Paul Howard Poberezny, EAA Founder Dies

Poberezny perfected crowdsourcing for aircraft homebuilders before it was cool

The man who built a whole movement around aircraft homebuilding and recreational flying as the founder of the Experimental Aircraft Association, Paul Poberezny, died this morning (August 22) in Oshkosh.

For Aviation, Poberezny came along at just the right time. It was January 1953 and the post-war boom was in full swing as the United States was in the final months of its hot war with North Korea. There was a glut of World War Two pilots and more would be coming home soon from Asia.

Aircraft makers like Piper and Cessna were doing a brisk business, putting pilots in small aircraft, but not everyone could afford the equivalent of a luxury car. Poberezny saw this and found a way for the tinkerer generation to discover flying in a most accessible and affordable way; build the airplane yourself.

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High Altitude Parachutist Ready to Take Last Step

Freefall record attempt postponed until Saturday

Felix Baumgartner is preparing to break 52 year-old freefall altitude and speed record. Courtesy: Red Bull Stratos

A project that has been ongoing since 2005 may soon culminate in a record-setting human freefall attempt from 120,000 feet above New Mexico. Felix Baumgartner has been working with Red Bull on the Red Bull Stratos project that will not only try and set a record but also test supersonic human limits through the air without a vehicle.

The reason there is a record is because someone has done it before. Joe Kittinger set the current record (102,000 feet) in 1960 while testing spacesuits for the American space program and high speed ejections from aircraft. Kittinger, who is consulting on the Stratos project, used a balloon to get to altitude; the same method Baumgartner will use.  Continue reading

Educator Erik Anderson Remembered During Hangar Service

A water cannon salute to Erik as Taps is played on the violin. N953BL, an RV-6 that Erik built with Bob Lang, basks in the sun. Photo by: Joseph van der Sanden

Family and friends of Kjell Erik Anderson gathered this weekend in Madison and Wautoma to pay one last tribute to a man who has filled so many people’s lives with happiness with his selfless personality and ways. On Saturday (September 29) over 300 people attended a memorial service in a hangar at the Dane County Regional Airport.

The event was filled with flourishes that would have made the Swede proud. Foremost, the event was held at an airport in a hangar which immediately put everyone at ease. A large spread of fruits, cheese, crackers, salami, and of course Swedish Meatballs was served. Just to make sure that no one took the session too seriously, ice cream was also dispensed.

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Kjell Erik Anderson (1961 – 2012)

Madison East High Aviation educator lived to help others, some into the air

I am very sad to have learned that my friend, Kjell Erik “Da Swede” Anderson, suffered a massive heart attack this morning (September 10, 2012) and passed away, at school here, in Madison. He was 51.

Erik taught Aviation and Band at East High School and Sherman Middle school in Madison, carrying on the proud tradition of educating area youth about aviation.

That was his dream job, but he also taught music in the Milwaukee schools for many years. Regardless of his focus, he always was trying to help young people excel, achieve, succeed, or just survive.

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Skysurfer Ready to Test Jet Wing

 Former MTV Stuntman Troy Hartman ready for Phase 2 of flight testing

Troy Hartman tests his Personal Jetpack as part of Phase 2 testing for his Jet Wing, which will be powered by the two UAV engines that are strapped to his back. Courtesy: Troy Hartman

Do you remember in the late 1990s a Super Bowl ad featuring a goose drinking Pepsi, aerial refueling style from a guy flying next to him, his feet strapped to a snowboard? The ad was the tops for the Super Bowl in 1998 and remains one of the best all-time for Super Bowls ads. By then sky surfing, which is what the man in that ad was doing, was a worldwide sport and Troy Hartman was its champion.  Continue reading