From Rockford to Oshkosh – Hangar Flying | Aviation


Story and Photography by Kaitlin Piette

Dave and Wanda Clark live in the suburbs of Indianapolis and have been attending EAA conventions since 1969, when it was still based in Rockford, Illinois, and out of all those years, only missed three or four. They both volunteer for EAA, with Dave having 40 years and Wanda clocking in about 30 years volunteering. 

In the beginning, Dave flew in with his Aeronca Chief and camped in a tent with his friend under the wing of the airplane, while Wanda stayed home taking care of the kids. For 16 years, Dave taught aviation maintenance at Vincennes University in Indiana, and being friends with Paul Poberezny, one year gave his students the experience of practicing what they were learning by helping to build a wing rib for Paul’s airplane, the Baby Ace. Dave had all the students sign their name on the wing, which are still there to this day, and claimed that after being given the wing for his airplane, Paul kissed the wing, smiled, and thanked Dave.

Dave has been involved in the Vintage area since it opened, and many of the changes that have helped Vintage be what it is today are because of him. In 45 years, Dave went from judge to chief of judges, to board director for 20 years, and finally, vice president of Vintage. During this time, he was able to create the type club forum and youth activi-ties where kids learn to use tools. He is now a Vintage board member emeritus. 

Dave and Wanda mentioned that when they were trying to find a name for Vintage, the original name was Tall Pines because of the area’s trees. Even though they moved to the area it’s in now and called it Vintage, the Tall Pines Café, chaired by Steve Nesse, keeps the past alive.

Dave and Wanda celebrated their 50th wedding anni-versary 15 years ago in this area, where they offered French toast, which has since been a big seller for the café, along with the original breakfast staple, pancakes. In July, they celebrated their 65th anniversary here…

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