A Challenging Summer – Hangar Flying | Aviation

By George Karamitis, EAA 144192.

This piece originally ran in the December 2023 issue of EAA Sport Aviation magazine.

Folks, I am feeling both sad and reflective. I want to share with you these two intense feelings I have experienced during the past few months. The first reason for my feelings is that I was unable to attend this year’s AirVenture. The second reason is the possibility that I would not be able to fly again.

First, let me talk about my absence from EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2023. It was only the third time that I would miss the big EAA convention, what is now called AirVenture. Both of the previous times were the result of being a junior pilot on the TWA seniority list, which means I was unable to bid for that particular time off. It did not take long for me to realize that seniority is everything within an airline, as my fellow airline pilots understand.

However, this time the reason was medical. I went through a lower back surgical procedure on July 24, which resulted in the placement of rods and pins in my spine. I was in no shape to make it to AirVenture.

Lying and thrashing around in a hospital bed when I really should have been at AirVenture is a gut-wrenching experience. Yes, I was down in the dumps. Remember I said I was being reflective? Well, I was thinking about being 82 years of age, so it isn’t rocket science as to the number of AirVentures that I may have left.

Not being able to attend this year’s AirVenture hurt me in two specific ways. First, it’s the person-to-person contact that I missed the most. Over the many years of attending this big event, I have come in contact and shaken hands with many interesting people. Long-term friendships have been established.

Second, is going home. You see, the whole area is my old stomping ground. I was raised just 20 miles to the west in Berlin, Wisconsin. I am familiar with the roads in and around Wittman Regional Airport. When I received my September…

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