Say Hello To Stringers Larry Stencel And Valentino
With the final days before the official start to EAA AirVenture
2008 counting down all too rapidly... and, not quickly enough...
ANN's senior staff is all-too-aware of the Herculean task ahead of
us in reporting EVERYTHING that's news at The World's Greatest
Fortunately, this year we'll have some help... and some really
GREAT help at that. Over the next several days, we thought we'd
take the time to introduce you to the staff members -- both
full-time, as well as our "stringers" -- who will be bringing our
readers and listeners all the news from Oshkosh that's fit to
pixilate, orate and videotape this year.
And now, without further ado...
Joining ANN for the first time this year, Larry Stencel calls
Palm Coast, FL and Wautoma, WI, near Oshkosh, home (can you spell
Larry is a retired USAF Senior NCO who entered service during
the late 60’s. After a few years in SAC maintaining
B-58’s and B-52’s, he decided to make the Air Force his
career and spent the next 16 years supporting aircraft flight
testing at Edwards AFB, CA. He considers his involvement with the
F-16 European Test and Evaluation team and long time as NCOIC of
the flight test instrumentation group as the highlights of his Air
Force service time at Edwards.
Retiring from the USAF in 1988, Larry started a second career as
an engineer with the Northrop Aircraft Co. on the B-2 bomber
program at Pico Rivera and Palmdale, CA. After 12 years working the
B-2, he moved on to Northrop Grumman’s St. Augustine, FL
facility supporting Navy test programs from flight test operations.
Retiring a second time in 2006, he is now on his third year
enjoying summers in Wisconsin and winters in Florida.
Larry has been flying since 1971 and possesses commercial single
and multi engine land, single engine sea and instrument ratings as
well as an A&P license. He owns and maintains a Cessna 172 and
a Piper PA28 and flies from St. Augustine, FL and Wautoma, WI. In
1986, he was one of the many volunteers who helped put the Voyager
aircraft around the world nonstop as a member of Voyager Mission
Control at Mojave.
Larry holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Vocational Education
from Southern Illinois University and an Associate’s Degree
in Electronics Engineering Technology from the Community College of
the USAF. He also holds a California Teaching Credential for
Aircraft subject matter and has taught A&P classes at the
junior college level.
AirVenture 2008 will be the 26th Oshkosh fly-in Larry has
attended since 1977. Needless to say, he’s seen a lot of
changes in both aviation and the EAA convention during this
Valentino's story is one a lot of pilots may relate to. He's the
father of two boys and a husband of 14 years. As a child, his
passion for aviation started way before the movie "Top Gun" came
out. However, life happens and priorities change... but sometimes,
they change back.
When his eldest son was five years old, Valentino attempted to
give him the 'you can do anything you want to do and, be anything
you want to be' speech. At the end of the conversation, his son
asked him, "What did you want to be when you grew up?"
So Valentino told him, "I wanted to be a pilot." To which
Valentino's son replied, "So why aren't you a pilot?"
"Although I should have seen it coming, this question stopped me
dead in my tracks, and I could not think of an answer for him,"
So he decided to practice what he preached and set the example.
Valentino went back to school, and get his degree and his ratings.
Four years later, and he had a degree from Embry-Riddle in
professional aeronautics and had acquired his CFII. Although the
decision caused considerable financial hardships for Valentino and
his family, "the pride my son has in me was worth the cost."
Valentino instructed at a local flight school in Tuscon -- "the
pay was lousy, but the experience was priceless" -- and today he's
gainfully employed with a unmanned aircraft manufacturer,
instructing military pilots.