Lou Seno, longtime pilot and homebuilder, dies at 89

Longtime pilot, CFI and homebuilder Lou C. Seno, Sr. died in his home in Downers Grove on Nov. 19, 2013, at the age of 89. An early member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, he was a recreational Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) with more than 6,000 flight hours logged.

He was actively flying until the age of 83.

Inspired by an article by Paul H. Poberezny in the May 1955 Mechanic’s Illustrated magazine on the Corben Baby Ace, Lou began construction of a D model Baby Ace in the fall of 1956 with his brother and son in the basement of their Chicago suburban home. He successfully test flew the Baby Ace in July 1961 at the DuPage County Airport, just west of Chicago.

Lou Sr. supervising Lou Jr. during the building of the Baby Ace wing

Lou Sr. supervising Lou Jr. during the building of the Baby Ace wing

A few years later, plans for a two-place, side-by-side model of the Ace, called the Junior Ace, became available. Once Lou heard about it, he scrambled to gather all of the necessary parts and supplies to start assembling the new aircraft to finish it in time to fly it to Rockford, Illinois, for the next EAA Fly-in Convention in July 1966. He did, and flew the Junior Ace until the fall of 2007 when he retired from flying.

Lou and his family also built a Wag-Aero Sport Trainer (J-3 Cub clone) that won a bronze “Lindy” award for outstanding workmanship at the 1988 EAA convention. Lou owned and restored several award-winning classic aircraft as well, including a Cessna 170B, a Meyers 200D and an Interstate Cadet. Before hanging up his tools, Lou also built a two-place composite aircraft called the KIS TR-1.

During the summer of 1976, Lou circumnavigated the perimeter of the United States to help commemorate the country’s bicentennial celebration. This achievement took him almost 40 days to complete.

He was president and CEO of a retail men’s formalwear company, which boasted 31 separate locations throughout the Midwest.

Lou’s passion for aviation touched and inspired many people over the years, including his son, Louis C. Seno, Jr., who is an active pilot, an aircraft owner and business aviation advocate and leader in the industry.

— By Marj Rose


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