August 3, 2013
By Alyssa J. Miller
For such a health-conscious demographic as pilots whose ability to continue their passion or career depends on good health, airshows that target aviators are some of the unhealthiest attractions.
But at this year’s EAA AirVenture, pilots are participating in more active events and have options for healthier foods, although the mainstays are burgers, bratwursts, fries, and cheese curds.
The Experimental Aircraft Association offers the Runway 5K Run/Walk during the show. This year, 696 participants lined up at 7 a.m. Aug. 3 to run around the south end of the airport and along Perimeter Road. Bruce and Anne Douglas of Appleton, Wis., have participated in the run each year since they had to push their children in strollers. Saturday, they ran as a family with Theo, 11, and Stella, 13.
A daily morning aerobics class was offered at the Theater in the Woods for those wanting to kickstart their day. Morning activities have been popping up at other aviation events too. Patty Wagstaff noted Aug. 2 during a Women in Aviation Connect breakfast at Oshkosh that a group did yoga each morning at the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In and Expo in Lakeland, Fla., this year, and hopes to offer something similar at an October WAI event in Prescott, Ariz. AOPA offers morning exercises at its annual Aviation Summit.
While more EAA AirVenture attendees are engaging in activities like the 5K, according to the Douglas family, healthy food options have seen a “minimal uptick.” “Subway was an upgrade,” Anne said of the chain restaurant becoming a vendor at AirVenture. Attendees can find grilled chicken, pasta, rice, chicken Caesar salad, turkey or salmon sandwiches, fruit yogurt, and other low-fat options. Even though healthy foods are offered, they aren’t always the first choice, even among the health-conscious group.
“We ordered a pizza last night, and they delivered it to the camp site,” Anne said with a laugh. (The family is camping with their 1947 Seabee.) Pilots at the show who tout making their own fruit smoothies and drinking wheat grass shots to boost their metabolism might frown on the dinner choice, but pizza’s still healthier than what’s being served up at Camp Bacon (you guessed it, bacon) located in the Camp Scholler grounds.
It seems pilots’ tastes vary as much as the aircraft they fly to the airshows.
AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Miller has worked at AOPA since 2004 and is an active flight instructor.
Women in Aviation International,
Experimental Aircraft Association,
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