August 7, 2013
By Thomas A. Horne
This year’s annual EAA Gathering of Eagles fundraising dinner was yet another success, raising a total of $2.49 million from its raucous, fast-paced auction. Hundreds of items were up for bid, both in a silent auction and a not-so-silent, well-produced public one.
A five-day trip to Switzerland to fly as wingman with Jetman Yves Rossy—and to fly in his two-seat Hawker Hunter fighter—went for $100,000. The winning bid to hang out, fly, and play golf with airshow legend Sean D. Tucker was $110,000. But the high point of the event, as always, was the auctioning of a very special, glass-roofed, 5.0-liter, supercharged 600-horsepower 2014 Ford Mustang done up with 22-inch wheels and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds markings and logos. The winning bidder paid a whopping $398,000 for the Mustang.
Speaking of Tucker, the aerobatic star was named the new honorary chairman of the EAA’s Young Eagles program. He succeeds Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and Jeff Skiles—the crew that safely ditched an Airbus in the Hudson River after suffering a bird-ingestion-induced double engine failure. The Young Eagles program encourages volunteer pilots to give first flights to teenagers.
This summer I attended what is now called EAA AirVenture for the twenty-fourth time—20 in a row.
The 24-cent airmail stamp with the inverted Jenny, originally issued May 10, 1918, was scheduled to be reissued as a $2 stamp.
EAA AirVenture is traditionally viewed as a showcase for the lighter end of general aviation, with the emphasis on the Experimental, amateur-built category.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.