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
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
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.
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
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
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
Current membership stands around
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
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.
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
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
H. Curtiss Museum of Hammondsport NY, and the
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
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 the
Rochester Ninety-Nines Chapter who dressed the female mannequin
1911 Curtiss Biplane With Blanche Stuart Scott At The Controls
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.
host the Original Oshkosh Airlift to the EAA AirVenture Convention so
members and guests can 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
USAF Museum in Dayton, OH, a trip to the
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
CONTACT US if you would like to be notified of our next
2010 Tour to the USAF Museum in Dayton, OH
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.
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
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
We offer Young
Eagle flights to young people ages 8-17 several times each summer.
These flights are 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. 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
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
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.
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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