EAA was founded in 1953 to support the burgeoning homebuilt aircraft movement. While the organization almost immediately expanded to include vintage and ex-military aircraft, homebuilding is at the core of who we are, and you’ll see this reflected proudly in our museum.
You’ll see examples of classic homebuilts like a Pietenpol Air Camper, powered by the engine from a Ford Model A, and the fantastic Taylor Aerocar, the flying car that came the closest to mass-production back in the ‘50s. There’s the tiny BD-5 and the downright miniscule Stits DS-1 Baby Bird, the smallest aircraft in the world. From the wonderful bare-bones Breezy to the intricate cutaway display of the AcroSport biplane, our Homebuilts display will give you a good look at this fascinating side of aviation history.
No discussion of the history homebuilt aircraft is complete without mentioning two people: Burt Rutan and Dick VanGrunsven. While Rutan’s legacy is presented in our Innovations Gallery, “Van” is well represented by a special exhibit in our Homebuilders area. Dick’s company, Van’s Aircraft, was founded in 1973, when he introduced a series of modifications to a Stits Playboy that became the centerpiece of our exhibit, the prototype RV-1.
In the decades the followed, Van’s Aircraft became the most successful kitplane manufacturer in the world, with more than 7,500 RVs completed and flying as of 2012. In addition to the RV-1, we’re very proud to be able to display prototypes of two other key Van’s designs, the RV-3 and RV-4.