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Tom Poberezny to Be Inducted Into National Aviation Hall of Fame
Former EAA president/CEO in Class of 2016 to be enshrined next October
November 18, 2015 – Tom Poberezny, the president and CEO of the Experimental Aircraft Association for more than 20 years and chairman of the annual EAA fly-in convention for more than three decades, is one of four renowned aviators who will enter the National Aviation Hall of Fame next October.
The NAHF Class of 2016, announced Wednesday at the National Business Aviation Association convention in Las Vegas, also includes NASA astronaut Robert Crippen, NASA’s first flight director Christopher Craft, and World War II, Korea, and Vietnam War veteran George “Bud” Day. The induction ceremony will be held October 1, 2016, in Dayton, Ohio.
“We congratulate Tom on this well-deserved honor and upcoming induction into the National Aviation Hall of Fame,” said EAA Chairman and CEO Jack Pelton. “Tom’s accomplishments as an aerobatic and air show pilot on the national and international stages were noteworthy in themselves, but at the same time he showed his ability and leadership by leading EAA into a new century while expanding its membership and influence throughout the aviation community.”
Tom was a part of the EAA staff beginning in 1969, was elected EAA president in 1989 and served in that role until 2010, then as EAA chairman until 2011. During his tenure, EAA grew to more than 160,000 members in 100-plus countries. Among his notable leadership achievements during his time at EAA were the construction of the EAA Aviation Center in Oshkosh, which opened in 1983; the establishment of the Young Eagles program, which has flown nearly 2 million young people since 1992; and the FAA’s adoption of the sport pilot/light-sport aircraft rule, which created a whole new category of recreational aircraft and pilot certification.
Tom’s own aviation career was also accomplished. He was a member of the American team that captured the World Aerobatic Champion in 1972. He followed that by winning the individual U.S. Unlimited Aerobatic Championship in 1973. For 25 years, he also flew air shows with Charlie Hillard and Gene Soucy as the Red Devils in Pitts Specials during the 1970s, then as The Eagles Aerobatic Team in Christen Eagles kit aircraft through the mid-1990s.
“I was proud to work with a great staff and dedicated volunteers who were passionate about EAA’s mission and goals,” Tom said. “Activities such as Oshkosh and Young Eagles have had a significant and lasting impact on the aviation community and industry. I’m honored to be recognized by the National Aviation Hall of Fame and be part of an outstanding 2016 class.”
Tom’s induction marks the third person connected to EAA and Oshkosh to be inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame. Tom’s father, EAA founder Paul Poberezny, was inducted in 1999, while Steve Wittman, an early EAA member and namesake of Oshkosh’s Wittman Regional Airport, was inducted in 2014.