By TED LUEBBERS
There was a beehive of activity in the Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 534 hangar at the Leesburg International Airport in Leesburg, Florida, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017.
Four homebuilt airplane projects were being worked on to kick off the chapter’s fall season.
As you walked through the door, there were several people crowded around the engine of a TM-5 low wing, plans-built plane, as they struggled to replace a gasket on the oil sump, which was in an inconvenient location that made it hard to reach.
To the left of that project stood a Light-Sport Aircraft, a Challenger-2 Quad City kit plane, that was in the hangar to have new fabric applied to its wings. The left wing was lying on a bench as the owner doped and painted the wing tip.
By noon, with the help of other Hangar Monkeys, the wing had been reattached and the LSA was flown again in the afternoon.
By the way, the term Hangar Monkeys refers to a group of dedicated EAA chapter members who turn up routinely on Thursday mornings to work on airplane projects at the hangar.
The third construction project is a Mini-Max 1500 R low-wing single-seater kit plane that didn’t fare too well in a tornado at another airport in Florida. The discouraged owner donated the plane to the chapter, and chapter members said they will make it a youth project for the Chapter 534 Explorer Program. The Explorers will rebuild this plane under the supervision of experienced chapter members.
On this day, people were assessing what repairs and what parts would be needed.
Last, but not least, in the back room of the hangar one of the members was organizing what needed to be done to complete the fuselage of a replica 1929 Pietenpol Air Camper. This is a plans-built airplane constructed of wood and fabric. A perennial project that is beginning its fifth year but has high hopes for the future.
EAA Chapter 534 has a very active membership and they spend a lot of time building airplanes in the hangar, as well as in their garages and other hangars of their own.
Periodically, members take part in the Young Eagles program that takes young people up for their first flight in a general aviation aircraft. Since the program was founded, EAA members have flow more than 2 million kids between the ages of 8 and 17. EAA members volunteer their time and aircraft to make this free program a success
If you are a pilot or just an individual that has always had keen interest in aviation and you would like to associate with like-minded people, drop in to the EAA hangar some Thursday morning to see what goes on in that hangar. There is always room for more!