During a last-minute press conference held Tuesday under a bright blue sunny Oshkosh sky, Tom Poberezny announced that he has decided to retire from his job as chairman of the Experimental Aircraft Association and chairman of the annual EAA AirVenture Oshkosh show. Poberezny, who has worked for EAA for the past 49 years, recently turned 65 and wants to have time to do things that his busy job never afforded.
Dateline September 1927: Lindbergh is just back from Paris, and being “air-minded” is the thing. Out in the Wild West, World War I Army flier, entrepreneur and promoter J. Parker Van Zandt creates a runway across a northern Arizona meadow at a place called Red Butte, begins building a hangar and prepares to launch the first commercial air tours over the Grand Canyon.
To associate the jet-set image of a corporate flight department with S-38 flying boats and Ford Trimotors might seem a bit of a stretch to those who fly in the plush expanses of a gold-trimmed, leather-upholstered Global Express or GIV. But for UTFlight, the East Granby, Conn.-based flight department of United Technologies, the connection to aviation’s past runs deeper than most.
Where else but Oshkosh can you see an airshow performance by a vintage biplane with a jet engine strapped to its belly, take a ride in a 1929 Ford Trimotor, fill up on grilled bratwurst heaping with sauerkraut and mustard and top it all off by spending the night camped under the wing of your own airplane?