|Died||August 22, 2013 91) (aged|
|Resting place||Oshkosh, Wisconsin|
|Known for||Founder of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), promoter of aircraft amateur-building|
|Children|| Tom Poberezny |
Paul Howard Poberezny (September 14, 1921 – August 22, 2013) was an American aviator, entrepreneur, and aircraft designer. He founded the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) in 1953, and spent the greater part of his life promoting homebuilt aircraft.
Poberezny is widely considered as the first person to have popularized the tradition of aircraft homebuilding in the United States. Through his work founding EAA and the organization's annual convention, he had the reputation of helping inspire millions of people to get involved in grassroots aviation.
Paul Poberezny was the oldest of three children born to Peter Poberezny and Jettie Dowdy. His father was a Ukrainian immigrant and his mother from the southern United States. Paul grew up poor in a tar paper shack in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and never experienced indoor plumbing until he went to school. He became interested in aviation at an early age and built model airplanes as his first educational experience into aircraft design. He then learned how to fly and repair aircraft in high school, starting with a WACO Primary Glider and followed by an American Eagle biplane after high school. Having never attended college, Poberezny once described learning to fly and maintain the Eagle as the closest thing he had to a college education experience.
Poberezny founded the Experimental Aircraft Association out of his Hales Corners, Wisconsin home in 1953. It started as predominately an aircraft homebuilding organization in his basement, but later went on to capture all aspects of general aviation internationally. Poberezny retired as EAA President in 1989, remaining as Chairman of the organization until 2009. As of 2017, the organization had approximately 200,000 members in more than 100 countries.
In 1953, the EAA released a two-page newsletter named The Experimenter (later renamed Sport Aviation). The newsletter was first published and written by Paul and his wife Audrey Poberezny along with other volunteers. The now-monthly magazine focuses on experimental homebuilding and other general aviation topics, including antique, war, and classic aircraft.[ citation needed ]
EAA's annual convention and fly-in (now known as EAA AirVenture Oshkosh) in Oshkosh, Wisconsin attracts a total attendance in excess of 600,000 people, 10,000 aircraft, and 1,000 different forums & workshops annually, making it the largest of its kind in the world. It was first held in 1953 at what is now Timmerman Field in Milwaukee, and attracted only a handful of airplanes. Towards the late '50s, the event outgrew Timmerman Field and was moved to the Rockford, Illinois Municipal Airport (now Chicago Rockford International Airport).There, attendance at the fly-in continued to grow until the Rockford airport was too small to accommodate the crowds, and so it was moved to Oshkosh's Wittman Regional Airport in 1970.
Paul's son, aerobatic world champion Tom Poberezny, was the Chairman of the annual EAA AirVenture Convention from 1977 to August 2011, and was president of EAA from 1989 to September 2010. In March 2009, Paul stepped down as Chairman of EAA and his son took on these duties as well. Tom had a large impact on the expansive growth of the organization and convention over the more than two decades that he led them with his father.
Poberezny served for 30 years in the Wisconsin Air National Guard and United States Air Force, including active duty during World War II and the Korean War. He retired with the rank of lieutenant colonel, and attained all seven aviation wings offered by the military: glider pilot, service pilot, rated pilot, liaison pilot, senior pilot, Army aviator, and command pilot.
Poberezny flew over 500 aircraft types, including over 170 home-built planes throughout his life.He was introduced to aviation in 1936 at the age of 16 with the gift of a donated damaged WACO Primary Glider that he rebuilt and taught himself to fly. A high school teacher owned the glider and offered to pay Poberezny to repair it. He hauled it to his father's garage, borrowed books on building/repairing airplanes, and completed the restoration soon after. A friend used his car to tow the glider into the air with Poberezny at the controls; it rose to around a hundred feet when he released the tow rope and coasted to a gentle landing in a bed of alfalfa. A year later, Poberezny soloed at age 17 in a 1935 Porterfield and soon co-owned an American Eagle biplane.
In 1955, Poberezny wrote a series of articles for the publication Mechanix Illustrated , where he described how an individual could buy a set of plans and build his or her own airplane at home. In the magazine were also photos of himself fabricating the Baby Ace, an amateur-built aircraft (and the first to be marketed as a "homebuilt") that he bought the rights to for US$200 a few years prior. The articles became extremely popular and gave the concept of homebuilding worldwide acclaim.
He designed, modified, and built several home-built aircraft, and had more than 30,000 hours of flight time in his career. Aircraft that he designed and built include:
Poberezny made the first test flight of the EAA Biplane example Parkside Eagle in 1971, which was constructed by students of Parkside High School in Michigan.
His 1944 North American F-51D Mustang, dubbed Paul I, which he flew at air shows and air races from 1977–2003, is on display at the EAA Aviation Museum in Oshkosh.
Paul was born to Petro Poberezny, a Ukrainian-immigrant father, and Jetty Dowdy, an American mother.In 1996 Poberezny teamed with his daughter Bonnie, her husband Chuck Parnall, and Bill Blake to write Poberezny: The Story Begins, a recounting of the early years of Paul and Audrey, including the founding of EAA. Audrey died on November 1, 2020, at age 95.
Poberezny died of cancer on August 22, 2013, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, at age 91.His estate in Oshkosh is preserved by Aircraft Spruce & Specialty Co. and was opened to public tours beginning in the summer of 2017.
In 1971 Poberezny was the first recipient of the Duane and Judy Cole Award, presented to individuals that promote sport aviation.In 1986 he was inducted into the Wisconsin Aviation Hall of Fame and in 1987, the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) awarded him the Elder Statesman of Aviation. In 1997 he was inducted into the International Air & Space Hall of Fame and in 1999, the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, Ohio. He received the NBAA's 2001 Award for Meritorious Service to Aviation and the 2002 Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy. In 2008 the Wisconsin Historical Society named him as a "Wisconsin History Maker", recognizing his unique contributions to the state's history. Flying Magazine ranked Poberezny at number 4 on their 2013 list of the 51 Heroes of Aviation, putting him ahead of figures like Bob Hoover, Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Doolittle, and even Chuck Yeager. At the time of its release, just one month before his death, Poberezny was the highest-ranked living person on the list.
Many prominent aviation figures have praised Poberezny's legacy as being crucial to the maturation of the general aviation industry. Radio newscaster and pilot Paul Harvey said that Poberezny "militantly manned the ramparts against those who would fence off the sky", and airshow pilot Julie Clark noted Poberezny as inspiring her and "countless thousands of others to get involved in the promotion of aviation."The two brothers behind the founding of Cirrus Aircraft have also credited Poberezny and the EAA as essential to their success:
The EAA has [been] the driving force for preserving and fostering the enthusiasm of aviation. Without the enthusiasm and passion for this industry, we would not have seen the great development of GA through the 60s and 70s and, I believe, GA may not have even survived the late 80s and 90s. Paul created an organization that allowed, fostered and promoted creativity and perseverance for aviation. EAA allowed [Alan and me] to dream of something different, and then showed us a path forward for that dream.
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is an annual air show and gathering of aviation enthusiasts held each summer at Wittman Regional Airport and adjacent Pioneer Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, United States. The southern part of the show grounds, as well as Camp Scholler, are located in the town of Nekimi and a base on for seaplanes arrivals on Lake Winnebago is in Black Wolf. The airshow is arranged by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), an international general aviation organization based in Oshkosh, and is the largest of its kind in the world. The show lasts a week, usually beginning on the Monday of the last full week in July. During the gathering, the airport's control tower, frequency 118.5, is the busiest in the world.
The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is an international organization of aviation enthusiasts based in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, United States. Since its inception it has grown internationally with over 200,000 members and nearly 1,000 chapters worldwide, and hosts the largest aviation gathering of its kind in the world, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.
The Ace Baby Ace was the world's first aircraft to be marketed as a homebuilt aircraft when its plans were offered for sale in 1929. Plans are still available and Baby Aces are still being built today. Orland Corben designed a series of aircraft for the Ace Aircraft Manufacturing Company, the Baby Ace, Junior Ace, and Super Ace. Corben's name was associated with the aircraft, and it is commonly known as the Corben Baby Ace.
Acro Sport Inc was an aircraft manufacturer based in Hales Corners, Wisconsin that marketed plans for homebuilt aircraft.
Homebuilt aircraft, also known as amateur-built aircraft or kit planes, are constructed by persons for whom this is not a professional activity. These aircraft may be constructed from "scratch", from plans, or from assembly kits.
The EAA Aviation Museum, formerly the EAA AirVenture Museum, is a museum dedicated to the preservation and display of historic and experimental aircraft as well as antiques, classics, and warbirds. The museum is located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, adjacent to Wittman Regional Airport, home of the museum's sponsoring organization, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), and the organization's EAA AirVenture Oshkosh event that takes place in late July/early August.
Sylvester Joseph "Steve" Wittman was an air-racer and aircraft designer and builder.
Sean Doherty Tucker is an American aerobatic aviator who is sponsored by the Oracle Corporation and performs in air shows worldwide as "Team Oracle". Tucker has won numerous air show championship competitions throughout his career and was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2008. He has led several efforts to assist youth in learning to fly or becoming involved in general aviation, and currently serves as co-chairman of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)'s Young Eagles program.
The EAA Biplane is a recreational aircraft that was designed in the United States in the late 1950s and marketed as plans for homebuilding.
Charlie Hillard was an American aerobatics pilot, and the first American to win the world aerobatics title.
Gene Soucy is an American aerobatics pilot. The son of 2 pilots, he would wash airplanes at a local airport in exchange for flight time while growing up in Kentucky. He soloed in a glider at age 14, and in a regular airplane at 16.
Thomas Paul "Tom" Poberezny is a retired American aerobatic world champion, as well as chairman of the annual Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Fly-In and Convention from 1977 to 2011 and president of EAA from 1989 to 2010. He succeeded his father, Paul Poberezny, who founded the organization in 1953.
Aviation in Wisconsin refers to the aviation industry of the American Midwestern state of Wisconsin.
Ladislao Pazmany was an aviation pioneer, aeronautical engineer, designer, builder, pilot, teacher, speaker, and author. Born a Hungarian, Pazmany grew up, went to school and worked in his formative years in Argentina, then immigrated to the United States where he lived for the remainder of his life.
The P-5 Pober Sport is an early low-wing homebuilt aircraft designed by Experimental Aircraft Association founder Paul Poberezny. The one example built was flown across the country to every EAA chapter at the time.
The Howard DGA-3 "Pete", a.k.a. "Damned Good Airplane – 3", "Baker Special", and "Little Audrey" was the third aircraft built by Ben Howard, and the first in a series of racing aircraft. Howard claimed that the aircraft was so fast from his use of "Go Grease".
The WACO primary glider or simply WACO glider, was an early product of the Waco Aircraft Company. The low cost glider was intended to be flown from low hills or towed by a vehicle.
Sport Aviation is an aviation magazine published since 1953 starting as The Experimenter. The content focuses on experimental homebuilding of aircraft and general aviation topics, including antique, war, and classic aircraft.
Richard E. "Dick" VanGrunsven is an American aircraft designer and kit plane manufacturer. The number of VanGrunsven-designed homebuilt aircraft produced each year in North America exceeds the combined production of all commercial general aviation companies.
The Klapmeier brothers, Alan Lee Klapmeier and Dale Edward Klapmeier, are American aircraft designers and aviation entrepreneurs who together founded the Cirrus Design Corporation in 1984. Under the leadership of the Klapmeiers, Cirrus was the first aircraft manufacturer to install a whole-plane parachute recovery system as a standard on all its models—designed to lower the airplane safely to the ground in case of an emergency. The device is attributed with saving over 200 lives to date. From the brothers' use of all-composite airframe construction and glass panel cockpits on production aircraft, Cirrus is known for having revolutionized general aviation for modern light aircraft pilots.