July 2, 1924 – June 20, 2020
Published in Midwest Flyer – August/September 2002 issue
Ottumwa, Iowa – Robert (Bob) L. Taylor, 95, founder and president of the Antique Airplane Association (AAA), and cofounder and chairman of the Airpower Museum (APM), passed away June 20, 2020. In addition, Taylor shared ownership of Antique Airfield (IA27) in Blakesburg, Iowa, the site of the annual AAA and APM fly-in and convention held Labor Day weekend.
In 1941, Taylor soloed and served in both World War II (U.S. Army Air Forces) and the Korean War. He has worked as an aircraft mechanic and airport manager in addition to buying and selling airplanes and restoring them. An expert in vintage aircraft, Taylor was often called upon in the production of television commercials and motion pictures, as both a consultant and pilot.
In 1994, Taylor was inducted into the Iowa Aviation Hall of Fame having founded the Antique Airplane Association in 1953. In support of AAA and APM, Taylor published “The Antique Airfield Runway” magazine, which features articles and stories about the peculiarities, the mystique, the nuts and bolts, and the joy of rebuilding, maintaining and flying antique airplanes.
AAA currently has more than 20 chapters throughout the world which help promote antique aircraft “type” clubs, including the Interstate, Culver, Corben, Fairchild, Great Lakes, Pietenpol, Rearwin, Parrakeet, Hatz and Travel Air.
From the sidelines, many people may have viewed Taylor and the founder of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Paul H. Poberezny, as fierce competitors, and nothing could be further from the truth. Taylor and Poberezny may have been friendly rivals, but were also friends and respected one another, held memberships in each other’s organizations, and would often attend one another’s fly-ins at the invitation of the other.
Taylor is survived by his sons Barry Taylor and Brent Taylor (Marcy); daughter Holly Taylor; granddaughters Nicole Helm (Rich), Dr. Whitney LeFevre (Nick), and Taylor Beck, and grandson Benjamin Taylor; great-grandchildren John and Joseph Helm, and Aidan LeFevre; and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his wife Eleanor Lorraine (Swanson) in 2006.
For additional information about Robert L. Taylor, and the Antique Airplane Association and Airpower Museum, visit www.antiqueairfield.com.