Stories of Oshkosh — John Puent

To celebrate 50 consecutive years of fly-in conventions in Oshkosh, we’re featuring Stories of Oshkosh told by attendees remembering their special moments at EAA’s long-standing home. If you or someone you know would like to share your own story of Oshkosh, email

The first time John Puent, EAA 43711, went to an EAA fly-in convention was 1968 in Rockford, Illinois, when he was 28 years old.

“Somebody told me you could build your own airplane,
so of course I had to go to Rockford to find out, and sure enough, you can
build your own airplane,” John said. “It really just turned my crank that you
could build your own airplane particularly out of wood. It was just amazing to

John was hooked, particularly on the Piel Emeraude and
the Piel Diamant airplanes.

“I met a fella from Massachusetts at [Rockford in
1968] that had a Piel Diamant and [he] was kind enough to give me a ride
because I was building one at the time,” John said. “That was my first time in
an airplane.”

 Since then,
John has missed only one EAA fly-in in his lifetime, in 1969.

“It’s been such a great experience,” John said. “You
meet such nice people … really, really nice people. I just love it. We got good
friends that I like to see every year and people that like to camp with us. It
kind of just gets in your blood, if you go for all these years; you just can’t
really let it go.”

John said he particularly enjoys seeing the ultralights year after year, having built a Fisher 101 himself. Although, one of his favorite memories is time spent with family at AirVenture.

“We would bring our three kids to AirVenture, and they
would run up to each airplane, and I had to lift each of the kids so they could
look inside,” John recalled.

John started volunteering for EAA in 1970 on the
rock-fence crew. Though he no longer volunteers, John continues to support EAA
through his local chapter, EAA 100, in Rochester, Minnesota. John said he is
planning on coming back to celebrate the 50th anniversary at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Thank you to all of our members who have and continue
to support EAA and The Spirit of Aviation.

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