The first meeting of our new Chapter is history. Sixty-five Sport
Aviation enthusiasts signed the attendance roster and spent a busy and
very constructive one and a half hour session forming our new organization.
To say it was a fantastic showing of interest is an understatement.
Chapter Officers were elected and a tentative set of By-Laws was
presented to be voted on at the March 10, 1976, meeting at Mt. Hawley Air-
Those Officers elected were:
PRESIDENT.....Victor J. DeCroix VICE PRESIDENT...Guy A. Snyder
Ph. 745-8748 107 Blossom Terr. Ph. 697-Ol38 310 Weiman Ave.
Washington, Il 61571 Bartonville, Il 61607
SECRETARY.....Joanne Selke TREASURER........Ken A. Rhoads
Ph. 685-9375 2616 N. Bigalow Ph. 699-2O39 175 Hickory Ln.
Peoria, Il 61604 East Peoria, Il 61511
Dues were set by a vote of those present to be $10.00 per year.
That's 83 1/3¢ per month and should cover any normal expenses incurred
by the Chapter. Please, get your Chapter dues in to the Treasurer as
soon as possible. If you haven't sent your National Membership appli-
cation to EAA Headquarters, please, note on the application that your
membership is in conjunction with membership in our Chapter. Remember,
you must be a member of the National Organization to be a Chapter member.
The second Wednesday of the month was tentatively set for the monthly
Chapter meetings because of a couple of reasons.
First, Jim Sturgess, a past member/Officer of the Bloomington Chap-
ter, advised that mailings from headquarters are received during the first
week of the month. It was decided to eliminate the first week for meeting
dates so as to present more up-to-date news from Headquarters. Sometimes
issues arise concerning Sport Aviation such as FAA rule changes that need
and require the immediate reaction of the Membership. The sooner the word
is spread the better.
Second, the meeting times of the nearest Chapters were checked and
it was decided to refrain from duplicating meeting dates with these
Chapters so that it would be possible for members of our Chapter to at-
tend the meetings of those neighboring Chapters and vice-versa.
The meeting times for some of the nearby Chapters are:
Bloomington....Chap. #129 2ed Thur. 730PM
Champaign......Chap. #29 1st Fri. 730PM
Decatur........Chap. #274 3ed Tues. 730PM
Mendota........Chap. #263 3ed Sun. 300PM
Monmouth.......Chap. #350 1st Sat. 730PM
Quincy.........Chap. #488 1st Tues. 730PM
Rockford.......Chap. #22 1st Tues. 730PM
Springfield....Chap. #137 4th Wed. 730PM
These times are from the 1973 EAA Chapter Directory. If you would
like to know who to contact to attend any of these meetings, please
We were privileged to have in attendance at our first Chapter meeting
some long time EAA members. Heading the list was Dr. Francis A. Torrey
EAA Life Member #17. Dr. Torrey is one of the original founders of EAA
in Milwaukee in 1951. He lives in Pekin and is currently engaged in an
EAA Acro Sport project.
Some other long time Members present were:
Randy Barnes EAA #456
Brooks Lembur EAA #478
Jewett Wasson EAA #663
Don Berrier EAA #2528
John Hardin EAA #4495
We had many five digit numbers that were low also. The most recent
EAA # was Bill Ringel's 101871, but I'm quite certain that that number
will loose its place as all you enthusiasts who haven't joined EAA yet
get your applications in to Headquarters. We hope to have some obser-
vations from some of these long time members in the future. There are
some interesting stories concerning EAA out there. Also, I would app-
reciate any other life members we have in the Chapter letting me know
who they are.
At this time President DeCroix hasn't received word from Golda Cox,
at EAA Headquarters, as to what our Chapter number will be. We expect
to hear from her any day now, and if we do before this is mailed to you,
I will include it.
Some points of interest.
The original EAA Chapter in this area had its first meeting on April
19, 1954, with thirty six people present. It was assigned Chapter number
two, number one going to Riverside, California, where it is still act-
ive. Chapter #2 wasn't so fortunate. In less than a year after it was
chartered, Ned Kensinger ,a founder and one of the "Spark Plugs" of the
Chapter, left Peoria for a position in St. Charles, Mo. The Chapter soon
fizzled out and the number "2" was subsequently reassigned to Fort Wayne,
Indiana, where it is still active. Later on, Chapter 207, based in
LaSalle, Il., drew a lot of interest from this area and the meetings'
locations slowly moved south until the majority of them were held in
Chillicothe, Il. Though the reasons are explained as many and varied,
Chapter #207 went the way of Chapter #2 and no Chapter was enjoyed in this
area until our efforts of February 18, 1976.
That date, unknown to those of us who set up the meeting, was coin-
cident with the 144th anniversary of the birth of one of Aviation's great-
est pioneers, Octave Chanute. Most aviation buffs know of this man's work,
but a surprising number don't. Let me give a brief history of this great
Octave Chanute was born in Paris, France on Feb. 18, 1832 and came
to America in 1846. He was a railroad engineer for twenty years until he
became a consulting engineer on bridge construction. On March 12, 1857,
he married Annie James in Peoria, Il.,and that same year designed the
first railroad bridge in Peoria for the Peoria and Oquawka Railroad
(now the Toledo, Peoria and Western Railroad).
In 1889 he became interested in aviation and experimented with
gliders in Dune Park on the southern Shores of Lake Michigan. He Built a
biplane glider that was a design improvement over the single wing, bat
like gliders of Germany's Lilienthal.
In 1894 he wrote a book "Progress of Flying Machines" that pro-
vided the Wright Brothers with valuable data in their experiments with
kites, gliders and ultimately powered flight. Chanute's correspondence
with the Wrights along with this personal assistance and photographs of
their flights and tests aided them considerably in their experimentation.
Octave Shanute died on November 23, 1910, and is buried in Spring-
dale Cemetary in Peoria. Chanute Air Force Base, Rantoul, Il., and
Chanute, Kansas are named in his honor.
Chanute's working with the Wrights using data from their own tests
as well as that of other experimenters such as Otto Lilienthal, Sir
George Cayley, Percy S. Pilcher, Louis-Pierre Mouillard and another
Peorian, C. E. Duryea, was an "Experimental Aircraft Association" in the
truest sense. These early pioneering experimenters followed the exact
philosophy of our own EAA. That is, people helping people in the cause
of aviation for education and recreation. To quote Wilber Wright from a
letter to Octave Chanute dated June 1, 1900,"What one man can do him-
self directly is but little. If however he can stir up ten others to
take up the task he has accomplished much."* The Experimental Aircraft
Association has accomplished much by following that very philosophy
through the leadership of Paul Poberezny. We owe it to each other to
continue this line of reasoning in the prosperity of our new Chapter.
Each effort, no matter now large or small it may be, combines toward the
ultimate goal of the organization.
Because of Chanute's activity in this area, and the apparent lack
of credit afforded this aviation p1oneer, it was light heartedly sug-
gested that we name our chapter for him. This came about after a short
article appeared in the Peoria Journal Star about Chanute's birthday.
After some thought on the possibility of actually naming the Chapter
for Chanute, I researched his aviation pioneering and found the reading
quite interesting. His letters to and from the Wright Brothers display
the thoroughness of the dedicated scientist that he was. The aviation
community certainly owes this man a great deal of respect.
Since the name of the Chapter is part of the By-Laws and the By-Laws
will be voted on by the membership, it is up to that merbership as to
just what name will be given to the Chapter and who will be paid homage
from that name. Think it over and make your decision at the March 10,
*"The Papers of Wilbur and Orville Wright" Vol 1 by Marvin W. McFarland
McGraw-Hi11 copyright 1953