Pioneering aircraft designer featured speaker at EAA’s Wright Brothers Memorial Banquet

OSHKOSH, Wis. — Aircraft design pioneer Frank Christensen, who advanced kit-built aircraft with his Eagle aerobatic airplane, will be the featured speaker at EAA’s annual Wright Brothers Memorial Banquet on Friday, Dec. 14, at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh.

The annual EAA gala commemorates the anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first successful powered flight on Dec. 17, 1903, in Kitty Hawk, N.C. Advance tickets for the event are available through the AirVenture Museum website. Ticket discounts are available for EAA members.

Christensen revolutionized the homebuilt aircraft community in 1977 with the introduction of his Christen Eagle aerobatic biplane kit, which greatly simplified aircraft construction. The Christen Eagle was a groundbreaking design at the time, as the aircraft kit featured high-quality construction and a step-by-step building process that was rare to that point.

In 1981, the Eagles Aerobatic Team began using the Christen Eagles to fly their highly popular air show performances, providing more visibility to the airplane and its flight characteristics for the next 15 years at aviation events throughout North America. The aircraft flown by the Eagles Aerobatic Team are now on permanent display in the entry atrium of the EAA AirVenture Museum.

Christensen came to aviation as a pilot interested in aerobatic competition. At the same time, he started a company while finishing his college studies in engineering economics. That company, Tempress Industries, became the world’s sole source of critical products for the just-emerging microchip industry. He sold that company in the early 1970s to pursue his aviation pursuits.

The Wright Brothers Memorial banquet will also serve as the official debut of a museum exhibit honoring Christensen and the Christen Eagle. The exhibit in the museum’s Aerobatics Gallery features the prototype Christen Eagle II, which Christensen donated to EAA in 2011.

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