Chapter 129

Bloomington-Normal, IL
Promoting sport aviation in Central Illinois for more than 50 years!

2019 Chapter Officers Elected

Our sincere thanks and congratulations to our newly-elected Chapter officers for 2019, including:

    + Charlie Bates, President

    + Bruce Jackson, Vice President / Treasurer 

    + Mark Rayburn, Secretary

    + David Pfister, At-Large Member

    + Ben Schneider, At-Large Member 

 Thank you for your service!

  Ford Tri-Motor Coming to Bloomington/Normal


2018 Chapter Officers Attending Training in OSH

2018 Chapter officers Bruce Jackson, Charlie Bates, and Robert Oberholtzer are in Oshkosh this weekend to attend Leadership Training for their new duties.  The EAA Headquarters training sessions are free, and are intended to assist chapter leaders in learning their new responsibilities.  Topics are selected to allow the new leaders to assume their roles quickly, and provide information on services that are available from Headquarters.  They're staying in the EAA Lodge, located near the museum and headquarters.  

Condolences to the Family of Oscar "OZ" Beckham

"Oz" Beckham has passed away.  Oz was a member for many years during the 1990's, having built a pristine RV-6.  His craftsmanship was outstanding.  He built his RV in an especially constructed building behind his house, which was just large enough to work in comfort. Here is a link to his obituary.  


Chapter Mourns Loss of Larry "Doc" Hedmark

Lifetime Chapter member Larry "Doc" Hedmark passed away on September 20th.  Larry was an avid pilot much of his life, owning a Piper Archer for many years.  Larry's talents included music as well, participating in a group that performed locally.

Larry was a dentist and operated a practice  in Bloomington until 1998, when he retired.  His office was located on Oakland Avenue, across from Jewel-Osco.

Larry, and his wife Berenice made good use of their airplane, both for cross-country travel and to attend EAA events.  Berenice passed away in April 2006. Larry was a veteran, serving both in the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force.  As a Lifetime member of the Chapter, Larry was part of the group that helped fund and build or present-day facility.

Our condolences go out to his family and friends.

His obituary in the Pantagraph can be accessed here. 

Ben Schneider Wins Lindy Award At OSH'17

Chapter Vice-President Ben Schneider is the proud recipient of a Silver Lindy Award for his LSA qualified Just SuperSTOL.  Ben's airplane was on display all week long at the Just Aircraft display tent in the Ultralight area during the week at AirVenture.  Ben had been working hard to get the airplane ready for the trip up to OSH, putting the finishing touches on it just before the event began.  Congratulations, Ben!!


July Chapter Meeting is in OSHKOSH!!

The July Chapter meeting will be held in OSHKOSH!!  The membership voted to relocate the meeting to Oshkosh, on the Wednesday Night Air Show evening, (July 26th) beginning about 7:30 pm.  Look for the Doornbos Cub, usually Row 65, just south of the Theatre in the Woods.  It will have a Yellow Chapter banner on the wing.  This will be a food meeting--with the Chapter furnishing the meat, buns and condiments.  We ask that each member bring 'something' to share.  See you then!!

 There will be NO Chapter meeting on our regular night, July 20th!! 

Chapter Mourns the Loss of Ernest Thorp

We are saddened to learn of the passing of Chapter member Ernest Thorp earlier this week. Mr. Thorp was a long time member of the Chapter, having been an aviator since before World War II. After the War, he farmed near Wapella, and flew from his own airstrip for many years.

Visitation will be 4 – 8 PM, Friday, February 10, 2017 at the United Methodist Church in Clinton,  with Masonic Rites at 4 PM.  Services for Ernest will be 11 AM, Saturday, February 11, 2017 at the Clinton United Methodist Church, 308 E. Main St., Clinton, IL, with Rev. C. Don Ferrill officiating. 

Click here for his obituary. 


The Chapter extends its condolences to John Rettick and his family on the recent loss of his mother.  Her obituary is available via this link to the Pantagraph

Chapter Mourns loss of Kenny Smithson

 Chapter Member Kenny Smithson passed away September 19th, while on a trip to Phoenix, AZ.  Kenny was well known for his great BBQ steaks that he served at several EAA Pot Luck suppers.  He was also a frequent attendee at Saturday morning Gatherings. His complete obituary is in the Pantagraph link.  Kenny is pictured in the photo above, on the right. 

Chapter Get-togethers Planned for AirVenture 2016


 One of the highlights of the AirVenture experience is the Aerobatic Night Snow.  The first of two night  shows will be held on Wednesday night, July 27th.  Beginning around 7:00 p.m. members will gather around the Doornbos Camp, located in the Vintage Aircraft area, just south of the Theatre in the Woods.  The exact row number will be published HERE when it is known.  You should have little difficulty finding the right place.  Watch for a Piper J-3 Cub, in traditional yellow paint, complete with a yellow tarp on the wing.  It will even be lighted!!    And, watch for signs with the Chapter Logo.   Remember, it is WEDNESDAY night!!

 The event will, of course, involve food!!  We'll be grilling some burgers, and hot dogs, plus we'll have some munchies.  Each attendee is asked to bring something--whatever you think you and other 129'ers would like to eat.  Bring a chair to sit on, as seating will be limited.  We'll be able to watch the air show from the comfort of our camp, and enjoy some food at the same time.We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday night.


At the June Meeting, the Chapter voted and approved that the JULY meeting would be held at Oshkosh, at the Wednesday night event.  So, be prepared for a very short, but fun July meeting in a location never before selected!   There will be no July Chapter Meeting on July 21st.


And, don't forget that we meet each day at noon, at the Homebuilder's  Arch, located at the entrance to the experimental aircraft area.  We'll take a photo, and then head for one of the many eateries in the area.  Be sure to stop by, renew old acquaintances, and see who is on the field. 

The Chapter Mourns the Loss of Ray Coker

Ray Coker has passed away.  Ray was a long time member of the Chapter, and a well-known aviator in he Bloomington-Normal area.  In addition to his affiliation with Chapter 129, he was also a member of the Crosswinds Flying Club, and an active Stearman pilot for many years.  Ray loved to fly, and share his passion for aviation.  His obituary, as it appears in the Pantagraph can be viewed here.


Our heartfelt condolences go the family and friends of Jon Herreid.  John was a long time member of Chapter 129, and strongly supported the Chapter's goals and mission.  He passed away on June 7th.  Here is a link to his obituary in the Peoria Journal-Star.



Long-time Chapter Member John Brue passed away on Sunday, June 12th.  His funeral is scheduled for Friday, June 17th at 11:00 a.m. at the IWU Evelyn Chapel, 1301 North Park Street, Bloomington, IL.  Here is a link to the obituary in the Pantagraph.   We extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of John.  






Our sincere condolences go to Jack Holland and his family for the loss of his mother.  Details are in the obituary from the Pantagraph.   


Ben Schneider's Highlander SuperSTOL Now Flying!

The magic moment has happened. Ben's project is no longer that--instead, it morphed into an aircraft, approved for flight. Ben's Designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR) presented Ben with his airworthiness certificate after a thorough inspection. A couple of days later, Ben flew his new airplane for the first time.  Now, he has about 12 hours on it, and is waiting for better weather to continue his Phase I testing.  Congratulations, Ben!!!!

Terry's RV-9A Sporting a NEW Paint Job

Terry Ruprecht's RV-9A has been flying for awhile, and with a shine from polished aluminum.  During the construction phase, Terry had a picture in his shop of the paint scheme he envisioned.  True to that dream, The RV is now painted exactly has he had dreamed--a very beautiful scheme that accents the lines of the Van's design.  The paint work was done by a shop in Sandwich, IL.  What a beautiful outcome!!



Ben Schneider's SuperSTOL Nearly Complete

Ben's SuperSTOL is nearly complete-a few finishing touches and he'll be getting his final inspection and first flight.  Its a beauty, and one that has extraordinary capabilities.

Chapter Mourns Loss of Barbara Walljasper

We are all saddened that Barbara Walljasper, wife of member Keith Walljasper passed away on Sunday, December, 20th.  The Chapter extends its sincere condolences to Keith, and his family. 

Barbara and Keith had been married for more than 57 years. 

This link will take you to Barbara's obituary, as it appears in the Pantagraph.  



George Wilts Flies His Restored Taylorcraft

 June 3 was a big day for George--he flew his freshly restored Taylorcraft.  Beautiful airplane, George!

Roger Hougham Recognized for 50 Years of Aviation

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Sept. 19, 2014 – Roger Hougham, of McLean, Ill., was awarded the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award from the Federal Aviation Administration.  Hougham was presented the award at a chapter meeting of the Bloomington-Normal chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), of which he is a member.  The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award recognizes pilots who have exhibited professionalism, skill, and aviation expertise for at least 50 years as active pilots.  More information can be found at

Hougham began his career in the Marine Corps as an air traffic controller.  In 1956, he started a long career as a pilot with Delta Airlines, where he eventually retired after more than 30 years as a captain.  After retirement, he moved back to his original home in McLean, where he continues to operate his family’s farm.  Hougham is an active member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, and he is still an active pilot of his personal aircraft, a Beechcraft F-33A.  

“We are lucky to know Roger because he’s a living legend,” says Jack Holland, spokesman from the Bloomington-Normal EAA.  “He is also a role model who has helped the aviation community in Central Illinois understand what it takes to be the best.”

 Obie Announces First Flight Party on June 8th             

 Obie’s Tri-Pacer restoration is complete—and he’s holding a party a the Pontiac Airport in recognition of that, and the first flight after the airplane’s return to service.  On June 8th, he’s inviting us to come up to the airport and share some good times, food and fun.  Obie began the project about 10 years ago, and did a complete restoration of the aircraft in his garage behind his house.  The airframe was taken down to bare metal and restored to ‘good as new’ condition.  A re-cover on a Tri-Pacer is a major undertaking, and he spent several years getting the fabric on, preparing it for final paint, and then painting it—all in his garage.

Overhaul of instruments, accessories, and the sub-systems such as brakes, and sheet metal also was completed. 

Plan to be at Hangar 10 at the Pontiac Airport on June 8th—it should be a good time, and a very joyous occasion for this long-term effort to restore a classic airplane to flying status. 

Hope to see you then!!

Chapter Potluck Supper at May Meeting

May 15th is the date of the Chapter Spring Cookout.  The event will begin at 6:00 p.m  with a potluck supper, which will include some expertly grilled meat, furnished by the Chapter.  The event traditionally includes a display of aircraft—so if you have an interest in bringing your airplane out for display, we’d love to see it.  With the weather rapidly improving (80’s next week) we should have a great time.  The event is Thursday, May 15th, beginning at 6:00 p.m., at the Chapter Facility, F-15, at the Central Illinois Regional Airport.  We look forward to seeing you!! 

Chapter 129 Founder, Phil Auth Passes Away

Phil Auth, Founder of EAA Chapter 129, passed away in Twin Falls, Idaho.  Please go to this link for his complete obituary.

You're Invited--Ben's Project Open House

Ben Schneider has invited us to view his project (Highlander SuperSTOL)  first-hand, on November 23rd, after our Chapter "Gathering of the Eagles" on that Saturday morning.  Ben has made a LOT of progress, with the engine now on the airframe, and much of the covering completed.  In his note, Ben said, "On November 23, from 10 to 12 (or whenever people want to leave) I have invited chapter  members to come up and see my project. My thinking was that folks could go to breakfast, then car pool up here to save some gas money, and make it more of a chapter type outing."  So, you have plenty of time to get this date on your calendar and plan to visit him.  We'll have more details as the time nears.

EAA Founder Paul Poberezny Passes at Age 91

August 22, 2013 - EAA Founder Paul Poberezny passed away this morning (August 22) at Evergreen Retirement Village in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, after a battle with cancer. He was 91.

The Poberezny family has expressed the following: "We deeply appreciate all the support shown to Paul and Audrey over the past five months. As Paul often said, he considers himself a millionaire because through aviation he made a million friends. He leaves an unmatched legacy in aviation and can be best remembered by all the people who discovered aviation through his inspiration to create EAA. We also thank you for respecting our family's privacy during this time."

Only private family services are scheduled at this time. Memorials in honor of Paul's life and legacy can be made to any of the following:

EAA Aviation Foundation: P.O. Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903
Evergreen Foundation Inc.: 1130 North Westfield St., Oshkosh, WI 54902
American Cancer Society, Northeast Wisconsin: 790 Marvelle Lane, Green Bay, WI 54304

Linda Doornbos

Linda Doornbos, long-time member and current Chapter President, passed away late Thursday night May 30th, after a nearly 2 year battle with colon cancer.  

An EAA member since 1981 she began her association with the Chapter in 1990, as both a member and as the group’s vice-president.  She was highly involved in a number of Chapter efforts, including the building of the Chapter’s facility.  She has been a key motivator in maintaining the Chapter’s leadership in local aviation. 

Her credentials in aviation began in 1981, when she acquired her private certificate at Boonville, Missouri.  Linda had recently married Keith, and shared his love of aviation, so she decided to achieve a goal that she had since she was a little girl—to fly.  During the time that she was working on her certificate, she began flying their Cessna 120.  She moved back and forth between the 120 and a Cessna 150.  Shortly after she received her ticket, they upgraded to the Cessna 170.  Not long afterward, she was expecting a child, but still flying the 170 right up to a few weeks before delivering her daughter Laura.  She amassed several thousand hours, mostly in the Cessna 170.  She shared that aviation interest with her son Brian, who was involved in CAP and ballooning, and daughter Laura, who soloed a Cessna 150 while in college. 

She lived the dream of homebuilding when Keith built a Moni Motorglider in their garage.  But most of all, she loved to be around people that loved to fly, and play with airplanes.  For 33 years in a row, she attended Oshkosh/AirVenture, camping with the Cessna, usually for the entire week of the event.  In recent times, she promoted the “work weekend” at Oshkosh, organizing the activity for the Chapter, and helping mow grass prior to the Convention.   

Linda was an insurance agent for State Farm—also a dream she had since she began working for the Company at age 16.  For 27 years as an employee, and 17 years as an agent, she loved to help people.   

Here is a link to the obituary as it appears in the Pantagraph.


Central Illinois Regional Airport  Control Tower Named on Closure List that Begins April 7th--FAA

According to the "Final" list published by the FAA today, the Central Illinois Regional Airport control tower will close, some beginning as early as April 7th.  149 towers are on the list; 5 of them in Illinois.  They are:  BMI, (Central Illinois Regional Airport); UGN (Waukegan); MDH, (Carbondale); DEC, (Decatur), ALN (Alton),  Of the 5, Bloomington undoubtedly has the most air carrier traffic/GA mix of all.  According to an article on AOPA's website, the FAA stated, "The FAA said it opted to keep towers open in cases that their closures would create a threat to national security; have a significant negative economic impact extending beyond the local community; have a negative impact on transportation, communication, or financial networks; or hurt an airport that is a critical reliever for a large hub airport."  Here is a link to the tower closure list.



        Chapter Valentine's Day Celebration Held 

Members of the Chapter celebrated Valentine's Day a bit early, with a special "Gathering of the Eagles" on Saturday, February 9th.  With a hangar facility decorated for the occasion, the first dozen ladies to arrive enjoyed a special red rose!  Love song music, a "fire" on the virtual fireplace, and plenty of fun, friends and conversation ensued.  To see what happened, just go to the "Photos" page to see the event! 

Big Turnout for Fly-out to Pontiac

Any event planned in November risks being cancelled due to unexpected bad weather.  Not so with the Pontiac Flyout, which had clear skies, light winds and above-normal temperatures.  Arrivals were delighted to find a great grass strip, located just northwest of Pontiac, and a very cordial host, Jim Adams.  After the 10 participating planes landed, we were picked up by the City of Pontiac's Trolley vehicle, a vintage replica of a trolley car, but on wheels instead of tracks.  On the way into town, the Tourism Director provided a narrative of what we'd be seeing in town, which included more than a dozen murals, and several museums.  We were greeted by the Mayor of Pontiac, who welcomed us to the city.  We ate lunch at DeLong's, a great restaurant on the square, then took the tour of the museums and murals.  At 3:00 p.m. we rode the trolley back to the airport, and posed for a group photo, then flew back home before dark.  It was a GREAT day!!  Thanks goes to Jack Holland and Jim Adams for making this possible, and to the people of Pontiac who have created a fantastic tourist attraction that makes Pontiac sparkle!!  There was also talk of maybe doing this again--perhaps in the spring of 2013. A "Five Minute Video" will be shown at the December meeting of the event. To see more photos go to the "Photos" page.    Photos by Curt Fox.

Fly-Out to Pontiac on Saturday, November 17th

The Chapter will conduct a fly-out to a private strip near Pontiac, IL on Saturday, November 17th.  The 29 mile flight will be to the Adams RLA (2LL7), located just northwest of the city of Pontiac.  Once there, we'll travel via a trolley (weather permitting) to downtown Pontiac to tour the museums in the downtown area, enjoy lunch, and then return to the airstrip for an afternoon flight back to BMI.  Plans call for everyone to arrive at 2LLC at around 11:00 a.m.  The frequency to use for the airport is 122.75 MHz.   We'd like to have 15 people to ride the trolley into town.  We're going to be the guests of the City of Pontiac.   If you're driving rather than flying, we'll gather in the downtown area at the parking lot on the south side of the old courthouse.  The City will make a restaurant reservation for us and provide a 45 minute tour of the city before we tour the museum.    For more information, or if you need directions, call Jack Holland at 309-275-4326. 

We'll be discussing this at the November Chapter meeting.  Mark it on your calendars now--it ought to be great fun!!

Tri-Motor Visit Wows the Community

For four days, the Ford Tri-Motor flew the skies over the Twin Cities, allowing passengers to see, feel, and hear the way air travel was during the 1930's.  Passengers varied from very young children, to those that had first-hand experience riding in a Tri-Motor in their youth.  While the weather was at times not fully cooperative, we did enjoy several days of clear skies and smooth flying conditions.  All of this wouldn't have been possible without the generous contributions of our sponsors, member volunteers, airport staff, and the Tri-Motor crew and support staff.  Chapter 129 is very grateful for the assistance provided by everyone involved!!  We all have wonderful memories of the visit that will last a very long time.  We'll be posting pictures and videos of the visit in the next few days. 

Fun-filled Activities at Airport this Weekend!

 The EAA Sponsored Ford Tri-Motor is in town for a 4 day engagement, providing an opportunity for a flight in this historic 1929 vintage airliner.  The Tri-Motor will be here from September 20-23.  Flights are conducted from the 'old' terminal building at the Central Illinois Regional Airport.   Of the nearly 200 Tri-Motor aircraft made, only 12 are still flying.  It is the chance of a lifetime to fly in this aircraft! 











The EAA Ford Tri-Motor is Coming to the Central Illinois Regional Airport!

Preparing for the Tri-Motor's Arrival

Chapter Member Jim Visel stands by one of several signs going up to advertise the arrival of the Ford Tri-Motor, which will begin its engagement at the Central Illinois Regional Airport on Thursday, September 20th-23rd.  

Chapter Members Attend Oshkosh AirVenture 2012

The 2012 AirVenture is now complete--and more Chapter members attended than any other in recent memory.  At the mid-point of the convention, more than two dozen members were on-site, enjoying generally good weather and a wonderful event.  Many members performed volunteer work during and before the event.  We'll have many photos and videos that will be added to the site in the next few days.  Thanks to everyone that volunteered, stopped by at the noon gatherings, and did their part to make AirVenture 2012 an outstanding event!!

Dick Quinton 

We are saddened to learn that we've lost a long term member and friend, Dick Quinton.  Dick, along with his brother Bill were members for may years and help create the foundation of our chapter.  While some newer members might not have had a chance to meet Dick, those of us who knew him were awed by his military experience as a pilot in B-17's in WWII and later as a fighter pilot.  He was a member during the time that our hangar construction was being planned and built, and he was always very supportive of the Chapter's goal of creating a facility that would become our home on the airport.  Dick's obituary is available here.

John Herman

It is with great sadness that we report that John Herman passed away, Monday, July 2nd.  John was an a staunch supporter of EAA, and of aviation.  He was a pilot much of his life, having owned several airplanes over the years.  He was very proud of the fact that he was a Chapter member with tenure that stretched back into the beginning days of our group.  John was a regular attendee at our Saturday morning get-togethers, and a friend to us all.  His complete obituary is available here.

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