EAA Founder Paul Poberezny Dies At 91

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Paul Poberezny, who founded EAA in 1953 and served as the organization's leader for many years, died on Thursday morning, EAA has announced. He was 91 and living in a retirement village in Oshkosh, Wis. The Poberezny family released a statement: "We deeply appreciate all the support shown to Paul and Audrey over the past five months. As Paul often said, he considers himself a millionaire because through aviation he made a million friends." Speaking personally with AVweb, Thursday, EAA media relations director Dick Knapinski said, "You know what stands out to me? When people said it ought to be just about homebuilders ... he'd say, 'so, who do we tell that they aren't invited? Who do we turn to and say you're not welcome?'" Poberezny believed everyone was a positive addition to EAA, said Knapinski. "He was a true original."

The Poberezny family statement also included points that Knapinski echoed. "He leaves an unmatched legacy in aviation and can be best remembered by all the people who discovered aviation through his inspiration to create EAA."Poberezny served as a military pilot and test pilot for nearly 30 years, during both World War II and the Korean Conflict, retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel. As a youngster, he built model airplanes and at age 16, taught himself to fly in a battered Waco glider he had restored himself. He logged more than 30,000 hours of flight time over more than 70 years of flying, and flew nearly 500 different types of aircraft, including more than 170 amateur-built airplanes. His memoir of his early years, titled Poberezny The Story Begins, was published in 1996.