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Ready for Flight? EAA celebrates 70th anniversary, reveals future flight inspired by past

A once little Milwaukee airplane club (EAA) has grown significantly over the decades and celebrates its founder, the late Paul Poberezny.
Posted at 12:17 PM, Jan 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-26 13:17:52-05

OSHKOSH (NBC 26) — The EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) Celebrates its 70th Anniversary!

With over 270,000 members and over 900 local chapters, the organization is focused on growing aviation.

“EAA’s founder, the late Paul Poberezny, often said that he never expected this little Milwaukee airplane club to grow into what it has become, but it tapped into a basic aspiration – the freedom to fly,” said Jack J. Pelton, EAA’s CEO and Chairman of the Board. “For seven decades, EAA has allowed people to passionately pursue that dream with imagination and innovation, as they found kindred spirits that created an aviation movement that has no equal in the history of manned flight. It is an anniversary to celebrate EAA as an achievement of the individual, as part of a greater group that supports those efforts.”

While the original founding group consisted primarily of those who built, restored, and modified their own aircraft, the organization soon encompassed people across all aviation interests – as Poberezny put it, “welcoming all who wished to participate.”

Clear for take off?

Meteorologist Brittney Merlot spoke with Dick Knapinski in the Founder's Library inside the EAA Museum, located at their headquarters in Oshkosh.

Where flight took off, EAA Celebrates their 70th Anniversary!

Here's a look at Poberezny's first-built planes:

EAA Founders First Planes & Winter FLIGHT FEST with SKI planes, SOON!

Today, EAA provides engaging education to people of all ages with aviation. The organization is working to break down barriers to flight, whether those hurdles come from regulations or access to aviation.

They also focus on kids and the future of flying. The group offers schools to participate in many activities to learn the fundamentals of flight.

Looking to the Future, Getting Kids Involved in FLIGHT at EAA Museum

NEW and innovative ideas have been taking off!

Innovative Aircraft at the EAA Museum

Looking to the future of EAA, The Annual Winter Flight Fest throttles in on February 11, from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the EAA Museum in Oshkosh. The day is designed for all ages and is a family-friendly series of activities.

o Wright Flyer simulator – Take the controls of the first powered airplane at Kitty Hawk

o Paper airplane launcher – Fold your best creation and see how it flies

Flight Fun

o X-Planes – Create your own X-Plane and test it through various obstacles

o Pararescue challenge, where kids design a miniature parachute and test it in a wind tunnel

o Indoor model airplane flying – Discover what it takes to build and fly a radio-control model

o Clothespin airplanes – Make your own airplane refrigerator magnet.

o Airplane model building contest.

o Skiplane Fly-In: Pilots from throughout the upper Midwest land on the snow-covered airstrip at Pioneer Airport. Museum visitors are welcome to walk among the parked airplanes and discover more about this facet of fun flying. Shuttles will operate from the museum to Pioneer Airport throughout the day (Pilots who are interested in flying their ski planes to the event must pre-register by completing an online form).

In addition, EAA is offering a family member discount for first-time family members of $50, which includes free year-round entry to the EAA Aviation Museum, as well as hundreds of other museums nationwide as part of the Association of Science-Technology Centers’ Travel Passport Program.

EAA is also known worldwide for its annual fly-in convention, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, which attracts more than 10,000 aircraft and total attendance, surpassing 600,000 to Oshkosh in late July each year. That event is the world’s largest fly-in convention, with more than 5,000 volunteers welcoming visitors from more than 90 nations.

For more information on EAA and its programs, you can call 800-JOIN-EAA (800-564-6322) or go to