Jeff Brown of Boise, Idaho, flew his Glasair Sportsman into EAA AirVenture Oshkosh with his father, where AirVenture Today found him in Homebuilt aircraft camping. Jeff, a retired U.S. Air Force C-130 pilot, built his Sportsman with his father at the factory’s Two Weeks to Taxi program in 2016. This is their third trip to Oshkosh in the airplane. Jeff spent 25 years in the Air Force, and his father spent 26 years in the U.S. Army, resulting in an annual family wager on a certain football game. Something about a bottle of whiskey.
Jeff said when he retired from the Air Force as commander of the 317th Airlift Wing at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, he really wasn’t looking to get into general aviation. An experience while driving changed that, as he watched a Van’s RV zip by and something inside of him clicked.
After some research, Jeff chose the Sportsman because he wanted an aircraft that is multipurpose and could fly in the Idaho backcountry as well as cruise well on cross-country flights. It cruises at 130 knots with big tires installed for the rugged bush strips in Idaho. Jeff wanted an experimental aircraft instead of a certified aircraft “because of price and avionics.” He said he had a “great experience building it at the Two Weeks to Taxi program.”
Jeff and his father left Boise on Thursday morning and stayed overnight in Rapid City, South Dakota, with an old Air Force buddy and had a quartering tailwind the whole way with no weather problems. In the small world of aviation, he met the father of a friend by sheer coincidence at the New Lisbon, Wisconsin, airport during a fuel stop, also on his way to Oshkosh in an RV-14.
Jeff said this year’s Fisk arrival was easy because he came early. There was a line of aircraft, but it was manageable. He and his father came in through the Endeavor Bridge arrival with no hold required.
The Browns join thousands of other homebuilders at this year’s family reunion, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh!