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Gathering of Eagles - Experimental Aviation Association AirVenture
This year’s Young Eagle event rose nearly $2 million. EAA youth educational program offers an opportunity to fly for free of charge and all made possible because of generous EAA members and their donations. Jack Pelton, EAA Chairman set the stage of the gala to pay tribute to the legendary Paul H. Poberezny, EAA Founder, who had spent his entire life promoting aviation. Mr. Poberezny built his livelihood on the concept of family and brought them all together under one wing, creating a community of aviators. During the gala, a video clip of Mr. Poberezny was presented offering an endearing quote, “As a result of EAA, I have become a millionaire, because I have a million friends through aviation.” To lighten the mood a mock Airbus with Jeff Skiles waited patiently in the dunk tank for the auction to begin. Jeff commented, “Who put ice cubes in here?” The winner was Clay Presley, a passenger of Flight 1549, famously known as the “Miracle on the Hudson.” He and his wife pushed the button sending the pilot into the drink EAA acquired Michelle Rouch’s artwork, titled “Airshow” to be auctioned off during the Gathering of Eagles Gala. The original artwork is an oil painting enhanced with abstraction. Inspired by Sean D. Tucker’s powerful energetic aerobatics, the painting depicts a corkscrew maneuver as Sean D. Tucker ascends upward, flying in the Team Oracle Challenger III biplane over Oshkosh’s Wittman Regional Airport.
EAA AirVenture honored the Veterans and Women Airforce Service Pilot (WASP) this year. The commemorative float called “Our Eyes are on the Stars,” paraded with a total of eight WASPs. The message of the float taught people their history, the 38 pilots killed during the war, and the WASP legacy. Pictured from Left to Right are Bee Haydu, Liz Strohfus, and Millicent Young.
Firework artist or orchestrator, Dion Diehl of DTG Pyrotechnics canvased the sky with his synchronized music and firework show to the crowd during the Night Air Show, paying a special tribute to Paul H. Poberezny.
In 2014 Michelle Rouch was nominated for the Arizona Governor's Arts Awards and she also received first place with Elishka Jepson for the AIAA Harry Staubs STEM K-12 Outreach Award. Last January she provided a presentation at AIAA SciTech 2014 in Washington DC on how she combines engineering and the arts for 8-9-10 year olds. She is a Committee Chair for her son's Boy Scouts Troop and also a Congressional Award Advisor for Youth. The past 5 years her art has raised nearly $100,000 to support kids in STEM.