By Debbie Hersman
What a day it’s been at EAA AirVenture! I started the day with a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at all the work that goes into assuring safety for the 10,000 aircraft that fly in and out of Wittman Regional Airport as well as for overseeing the safe operations for the dozens of air show performers. Many thanks to Jim DiMatteo, Vice President of AirVenture Features and Attractions for the clear explanations.
Later, I had a great time talking with numerous aviation enthusiasts at AirVenture’s first-ever Meet the NTSB Chairman forum. We had a lively discussion and I hope the attendees gained a better understanding of the NTSB’s roles and responsibilities. I appreciated hearing about the issues facing the general aviation community and the candid exchange during the Q & A session.
A highlight of my day was a visit to KidVenture, which is a huge hands-on demonstration area and immense effort by scores of dedicated volunteers to share the excitement of aviation with our next generation. Or, with the Olympics coming up, maybe I should say to pass the torch of aviation enthusiasm! When KidVenture started they only had 2,000 visitors that first year. Last year, it was up to 25,000 young visitors and from what I saw today, I expect that number will continue to climb.
After KidVenture I spent time at the NTSB booth at the Federal Pavilion. You can find out more about the range of NTSB activities and involvement at EAA AirVenture 2012 on this website.
Tomorrow, I’ve got another busy day. In the morning, at 10:00 at the Honda Pavilion, I’ll be providing an overview of the NTSB’s recent study on the safety of experimental amateur-built aircraft. I am also looking forward to spending some time with the Air Boss to see what it takes to coordinate a major air show.