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New EAA Chapter Manager Says Hello
By Brett Hahn, EAA Chapter Manager, EAA 647675
June 2015 - Welcome to the EAA ChapterGram for June! I am Brett Hahn, manager of the EAA chapter network based here in Oshkosh. I started in May. For me, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work at EAA and be part of a team of people who are devoting their lives to sport aviation and continuing Paul’s vision and legacy.
In 1995 I learned to fly in the Rocky Mountains of New Mexico; I flew lots of certificated tri-gear airplanes, and for seven years I co-owned a Cessna 182E in a partnership. This wonderful 182 carried me to my first Oshkosh.
As my aviation education continued, I discovered taildraggers. I got my tailwheel endorsement in a ’48 Cessna 140 that was lovingly restored by Jim Ross of Las Cruces, New Mexico, thanks to a very patient Wes King, my CFI who specializes in tailwheel training. Learning to fly taildraggers opened up a whole new world of aviation to me. Currently I have a beautiful Starduster biplane, painted in World War II Army Air Corps livery (hunter green with yellow wings) and hangared at KLRU. I can’t wait to get her up here to Wisconsin, as quite a few perfectly manicured grass strips are calling out to me!
Since 2000 I have called EAA Chapter 555 (Triple Nickel Flyers) my home. Chapter 555 is a beehive of activity, with everything from weight-shift trikes, light-sport aircraft, and fast glass adorning our chapter hangar. I have swept floors, scrubbed toilets, worked on newsletters, and served as secretary, veep, and the prez. (Tip: It’s a bad idea to go to the restroom during chapter officer elections.)
Almost 40 years old now, my Chapter 555 conducts productive and educational Saturday morning chapter meetings that are lively and well attended. We have a small builders area in our chapter hangar where members can work on their dreams. (Chapter 555 member and blueberry pancake guru Bob Diven is currently scratchbuilding a Nieuport 17 replica.)
We host pancake breakfasts every third Sunday of the month, rain or shine, and we reach out to the public; everybody is invited. We average 150-plus attendees each month, and it’s a wonderful cross-section of folks that includes kids, teens, and college students. People fly, drive, and ride in, and while most aren’t certificated pilots, they love airplanes and relish the opportunity to be around those that fly. And Chapter 555 has flown 3,328 Young Eagles since 1992.
If it sounds like I am bragging…well, I am. I am very proud and in awe of the hard work, dedication, and selfless commitment that our Chapter 555 members have put in over those 40 years to make Chapter 555 what we are today.
Truly I can say that being a member of Chapter 555 has changed my life, aviationwise and personally. It is time for me to give back to the next generation, and that is why I am here in Oshkosh working for you.
My Personal Invitation to You
I know the grass needs mowing, the truck needs washing, and the house needs painting. Please, for just a couple of days in July, set it all aside. Gas up the airplane or car, come to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh to be with your aviation family, and recharge your batteries. You will see airplanes and meet new people that will enrich your life. Hundreds of EAA staff and thousands of volunteers are working around the clock to make everything nice so that you and your family will have a great time.
Please stop by and say hello to Charlie, Kyle, Tim, and myself in the EAA Welcome Center. I hope to meet you very soon so we can talk airplanes.