Chapter 534 Aviation Youth Members working hard cleaning up and repairing the 1964 Cessna 150 D  ( Photo credit Stan Carpenter)

By Ted Luebbers

The Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 534 based at the Leesburg International Airport in Leesburg, FL has mobilized its membership to begin a fund-raising program to repair a donated airplane to flying status, so it can be used to instruct their Aviation Youth members how to fly.

Then a surprise happened! A White Knight suddenly appeared! An anonymous person stepped up and offered the chapter a $5,000 challenge grant for the completion of the Cessna 150 if the challenge could be matched or exceeded by March 31, 2020.

This motivated the Chapter’s leadership into action by setting up the EAA Chapter 534 Aviation Youth Fund Raising Drive. The money in this fund will be set aside and used only to cover the cost of restoring the Cessna 150   to flight status.

The donated Cessna 150 D came with no engine.  They need a new engine to replace those sandbags in the nose. The sandbags approximate the weight of the engine to keep the plane in position on its tricycle landing gear. ( Photo Credit Ted Luebbers }

Last summer the 1964 Cessna 150 D was donated to the chapter for repair by the Aviation Youth members. Its fuselage and wings were in reasonably good condition. In other words, it had good bones. It was hoped that this plane, that needed an engine, avionics, general repairs, and some cosmetic work, could be brought back to flying status and become the nucleus of an associated flying club. It would then be used to teach the kids how to fly.

The young people have been working hard doing cosmetic and general repairs.

Unfortunately, as time went on volunteer adult chapter mentors could not find engine parts or avionics at prices that the chapter treasury could bear.

Airplane engines and avionics are quite costly and considering how the plane would be used they did not feel comfortable trying to do this “on the cheap”, in the interest of safety.  Because of this, the adult membership had decided to suspend this project in favor of other less expensive ones.

This would mean they would not have an airplane to give flight instruction to their youth members.

This was going to be a big disappointment for the kids as well as the adult members.

EAA Chapter 534 has had a successful Aviation Youth program for several years. They have been working with kids teaching them how to build and repair donated damaged airplanes and uncompleted aircraft kits under the watchful eye of chapter members who have expertise in aircraft construction and maintenance. When completed these airplanes were put up for sale and whatever profit that could be made was plowed back into the Aviation Youth account to sustain it. These projects provided a lot of education but little money was made.

IMG 0385 The Cessna fuselage and wings are in good shape. In other words, the plane has good bones. (Photo credit Ted Luebbers )

However, the Cessna project turned out to be a bigger and more expensive project than they had ever undertaken. On top of that, the plane was to be used for teaching the kids how to fly, so it would not go on the market when completed.

Hargis decided to bite the bullet and get this project off the ground.

This is a “can-do organization”. Last year one of its Aviation Youth members, Mateo Colmenro won a $ 10,000 Ray Aviation Scholarship for flight training from the National EAA organization and today has his Private Pilot’s License. The chapter hopes to have a new candidate for a Ray Aviation Scholarship this year.

EAA Chapter 534 is a non-profit 501 C-3 Tax-free organization.

If anyone would like to help with the Cessna project, they can donate by contacting the Chapter Treasurer: Mark Banus, 1140 Harley Circle, The Villages, FL. 32162,

If you would like to find out more about EAA Chapter 534 you may go to the following web site. < >

(All photos provided by EAA chapter 534)


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