Pedaling Their Tails Off — PedalVenture Goes for Guinness World Record

By Kayla Floyd

The PedalVenture parade took place
down Celebration Way on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in an attempt to set a new Guinness
World Record for the largest gathering for a pedal-powered model plane parade.

The previous record was 31 pedal
planes, while the goal this year was to go above and beyond with 61 pedal
planes involved and organized by Ron Peterson. Ron said that like many of the
airplanes on the field, pedal planes often come in kit form.

“Pedal planes are sold in kits; you
either can buy the plans for the plane or buy the materials with it as well,”
Ron said. “They are for children aged 3-7 years old and they are all pedal
powered. They work a lot like a tricycle but they are made up to look like
antique aircraft.”

When discussing the parade and the
potential world record Ron said, “We are very excited for it. We think we have
the numbers.” But the world record is more than just the number of planes, Ron

“We have to have 50 airplanes
successfully complete the parade route, which is a kilometer long, and on a hot
day for a 5ish-year-old kid that is a very long distance,” he said. “There are
also rules about the spacing required for it. They can’t be more than two
vehicle lengths apart, so 8 or 9 feet apart. So we are looking for a very tight
formation from novice 6-year-old pilots so what could ever go wrong, right? We
were a little surprised when we found out all the restrictions for it.”

Ron still had high hopes for the
parade and was excited to see the turnout. “We are expecting 57 planes to come
to the parade. The first count was higher, but we lost seven planes due to the
weather that kept owners from bringing them.”

While the attempt to set the record went well, the official
ruling has not been released yet.

Pedal Plane History

Pedal-powered planes are simply designed, and EAA was honored to have the wife of the original pedal plane designer, Marvin Hoppenworth, at the event. Marvin passed away last year but his wife, Cathy Hoppenworth, was thrilled to be at the event.

“I am very excited to be here! My husband got the idea of a pedal
plane one night and started doing the drawings for them,” Cathy said. “He built
just one at first and got kids to sit in it, and ride in it, to check it out.
He drew up more patterns and advertised through EAA, and suddenly we were
getting a lot of mail and a lot of phone calls.”

The advertising through EAA and other events brought popularity
quickly to the small planes. “We would take the planes to conventions and
airports to get more people to see them,” Cathy said. “I would fold plans, and
friends would come over to fold plans, too. When we first brought it to Oshkosh,
people loved it. We had quite a following even right from the beginning. It
just kept getting more and more busy.”

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