the youth-oriented activities like KidVenture and the Crafts Tents. Julia especiallu liked the Nesquick bunny.

Frank is a member of the EAA Chapter at Hawkings Field in Jackson. He recently hosted a group of 42 Chapter planes to a cookout at Slobovia Outernational.

Franks not building a plane right now, but he has his eye on the RV-10.

"This seems to be a really big year. I arrived the same day as last year, and now I'm parked 50 rows further south."

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