Note to EAA Chapters
By Paul H. Poberezny
It has been quite an education - the EAA college of education - all 55 years of it! Every day has been a wonderful experience and we have learned more about people than the many aspects of aviation and the airplane. I would not trade the many friendships formed and shared for any amount of money.
In reading EAA Chapter newsletters for many years, I've seen chapter leaders pass through this same education process.the people they serve, the joys and the challenges of holding their groups together. And sometimes the disappointments: the failure of chapter support or even (rarely) its leadership, either of which is not uncommon with any such social groups.
Having attended hundreds of chapter events over these past 55 years, there are many stories to tell.for example, Salt Lake City EAA Chapter 23 where I was asked to speak. My transportation was a Wisconsin Air Guard Lockheed T-33 jet aircraft, which provided a fast flight. The event was well attended and some of the early day airplane homebuilders were there: Ron Conrad, Earl Player and others, as well as a number of FAA supporters of EAA's efforts. At that meeting, the local FAA folks had a present for me. It was noticed that I had been jumping around the country quite a bit on behalf of our EAA movement and they thought a pogo stick would be the correct, improved way, rather than a T-33 jet.
The pogo stick, complete with a full instrument panel, was presented to the amusement of the audience and the honor bestowed upon me. The next morning, with the pogo stick secured in the back seat of the T-33, it was the longest and fastest hop it ever made! We still have it and it will be on display in the EAA Founders Library along with many other items and artifacts of your organization that we've saved over the past 55 years.
I am proud of the great accomplishments of the EAA Chapter Program. From the very first - Chapter 1 in Riverside, California, back in late 1953, and the leadership Ray Stits provided then and even to this day. Also, the financial support that he and others have recently provided to the EAA Founders Gallery, which is scheduled to be unveiled during the 2009 EAA AirVenture Fly-In Convention here in Oshkosh.
What a wonderful family! It has been a privilege to know you all.
Editor's note: There are many wonderful stories, letters, photographs and artifacts, in Paul and Audrey's collection that will be shared in the Founders Wing. Our impact as an organization grew from the culture and camaraderie developed within our membership and chapters, a culture of volunteerism, helping one another, innovation, a can-do attitude and a belief that dreams could be achieved. Visit www.eaa.org/founderswing/ to learn more about the Founders Wing project.