Managing Multiple Organizations, Events and a Team at the Largest Airshow on Earth – EAA AirVenture

Shelair's unique aviation blog series.

Highlight

A blog post on how overwhelming, busy and rewarding attending EAA AirVenture is for our organization. A place where we take flight, promote scholarship opportunities, host events and bring new team members aboard the excitement! Let’s go!

BEHIND THE SCENES OF OUR OPERATION – EAA AIRVENTURE

Why is EAA AirVenture incredibly busy for us? What do we do all week? Are we successful? Is this rewarding or just work?

Having spent more than a decade attending and working EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh Wisconsin, there is not one time I’ve gone where I was just an attendee. Each year, it takes me over six months to plan all our activities that take place at the largest airshow in the world. While for many it’s an aviator’s paradise and playground. It’s a place to escape and run the grounds shopping for parts and supplies for your airplane, attending seminars and workshops, seeing the daily airshow.

For me and my company, we must lead, perform, get our hands dirty, really do the heavy lifting! I always tease my fellow aviators and friends “oh look at you lounging and relaxing” or “must be nice to sit there and have a beer late in the day,” or even “go to SOS brothers and party? What is that party word you speak of?” For us, the fun is all around us. While we do work hard, we carve out time to spend quality time as a team, do one night of gathering, we even get to fly on the very airplanes our company is supporting all week.

Anniversary of FunD Av Consulting

Most people see us going in so many different directions that entire week: managing radio shows and press conferences for clients, supporting a booth under the wing of a historic DC-3, aiding all our DC-3 crews of the D-Day Squadron, meetings for NBAA Leadership Council and YoPro events, engaging with youth to support STEM and aviation outreach, even hosting WWII veterans that are few and far between. 


Sheltair's Andy Castro - Lyndse - Lou at LAL for SNF

How do some of us get to the show? Well, for Jennifer and me, we help fly and crew C-47 “Miss Virginia” of Dynamic Aviation. We are blessed to live close to this aircraft, load supplies and expo items the day before, overnight in Bridgewater VA and away we go by 0700 Sunday morning before AirVenture! Arriving in style aboard this beauty is always a treat. Dynamic Aviation is a big sponsor of our DC-3 Society, allowing us to exhibit at the aircraft in vintage all week. Plus, they help with supplies, logistics, and manpower. An amazing company with even more outstanding people.

Shetlair's Zakeer - Winner of Liberty Flight

Sleep? Yes, of course! We sleep, and NO, we do not camp. I refuse! I do not know how folks camp at that show. It’s way too hot, there are random storms and crazy weather. It can be miserable. But hey, to each their own. Our team rents an Airbnb house all week. We make sure to have the best of the amenities – a pool is a must! Most of us are healthier eaters, so it allows us to prepare food each day. Some may think this is ridiculous, BUT, it keeps our bodies going all week. For as much as we do, it can be intense, stressful, overwhelming at times. Here’s the thing though – I would not change it for the world. I work and perform best under pressure, stress. Some of my best work comes as a result. 

 

Sheltair's Dynamic Aviation Hangar.
Sheltair's Flying Miss Virginia C-47

The team. This year, we had the BEST team ever. They are the highlight of this blog because, without them, the volume of events, flying, booth presence and media we had at this year’s show would not have happened without them. These amazing people do not get paid to aid everything we do during the show. They come forward and support on their own accord, for good will, to give back. Thank you: Jennifer Thomas, Cassandra Bosco, Allyssa VanMeter, Bryan Fusfield, Lauren Roberts, Jessica Belcher, Kevin Carter, Hannah McLaughlin, Sean Stoltz, Angela Decker, Peyton Stikeleather, and Gage Altrock. You killed it, team!

 

56th Fighter Group
Jessica Lyndse Lauren celebrating.

Offering flight scholarships? You got it! We kicked off a new opportunity by I Hart Flying Foundation (IHFF) called “Hands Lift, Harts Propel, a Nation Delivers, supported by veteran partners Immaculate Flight, Sheltair Aviation, AEG Fuels and new partner, Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE). We had an opportunity to launch more than $40,000 being offered in flight training scholarships for women plus industry packages, pilot supplies and equipment at a press conference and live on EAA Radio with several former Hart Scholars! Both Hart Scholars, Kristin Brooks and Allison Schlotthauer, in addition to industry partners, Aerox, Bose Aviation and Flying Magazine helped us launch this new themed scholarship offering, as part of IHFF’s H.A.N.D. Campaign, during EAA AirVenture.

IHFF

The next blog will cover IHFF’s presence in Denver Colorado for several special events, supported by IHFF’s partners, Sheltair and FlyteCo Tower.

 

EAA Radio.

Flying a two-ship DC-3 formation flight! Toward the end of the week at EAA AirVenture, we worked hard to organize a memorable formation flight in our D-Day Squadron aircraft. Some are photo flights with a T-6, and some are just our historic Gooneybirds, or as the British refer, Dakotas.

Sean Stoltz.

My job is to manifest vetted media, DC-3 Society members and VIPs to available seats for a chance to witness something spectacular – something money cannot buy! This year, we had 22 passengers who had a BLAST and received quite the nostalgic experience aboard Vaerus Jet Sales C-47, and the flagship C-47 that’s going to, once again, lead a large mission back to Europe in 2024, Placid Lassie. 

Media Flight Group.
Group picture with Hamilton.

Back to Europe? What do you mean? That’s right, we are deep in the planning for the D-Day Squadron’s 2024 Legacy Tour, commemorating DDay80 and Berlin75. There is much more information and ways to get involved on the website: https://www.ddaysquadron.org/2024-legacy-tour. Just as Sheltair is a partner to the DC-3 Society and D-Day Squadron, others can get involved too! These aircraft and crews are currently preparing to spend more than 45 days on the road, in the air and for what may be the last time we bring these flying museums across the pond. As we highlighted this mission at EAA AirVenture late July, we also joined efforts with EAA and the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) to host 101 years young WWII veteran David Hamilton for several days at the show. Dave turned 101 on July 20, so it was only appropriate to make the airshow a celebration for Dave! And boy it was.

DC-3 Society Event Attendees.

We made our annual DC-3 Society member and partner gathering Dave’s birthday party as well. Dave had a blast and I think the photos speak volume. It’s rare we get to have such quality time with WWII veterans. And for Dave, it was memorable for sure. He’s the last living C-47 Pathfinder pilot from the D-Day invasion. During the two days at AirVenture, he was part of several engagements in the WWII encampment, with the CAF at their tent and led the ‘Salute to Veterans’ parade from warbirds to Boeing plaza. Our lead for the squadron’s Young Historians Program, Kevin Carter, had the distinct opportunity to interview Dave at the CAF tent – a unique moment for both Dave and Kevin. It was incredible! 

Dynamic and FlyteCo group photo with Hamilton.
YHP Kevin Carter with Dave Hamilton.

There’s NO shortage of excitement during EAA AirVenture, but we have to put in the work. FunD Av’s team continues to grow year after year supporting this show. If interested in taking part in our adventures of AirVenture, reach out!

Top of Miss Virginia.

Check out this 2-ship formation of C-47s during EAA AirVenture: D-Day Squadron Formation Flight at EAA AirVenture 2023

Placid Lassie by Sean Stoltz.

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As I advance this themed monthly blog with Sheltair, you will become more intimately involved in special projects FAC has oversight. Some of these, just to give a teaser, involve WWII aircraft, a presidential aircraft restoration, global flight missions, female flight training scholarships, and more! FAC is now a team of 10 and growing. We love to have fun, we all enjoy the freedom of flight, engaging with industry, and supporting this sector with everything we have. We invite you to learn more about us here: FunDAvConsulting.com

Stay tuned for the sequel late August blog!