By Ted Luebbers
Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 534 at Leesburg International Airport in Florida hosted a very successful fly-in and pancake breakfast on Sept. 28, 2019. It was a perfect day for flying without a cloud in the sky and no wind to worry about. Ideal Florida flying weather.
Breakfast included blueberry pancakes, sausage, coffee and, of course, Florida orange juice.
The chapter runs these fly-ins as fund raisers for the chapter’s Aviation Youth program to help pay for the materials needed for the various aircraft projects the kids are building.
As usual, a good time was had by all. Pilots, aviation enthusiasts, chapter members, and Aviation Youth members got to meet and greet many folks with a common interest in aviation. People got a chance to get up close and personal with many different types of aircraft and swap stories about airplanes and flying.
After breakfast attendees were shown the building projects being worked on in the EAA hangar and some were given a demonstration of the two flight simulators maintained by the chapter. These are used by both the adult and youth members of the chapter.
Because EAA Chapter 534 is a non-profit organization, it has been fortunate to be on the receiving end of donated funds, aircraft kits, tools, and damaged airplanes in need of repair. The planes are built or repaired to flying status, then sold. Any profit is used to keep the Aviation Youth program moving ahead.
EAA Chapter 534 has a dozen Aviation Youth members who show up each Saturday morning to work alongside their adult mentors to learn aircraft building skills, what makes an airplane fly, and various other airmanship topics.
At the latest fly-in, 32 airplanes flew in to Leesburg so their pilots and crews could enjoy breakfast and visit with chapter members. Many additional folks who lived nearby drove in. All in all, it was estimated that about 100 people turned out for the fly-in.
EAA Chapter 534 members added they appreciated the large attendance from EAA Chapter 288 from Spruce Creek, the flying community in Daytona Beach, Florida. Three of their planes gave a smoke oil fly-over in tribute to the event.