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Tom Poberezny Named a Living Legend of Aviation
January 23, 2013 - EAA Chairman Emeritus Tom Poberezny was inducted as a Living Legend of Aviation on January 18 during the 10th annual Living Legends of Aviation awards presentation event in Beverly Hills. Tom served as convention chairman from 1977 to 2011, EAA president from 1989 to 2010, and chairman of the board from 2009 to 2011.
"EAA owes a great debt to Tom for his leadership for so many years, particularly his vision for AirVenture Oshkosh," said Jack Pelton, EAA chairman and a previous Living Legends inductee. "Tom was the driving force that grew AirVenture into the world's greatest aviation event. Tom's tireless efforts are what put the word Oshkosh on the global aviation map."
EAA Founder Paul Poberezny is also an inducted Living Legend of Aviation.
Tom oversaw numerous milestones while leading EAA, including construction and funding of EAA's Aviation Center headquarters and AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, formation of EAA's Young Eagles program, the national centennial celebration of flight celebration and EAA's Countdown to Kitty Hawk program, and FAA approval of the sport pilot/light-sport aircraft categories. Tom was always a national aviation spokesman, leader, and ardent promoter for GA.
Among the many other honorees January 18 were former EAA senior vice president Greg Anderson, who received the Harrison Ford Aviation Legacy Award, and John Uczekaj, CEO of Aspen Avionics, recipient of the Aviation Industry Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Other inducted Living Legends include Chuck Aaron, James Albaugh, Randy Gaston, Al Haynes, Fatih and Eren Ozmen, and Louis Turpen. Legend Bob Hoover presented two of his Freedom of Flight awards, to the first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong, accepted by his widow Carol and their two sons, Mark and Rick and to the last man to drive and walk on the moon, astronaut Eugene "Gene" Cernan.
The prestigious Aviation Inspiration and Patriotism Award was presented to David Ellison, accomplished pilot, movie producer, and a member of The Stars of Tomorrow aerobatic team that performed at AirVenture Oshkosh.
The Living Legends of Aviation is produced by the Kiddie Hawk Air Academy, a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that takes Kiddie Hawk Jet Trainers to schools and aviation exhibitions to give children ages 4-9 the opportunity to experience their first flight lesson, albeit only a few feet off the ground. The Living Legends of Aviation meet once a year to celebrate flight and to recognize the accomplishments of aviation's second hundred years.