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EAA Chapter One’s Annual Open House Fly-In

Gathering at historic Flabob Airport definitely a bucket list item

Some of the most fascinating experimental aircraft were hatched at Flabob, including the Avions Caudron C.460 replica on display in 2008.

The historic relevance of EAA’s first chapter goes without saying. The first chapter gathering was held in 1953, when Ray Stits and a number of close friends and fellow homebuilding enthusiasts met at FlabobAirport in Riverside, California. Everyone’s bucket list should include at least one visit to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh as well as Chapter One’s open house at Flabob. Not that the two are comparable in scope, but the history of Flabob and Chapter One makes this an event that every hardcore homebuilder should experience at least once, an activity along the lines of visiting Kitty Hawk.

EAA Chapter One’s open house is an event not to be missed. Gyrocopter guru Jay Carter Jr. of CarterCopter will be the featured speaker at the Gala Banquet which will cap off a day of festivities at this year’s event, slated for Saturday, September 25, 2010, at historic Flabob Airport.

Nesmith Cougar
You never know what might show up at Flabob. Roadable aircraft might be all the buzz these days, but here’s an example that’s been around a while – a Nesmith Cougar with a retractable drive pod. Note that the mains are stearable.

The day will kick off with a pancake breakfast from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. Entertaining and educational forums will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Forum speakers will include aerobatic pilot/lawyer/pastor/engineer Rob “The Tumbling Bear” Harrison, inventor and flight surgeon Dr. Sam Puma, Joe Horvath of Revmaster Aviation, Paul Lipps (Elippse propeller) William Wynne (The Corvair Authority), Al Gietzen with his three-rotor Mazda powered Velocity, and Pat Panzera, the editor of CONTACT! Magazine and EAA’s Experimenter. Plans are underway for an afternoon of exciting forums with a focus on alternative engines.

Mazda powered Velocity
Al Gietzen's three-rotor Mazda powered Velocity is an engineering triumph by any measure

Many unusual and unique aircraft will be on display throughout the day. There will be food and aviation-related vendors and plenty of hangar flying. Attendance for the event is free as always, but tickets for the catered banquet are $20 and can be purchased by contacting Kathy Rohm at 951-683-2309, extension 104.

Some visiting planes from past events:

Dave Leonard’s turbocharged Mazda rotary-powered RV-6

Luscombe-Silvaire Aircraft Company Inc.

Naval Aircraft Factory N3N-3 “I yam what I yam”

Special light-sport aircraft will be well represented. A-22 Valor

Carter will speak about his slowed rotor/compound aircraft technology which is being used to design a vertical takeoff and landing gyrocopter that will have top speeds up to 500 mph. He’ll join a distinguished list of banquet speakers at Chapter One that in the past few years has included Burt Rutan, Paul MacCready, Clay Lacy, and Major General Pat Halloran.

Carter CCTD
Original Carter CCTD which slowed the rotor to 106 rpm at 170 mph, achieving an advance ratio (µ) of 1:1 and a lift-to-drag ratioof 7:1.

Flabob Airport has a long history in homebuilt aviation, and many famous aircraft were designed and built there, including the Starduster, Marquart Charger, Stephens Akro, and Stits Playboy, which was among 15 sport planes designed and built by Chapter One founder Ray Stits.

Chapter One began in 1953, when EAA Founder Paul Poberezny invited Stits to join the budding organization. Since Milwaukee was a long distance from Southern California, Stits suggested that he organize a chapter. EAA’s by-laws were amended, and Flabob became the home of EAA Chapter One – the first of over 1,000 chapters that now meet worldwide. The chapter constructed a large hangar on the field next to its original clubhouse which serves as a meeting room and banquet hall. Chapter One also allows other aviation-related groups to use the facilities.
Flabob Airport was saved from becoming a housing development in the year 2000 when a foundation started by Tom Wathen, retired CEO of Pinkerton’s international detective and security agency, purchased the airport. The Wathen Foundation’s primary purpose is to incorporate aviation into education; a charter school, the Flabob Airport Preparatory Academy, has operated for more than four years on the field. Air Academy programs are offered to young people on the field, and volunteers present aviation programs to area elementary, middle, and high schools.
Tom Wathen has assembled an array of unique aircraft, including golden-age replica racers like the Comet, Meteor, Firecracker, and Caudron.
Plenty of parking is available, but come early and plan on joining Chapter One for its Gala Banquet which begins at 6:01 p.m Saturday evening. Visit http://EAAch1.org/opnhse.html for more information.

As an aside, Flabob will also be the site of Glasair’s 30th anniversary, September 10-12, 2010.

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