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Paul H. Poberezny


Elder Statesman of Flight

Following his retirement, Paul stayed close to EAA, living with Audrey just two miles from the aviation complex his leadership had inspired. Paul served as the organization's chairman of the board until 2009. He also continued to speak and write about aviation, serving as an adviser and mentor to people ranging from top aviation group leaders and policymakers to individual aircraft builders who sought him for advice.

He also collected dozens of awards and testimonials, including honorary degrees from several universities. That included his 1999 induction into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio, joining legendary aviators such as Charles Lindbergh, Neil Armstrong, and the Wright brothers.

Paul as elder statesman
Paul Poberezny receives an honorary doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in 2004, recognizing his contributions to aviation.

Paul also enjoyed the more relaxed life of an elder statesman, meeting hundreds of people during the annual EAA fly-in, now renamed EAA AirVenture, and at various EAA chapter functions throughout the country. Through the early 2000s, he also continued fly and to ride his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, enjoying the same fascination with flight and machinery that drew him in as a youngster.

In 1996, Paul worked with his daughter, Bonnie, and her husband Chuck Parnall on Poberezny: The Story Begins, a biographical chronicle that described Paul and Audrey's early years, including the founding of EAA. In 2008, the Wisconsin Historical Society named him as a "Wisconsin History Maker," recognizing his unique contributions to the state's history.

Paul also kept building airplanes, perpetually having a project in progress in an area on the EAA grounds that he called the Aeroplane Factory for the remainder of his life. He also continued an impressive flow of communications with aviation enthusiasts from around the world.

After a life that included more than 70 years of flying in more than 500 different types of airplanes, Paul Poberezny left an indelible mark on aviation.

A Leader and Visionary < Back Next > Paul Poberezny's Legacy
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