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EAA Chapter 44's 50th Anniversary - August 16, 2008

About Experimental Aircraft Chapter (EAA) Chapter 44

EAA Chapter 44 is an organization of aviation enthusiasts.  The organization enables people to realize their dreams of flight. Chapter 44's members include builders, aircraft restorers, non-pilot aviation enthusiasts, pilots & student pilots, ultra-light enthusiasts, aircraft owners, renters, spouses and more. We are dedicated to educating our members and the general public about aviation, aviation safety, aircraft building and maintenance skills, introducing youths to aviation, exploring Rochester's aviation heritage and much more.

EAA Chapter 44 is comprised mainly of members from Rochester, NY and the surrounding communities. Their Sport Aviation Center (SAC) is located at the Ledgedale Airport (7G0) which is just south of the town of Brockport.

History of EAA Chapter 44

EAA Chapter 44 got its start in 1957 when Everett (Squeek) Hepler, a local airplane builder and expert welder got together with Bob Deyell, who was the local CAA inspector for the area. Hepler and Deyell decided there was a need for local builders to share their experience and knowledge. They contacted Paul Proberezny (head of EAA), who flew to Rochester in a B-25 on a snowy day in December in 1957. At this meeting the beginnings of Chapter 44 was started and the first meeting was held on February 25, 1958. The meeting was held at Hylan Airport, the current location of Marketplace Mall. The membership roster in 1958 lists 27 members. The chapter was called "The Clover Leaf" chapter.

The chapter met in the homes of various members, at Harold Silloway's Hilton Airport, the Lowden Point Greece library, and Edison Tech High School. During the late 1980's, EAA Chapter 44 acquired a roughly 100' wide by 199' deep plot of land at 2312 Colby Street with the goal of building a permanent meeting place.

In the spring of 1990, a building that had been erected during WWII as a "temporary" structure on the south side of Greater Rochester International Airport was offered to EAA Chapter 44 for the price of $1.00.  Over the years this building had served as home to many of the FBO organizations at the airport.  The all metal, prefab building measured approximately 18' x 72'. EAA Chapter 44 disassembled the building and eventually erected it on their newly acquired plot of land.  A few years later they acquired an additional 100' by 199' lot adjacent to the west boundary of their first parcel which allowed for a larger parking lot and room for Scout AeroCamps.

This building served as our chapter home until Ledgedale Airport received funding and approval to expand the airport in 2000. While we could have retained use of the building, half of it would have been within the airport's new boundary.  It had long been felt that our location was not ideal because while it was adjacent to the runway (only 100' away), we had no way of bringing aircraft onto the land owned by EAA 44. Also the building's prefab metal panels made it difficult to enlarge it.

In January 2008, Chapter 44 secured a long term lease on the Ledgedale Airport (7G0), inside the airport's boundary.  The plot of land we leased has access to the airport's northwest tie-down ramp. During the summer of 2009, the shell (measuring roughly 50' x 65') of EAA Chapter 44's new Sport Aviation Center (SAC) was erected, concrete floor poured and very well insulated.

A dedicated group of EAA 44 members finished off the interior of the SAC so we were able to hold our first official meeting in it on April 19th, 2011. That group of workers have continued to work on the SAC a couple times each month so we now have a nice cozy facility.

The SAC is located at the western end of Eisenhauer Drive which runs along the north side of the airport.

Current membership stands around 80 members. Meetings are held on the third Tuesday of the month.


EAA Chapter 44 was established to encourage, aid, and engage in study for the improvement and better understanding of aviation and the science of aeronautics, to promote and engage in the cause of aviation safety and education, to encourage and promote the development of private aviation and the development of amateur-built aircraft through home engineering, and finally, to foster close fellowship through the exchange of ideas, skills, and mutual interests. And to have fun doing it.

To these ends, we have established several educational programs for young people and adults. Some of these are local projects while others are affiliated with national EAA-sponsored programs.

SPECIAL UPDATE as of January 15, 2018:
The Rochester International Airport has received funding to modernize the airport terminal. The following aircraft and control tower were originally placed on display in the secure area of the airport which meant that they could only be seen by travelers who had passed through TSA security. As of January 15, 2018, the aircraft have been lowered from the ceiling and temporarily stored in areas on either end of the airline ticket counters. Eventually we believe the 1927 Taylor Chummy and 1911 Curtiss Pusher will be displayed in these areas at ground level so they can be viewed by the general public without having to pass through security. The Ohm Special will likely be displayed at ground level in the secure area that leads to the west concourse. The 1937 control tower will be stored off sight until the remodeling project has been completed and an appropriate location found for it. The airport hopes to finish the remodeling of the airport terminal by October 2018.

First and foremost are our aircraft building projects.

In the mid 1990's, members of EAA Chapter 44 met with Sam Cooper, the long time manager of the Rochester International Airport.  Sam had an old control tower that he wanted to display in the Rochester terminal building but needed some additional displays developed to go along with it.

The control tower was originally commissioned in 1937 and used until 1948. It was re-erected on the airport field on July 25, 1977 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the flight Charles A. Lindbergh made to the Rochester airport on July 29, 1927 in his Spirit of St. Louis monoplane. This was barely two months after Lindbergh's record setting transatlantic flight between New York and Paris in May 1927.

(Click picture to Enlarge)

1937 Control Tower - Rochester, NY

To accompany the resurrected control tower, EAA Chapter 44 first built a non-flying replica 1927 Taylor Chummy A-3 that was permanently displayed in the Rochester International Airport terminal in 2001. The Chummy, predecessor of the J-3 Piper Cub, was originally built in Rochester by the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Company, before they merged with Piper Aircraft. No plans existed for the Chummy since the plans were lost in a fire during the early days of Piper Aircraft. Stan Teachman, a member of EAA Chapter 44 and a draftsman of early aircraft plans researched and drew up very detailed plans for the Chummy based on input from the Smithsonian, Taylor's son and pictures in various books. The Chapter has also been helped in this project by the Geriatric Pilots' Association, the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum of Hammondsport NY and the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome in Rhinebeck NY.

1927 Taylor Chummy A-3

EAA Chapter 44 was next approached to restore an early race plane called the Ohm Special which had been built in 1949 by local Rochester pilots Richard Ohm and Gordon Stoppelbein.  It was designed to be raced in the under 1,013 pound class and had #15 assigned to it by the Racing Association.  It set a world speed record for light planes in September 1956 of 187.9 mph. Because the airplane was so small (only 16 feet long), the FAA approved the short registration number of N6H so it would fit on the side of the fuselage. The owners of the airplane donated it to the Glenn Curtiss Museum with the stipulation that it never be flown again. The Curtiss Museum loaned it to the airport due to its Rochester heritage.

1949 Ohm Special Racer - World Record Setter

The third aircraft on display in the Rochester International Airport near the old control tower is a replica of a 1911 Curtiss Biplane similar to the one flown by Rochester aviatrix Blanche Stuart Scott. Ms. Scott was the first American woman to briefly solo an airplane. She did this while taking flying lessons at the Glenn Curtiss flight school in Hammondsport, NY. EAA Chapter 44 member Vet Thomas built this aircraft for the airport's display with financial support from the Geriatric Pilot's Association and the seamstress skills of local members of the Ninety-Nines International Organization of Women Pilots who dressed the female mannequin pilot.

1911 Curtiss Biplane With Blanche Stuart Scott At The Controls

Many members are building, or have built, flying aircraft of tube and fabric, metal, or composite construction. Some have built and fly ultralights, while others are restoring classic aircraft. Chapter builders periodically invite members and guests who would be interested in viewing an aircraft under construction to a builder's home or other place of construction. Attendees usually enjoy some "hands-on" experience while visiting these projects. You can see some of their projects here.

For many years, EAA Chapter 44 hosted the Original Oshkosh Airlift to the EAA AirVenture Convention so members and guests could learn first hand about current developments in amateur-built aircraft construction, engineering, and aviation safety, and meet like-minded builders from around the world to exchange ideas and techniques. This is one of the largest air shows in the world and is an experience that will have you wanting to return year after year.

We also host trips and tours that have been enjoyed by the Upstate New York aviation community and other EAA Chapters.  In the past we have enjoyed fall foliage paddle boat dinner cruises on the Genesee River, a trip to the USAF Museum in Dayton, OH, a trip to the Old Rheinbeck Aerodrome, the National Soaring Museum on Harris Hill above Elmira, NY in addition to our annual Oshkosh Airlift trips to AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI.  We hope to host a trip to the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC sometime soon. CONTACT US if you would like to be notified of our next trip.

2010 Tour to the USAF Museum in Dayton, OH

We have members who serve as an EAA Flight Advisor and Technical Counselors. Flight Advisors can help you evaluate your own flying skills. They won't give you "yes" or "no" on your flight abilities, but help you develop guidelines for making your decision. A Technical Counselor is an experienced volunteer advisor who shares his/her knowledge and expertise to aircraft builders. They advise builders on constructing a safe, air worthy aircraft for final FAA inspection. These volunteers visit projects and advise builders on how to comply with building instructions and federal regulations. Technical Counselors offer tips based on their experience and help builders avoid costly mistakes. Through Technical Counselors, EAA helps maintain the excellent reputation of the amateur-built program.

During our monthly meetings, our chapter often invites a guest speaker from the FAA, the aviation industry, local universities, the military, or other aviation-related organizations. In the past we have had a Boeing 777 pilot, the principals from The Wright Experience, the pilots from Worldflight 2000, and safety counselors from the FAA FSDO. In addition to non-member guest speakers, members will often bring project parts in for viewing, explanation, and demonstration of building techniques such as welding, sheet metal work, wood working and proper wood selection, fabric covering, engine modification and building, and fiberglass construction.

Members Learning A New Skill

Our chapter library includes a large collection of videos on aircraft construction and safe flying techniques. We have books on aviation donated by members and back issues of several EAA monthly magazines. There is a large collection of information kits, drawings, and plans of various amateur-built aircraft. These items are available to members only.

We offer Young Eagle flights to young people ages 8-17 several times each summer. These flights were part of EAA's 10-year effort to introduce 1,000,000 young people to aviation by the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers first flight in 2003. They met their goal and decided to continue the Young Eagle program. Chapter 44 has given free Young Eagle rides to over 2,000 happy kids. Member pilots donate their time and aircraft at no cost to give free airplane rides to stimulate more interest in aviation. This activity includes orientation classes about aviation chart reading, flight planning, preflight and control of aircraft. The Young Eagle program was such a huge success that both the EAA and our members have continued to support it.

Happy Young Eagles

AeroCamps are a weekend introduction to aviation where Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts earn their merit badge or interest project patch after completing various activities held at our Chapter House. These activities include a ground school, pre-flight inspection of a real aircraft, aviation map reading, history of aviation, and discussions with a guest speaker. These are coordinated with Young Eagle flights so every Scout gets an airplane ride at the end of the weekend. See our calendar for the next dates of the above two activities.

AeroCamp Participants Learning To Use sectionals

In 2009, members of EAA Chapter 44 developed the Young Eagle Adventure Program as a means of getting kids in local schools interested in aviation.  This program starts with getting the parents involved and supportive up front.  Once the parents are on board, members of EAA Chapter 44 conduct mini ground schools at the local schools that are adjusted to be suitable for the age of the students involved.  Kids are shown how the things they are learning in school will one day be useful in helping them to become pilots. At the conclusion of this multi-week class, the kids and their parents are invited out to the EAA Chapter 44 Sport Aviation Center where they can receive a Young Eagle orientation ride. This program has proven to be very popular with the schools, the parents and most importantly the kids themselves.

We also try to host an annual Fly or Drive Pancake breakfast at the Ledgedale Airport (7G0) where the SAC is located. We have also participated in pancake breakfasts hosted by the Rotary Clubs in our area.

The Airline Pilots And Owners (AOPA) typically hold Air Safety Institute seminars at our SAC each Spring and Fall to make flying safer for the pilots. We have recently made our SAC facility available to the FAA to hold their FAAST Team presentations as another means of educating pilots.

EAA Chapter 44 is VERY family oriented.  A growing percentage of our member's spouses now regularly attend our meetings and help out at our Chapter functions. We also have a growing population of student members who became aware of us as a result of our Young Eagle events.

We have participated in the Rochester Wings Aviation Expo at the Rochester International Airport since 2003.

If the above activities sound interesting to you, why don't you JOIN US! or just stop by and check us out.

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