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Sun, Jul 20, 2008

Aero-News Proudly Introduces Our AirVenture 2008 Staff

Say Hello To Stringers Larry Stencel And Valentino Valencia!

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 Aviation Celebration.

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...

Larry Stencel

Joining ANN for the first time this year, Larry Stencel calls Palm Coast, FL and Wautoma, WI, near Oshkosh, home (can you spell "snowbird?")

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 time!

Valentino Valencia

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," Valentino says.

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.



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