Last year was a special year for EAA Chapter
339, based at Chesapeake Regional Airport
in Chesapeake, Virginia. The chapter,
66 members strong, celebrated its 40th
anniversary with five homebuilt first flights!
Ed and Janie Smith’s Lancair IV-P, Glenn
Johnson’s Zenith 601 XL, two Sonexes built
CHAPTER 339 CELEBRATES 40 YEARS
By Rich Dodson, chapter president
by Pete Pearson and Jim Ballenger, and Tim
Ribble’s RV-6A all took to the air. Those five
flights capped four productive years during
which a total of nine Chapter 339 aircraft
first “defied gravity.” Of special significance,
the Smith’s Lancair IV-P took home an
Outstanding Workmanship award at Sun ’n
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Fun 2009! Several chapter first flights are
also planned in 2010, and homebuilts of all
types are in various stages of completion—
ranging from a Nieuport 17 replica with a
radial engine to an RV-8A with a panel that
would make an F/A- 18 pilot envious! “Fast
glass” is also represented with a Velocity
and a Glasair project soon to be flying.
When the Virginia Regional Festival
of Flight moved to nearby Suffolk
airport in 2008, Chapter 339 took on the
responsibility of providing a significant
amount of local talent to contribute to the
success of the fly-in. Drawing on members
from four local airports, as well as pilots
from the Newport News area, Chapter
339 led the volunteer charge at the 2009
Festival. As the Festival continues to grow,
Chapter 339 will continue its support.
Much of the chapter’s current strength
was built on the attitudes and enthusiasm
of its founders. One of those founders, FAA
Master Pilot and Virginia Aviation Hall of
Fame member Joe Mathias, celebrated his
70th year in aviation in 2009. Appropriately
for Joe, those 70 years culminated with
some air work in his restored vintage Piper
Cub. Joe is a true craftsman and pilot in the
finest traditions of EAA, and he continues to
inspire chapter members.
As Chapter 339 looks toward the
future, we are guided by the fellowship of
successful homebuilders and friends who
surround us. We have already completed
our first chapter cookout of 2010 as well
as a field trip to the National Air and Space
Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles
airport. Several more gatherings are planned
this year. If you live in the Tidewater area,
or are visiting, you are welcome to join us at
the airport and at our meetings.
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Chapter 339 members and guests enjoy a break
during the fourth annual Chilly Chili Fest at
Chesapeake Regional Airport.