June 17, 2003 - A project 30 months in the making took to the air for the first time on Tuesday morning (June 17), as a replica Waco Primary Glider lifted EAA Founder and Chairman Paul H. Poberezny into the air twice over the grass runway of Pioneer Airport. The weather was crystal clear with a light, lifting breeze coming out of the west.
Towed by Paul's EAA convention VW Bug, "EAA Red One," the glider rose to about five feet on the first flight before he disengaged the towrope. The second flight went about 10-15 feet higher before Paul released the rope, then he glided safely to the ground, slightly dinging the right wing skid on landing.
The elasticity of the nylon towrope, Paul said, created too much slack, making it tough to maintain consistent speed and tightness on the line to maintain a smooth flight, essentially stalling the aircraft. But it did fly.
During the last two and a half years, many hands helped scratch-build the glider. Wings were covered during an EAA AirVenture Oshkosh workshop last year, and other framework was done the previous year, making it a true EAA grass-roots project.
Paul hopes to fly the glider during the upcoming EAA AirVenture convention July 29-August 4. He'll do some more test flights in the coming weeks and base his decision on how those go. So stay tuned.
The aircraft is a replica of Paul's Waco Primary Glider from his high school days, the one his history teacher, Homer Tangney, gave to him as a salvage project. Paul restored the tattered airframe to flying condition in his family's dirt-floored garage in West Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A friend driving an Essex towed Paul into the air for Paul's first flight.