NBAA honours passing of U.S. aviation legend
Aug. 23, 2013, Washington, D.C. - National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) president/CEO Ed Bolen issued the following statement upon news that Paul H. Poberezny, acclaimed aviator and founder of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), passed away Thursday morning at the age of 91:
“Aviation is an industry with more than its fair share of legends and heroes, but few if any have had a more visible, significant and lasting impact on the industry as Paul Poberezny. He started an association in his basement that became a grassroots movement built on shared passion. Today, that aviation community gathers each year for what has become the world’s greatest air show.
“Paul often said that he considered himself a 'millionaire,' thanks to the million friends he made throughout his decades of service to aviation. I believe that he significantly understated that number, a reflection of his humble nature. Each of us mourns his passing today, but we also feel gratitude, knowing his profound impact upon general aviation will be felt for decades to come.”
One of the most decorated men in the international aviation community, Poberezny taught himself to fly after restoring a damaged WACO glider at the age of 16. He later served as a pilot and test pilot in the United States Army Air Corps and later the U.S. Air Force, serving in World War II and the Korean War. He retired from military service as a lieutenant colonel from the Wisconsin Air National Guard in 1970, having attained all seven of the military's aviation wings: glider pilot, service pilot, rated pilot, liaison pilot, senior pilot, Army aviator and command pilot.
Along with his wife, Audrey, Poberezny founded EAA in their home in Hales Corners, WI in 1953. What started as a loose-knit group of aviators grew into more than 170,000 members worldwide today. Poberezny designed and built more than 15 different airplanes, and accrued more than 30,000 flight hours in approximately 500 aircraft types.
NBAA honored Poberezny in 2001 with the Association's most distinguished honor, the Award for Meritorious Service to Aviation, recognizing his extraordinary lifelong professional contribution to the worldwide aviation community. Poberezny was also a 1999 inductee to the National Aviation Hall of Fame in Dayton, OH, and was a recipient of the Wright Memorial Award Trophy.