Buy a Brick at AirVenture

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The Experimental Aircraft Association was start by Paul Poberezny in 1953.   Over the years, their annual convention and airshow has moved from Hales Corner, Wisconsin to Rockford, Illinois. In 1970, the event moved to its current location in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

The event has changed over the years. Today, admission grants you access to the entire event. In the past, there were different levels of access. The general public could only get into the event to see the static displays. To get past the “fence”, you needed to be an EAA member or hold a pilot’s license. Generally going past the fence involved, walking under the “Brown Arch”. Today, the fence is gone but the arch and its gateway are still there.

It’s probably impossible to even begin to count the number of people who have walked under the arch. My best estimate would be well over 1 million people have walked under the Brown Arch which is the symbolic gateway to the world’s greatest aviation event.

The EAA has started selling tribute “bricks” around the Brown Arch.   The slabs are really large and really don’t resemble the “bricks” that would come into your mind. You can purchase a whole slab, a half or even a quarter. With a whole slab you can select its location. Bricks are for sale annually through mid June for placement in July.

I bought one for my father Charles Hrutkay, who was a pilot and mechanic for USAir. He died at work of a heart attack the night before we were to leave for AirVenture 1996. That was one of the few years we missed. I can’t even count the number of times we went to Oshkosh. It was really the only family vacation we ever went on. Even mom went to the show. Years later my son Greg and I annually appear here for the event. A whole brick for my father was a fitting tribute, especially a location he had walked by countless times during his life.

When I got to AirVenture this year, I went down to the Brown Arch and looked for dad’s brick. As I looked, I noticed others walking around reading inscriptions on bricks. It looks like a popular place to be. The brick was impressive and was well up to the high standards espoused by the EAA. I’m happy, the investment was well worth it.

If you have a family member or friend who has an interest in aviation, this is an exceptional opportunity to make a tribute to them that countless people will see in the future. The number of bricks is limited to only 3000.

I’d also like to thank Robin Kasel Manager of EAA’s Donor Development, as well as Dick Knapinski, EAA Senior Communications Advisor for making this story possible.

Information on the “Brown Arch Project”, where you can learn more or buy a brick is at http://flyin.airventure.org/arch

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You can contact the author Mark Hrutkay at TNMark1@GMail.Com.

 

 

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Mark Hrutkay

Mark has been a member of the International Association of Aviation Photographers (ISAP) for several years and attends all their events and seminars. He has won several awards for his work and has been published in several aviation magazines, domestic and foreign. You can contact Mark Hrutkay at TNMark@Me.Com.

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