It was a pleasure to spend some time with not one, but two members of a legendary GA family. I flew to Oshkosh, Wis., for a meeting with Tom Poberezney, chairman of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), and his father and past chairman, president, and founder Paul Poberezny, who retired earlier this year.
I have been lucky enough to visit Oshkosh during AirVenture before, but this was my first trip away from the crowds. As much as I love that exciting airshow environment, it was wonderful to experience the museum and see the sights on a quiet morning, and I highly recommend it if you have the chance.
Strolling around the museum collection, with its more than 200 aircraft, was like traveling through time, making stops at key moments in general aviation history…like joining Tom in the cockpit of the B-17! And seeing the grounds, emptied of the throngs of people and aircraft that take part in AirVenture each summer, I realized what an enormous undertaking that event is. It’s hard to imagine that EAA began in Paul Poberezney’s basement in 1953, and started with only 36 members. But most great enterprises come from humble beginnings, as AOPA did 70 years ago.
Talking with Tom, Paul and the EAA leadership team, we all could see opportunities for our two organizations to cooperate and collaborate. Tom suggested and I agreed that an important next step is to return to Oshkosh with some of our AOPA leadership team and look at ways we can work together. Key members of our two organizations will be getting together in the near future to explore those opportunities and more, and I for one can’t wait to see all that we can achieve together.
And of course planning is well under way for EAA Air Venture, July 27 through Aug. 2. I’ll be there, and so will AOPA’s Big Yellow Tent. I hope you’ll join us and be part of the excitement at one of general aviation’s premier events.