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Breezy Co-Creator Carl Unger Passes Away

Carl Unger
Carl Unger and his son, Rob, with the original Breezy N59Y, which Carl donated to EAA in 1990.

September 26, 2013 - Carl Unger, whose unique Breezy aircraft provided many thousands of flights to people over the past half-century, passed away Tuesday, September 24, at his home in Oak Lawn, Illinois. He was 82.

The Breezy is one of the most universally recognized aircraft to emerge from EAA and the homebuilt movement. Carl's famous red and white prototype first appeared at the 1965 Rockford EAA fly-in convention, where it created a sensation when he gave people rides from morning until night. He always appeared donning his distinctive red vest.

The prototype Breezy was designed and built by Carl, Charles Roloff, and Bob Liposky, who used a set of Piper PA-12 wings and a factory-new Continental C-90-8 engine with a special pusher crank. After 25 years of flying it, Carl, EAA 25215, flew the airplane to EAA's Pioneer Airport in Oshkosh one last time before retiring the famous homebuilt to the EAA AirVenture Museum in October 1990.

A celebration of the Breezy design's 50th anniversary is in the works for EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2014. (For more information on the Breezy, see the Sport Aviation feature story.)

Since 1965, more than 1,000 sets of plans have been sold. Carl would warn new potential builders, "Listen, when you get this thing finished, everywhere you go and stop for fuel, they're going to ask for rides."

Many thousands of people donned the goggles and received a free ride with Carl in his Breezy, including an FAA administrator, Sen. Barry Goldwater, actor Cliff Robertson, and an entire Concorde crew.

EAA Founder Paul Poberezny once said, "The Breezy has been one of the most popular airplanes [at Oshkosh] over the years, and Carl has given thousands of people rides at his own expense for many years. I give him a lot of credit for getting people excited about flying."

Services will be held next Monday, September 30, with Curley Funeral Home, 6116 W. 111th St., Chicago Ridge, Illinois, 60415, handling arrangements. Mass will be held at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Loretto, 8925 S. Kostner Ave., Hometown, Ilinois, with a luncheon immediately after mass at Jenny's Steak House, 11041 Menard Ave., Chicago Ridge.

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