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Acro Sport Celebrates 45 Years
EAA founder’s homebuilt design remembered
By Megan Esau, EAA Assistant Editor
July 24, 2018 - A small gathering of just under 10 Acro Sports will help celebrate the 45th anniversary of the small, aerobatic biplane at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, where the type has a deep connection.
The same year the International Aerobatic Club (IAC) was established as a division of the organization in 1971, EAA founder Paul Poberezny began designing a new airplane that not only could be built by high school students in industrial arts classes across the country, but that would also fit his aerobatic interests.
“The only other airplane that was really available in plans form at that time was the Pitts Special, and he wanted to offer an alternative too that was a little bit easier to handle, easier to fly,” said IAC’s historian Mike Heuer. “At first, he thought he could go with some modifications to the EAA Biplane, which had been around since the ’50s, but he decided on a clean design and really ended up starting from scratch.”
Paul designed the Acro Sport as a plansbuilt, sturdy, single-seat biplane with a 180-hp Lycoming engine. Built with a steel-tube fuselage, spruce wings, and Cub-style landing gear, Mike said the airplane came in at approximately 800 pounds empty. It was also basic with few instruments and no electrical system.
“Unfortunately, it never gained the popularity that the Pitts did,” Mike said.
But, being Paul’s eighth design, the Acro Sport, and its successor, the Super Acro Sport, are undoubtedly a part of the fabric of EAA’s history.
“All of Paul’s designs contributed to the promotion of the homebuilt movement,” Mike said. “There wasn’t anybody back then or even today that enjoyed more respect in the sport aviation community than Paul. … He wasn’t just some executive off the street. He not only talked the talk, but he walked the walk. He built this organization from scratch, but he also flew and he designed and built airplanes.”
A forum about the Acro Sport and Acro II will take place Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the Aeroplane Workshop. The Super Acro Sport prototype Paul built with EAA staff in the 1970s will be brought to AirVenture by its current owner, Mort Robinson, EAA 1233654, of Port Townsend, Washington.