Phone: 800-564-6322 (800-JOIN EAA)
FROM THE DESK OF...
CHARLIE BECKER, DIRECTOR OF MEMBER PROGRAMS
Name: John Hopkins, EAA 763327
Position: Manager, Aircraft Maintenance
WHO’S WHO AT HQ
I HAVE COUNTLESS STORIES from EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
2010 that I’d love to share with you, but space is limited.
One thing that stood out to me this year was the power of
“Oshkosh” to inspire a worldwide audience. I gave a ride
to Ken Gray from Australia, who came to Oshkosh about 18
years ago with no flying experience other than some paraglider flights.
He left Oshkosh completely inspired to pursue a career in aviation and
now flies a helicopter for the TV show Survivor. He told me he owes it all
to coming to Oshkosh.
I also met Veena Pillai from Michigan with roots in India. This was
her second Oshkosh. She wants to start the first EAA chapter in India.
Fast-forward 18 years, and who knows how many EAA chapters might
exist in India with such an enthusiastic person leading the way. Again,
it will all happen because of Oshkosh. I sometimes describe EAA as
“inspiration and information.” We inspire one another to do greater
things by showing what can be done and sharing all the knowledge and
information we can to help our fellow members succeed. And Oshkosh is
our worldwide stage.
What do you do? Provide aircraft
maintenance support for the
EAA AirVenture Museum flight
activities, and aircraft restoration
and preservation for the museum’s
Aviation introduction: By junior
high, I had been reading a great
deal about WWI and WWII aircraft
and the pilots who flew them. I was
fascinated by all the dogfights they
had been in. I went to an air show in
Fergus Falls, Minnesota, and all the
colors, shapes, and sizes just pushed
me over the edge. I was hooked on
airplanes from that point on.
Most unique airplanes you’ve
worked on? Boeing B- 17, F4U- 4
Corsair, Spirit of St. Louis, and the
I would love to fly: Anything like a
Waco or Stinson with crank-down
I would love to restore: A Ryan
PT- 22. One of the most aesthetically
pleasing aircraft I have ever seen.
Don’t Know Much About... EAA’S B- 17 ALUMINUM OVERCAST S
EAA’s restored World War II B- 17 bomber tours the United States throughout the year, starting on the West Coast and working its way
east. This unique tour gives aviation enthusiasts the chance to experience Aluminum Overcast, one of a handful of B-17s left flying in
the world, in the air or on the ground in a way no history book can reveal. EAA members receive discounts on the flight experience
and ground tours.
And for those who want to dive in deeper, there’s the annual B- 17 Fantasy Flight Camp (December 2-5, 2010). EAA members also
receive a discount to this weekend ground school that takes place at the EAA Aviation Center. The camp immerses participants in the
history of the B- 17, including an audience with B- 17 veterans and a 20-minute flight experience.
Both flight experiences allow participants to walk about the aircraft and visit the various compartments, getting a glimpse of
what it may have been like for the crew in WWII.
Proudest restoration: I was deeply
involved with the restoration of the
EAA Museum’s F4U- 4 Corsair. We
poured our hearts into this project
and the results really show.
Unique AirVenture experience:
Putting Burt Rutan’s Voyager inside
our maintenance hangar. We had
to disconnect the landing gear
scissor links and turn the wheels 90
degrees so that the plane could roll
into the hangar sideways.
To learn more about the B- 17 tour, visit
www.B17.org, and visit
www.FantasyFlightCamp.org to find more information on
EAA’s Fantasy Flight Camps.
Hobbies? Helping my boys with
their radio-controlled aircraft.