OSHKOSH, WIS. – Frank Christensen, creator of the popular Christen Eagle II aerobatic biplane, was the guest speaker at EAA’s Wright Brothers Memorial Banquet at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wis., December 14, 2012. In 1978, Christensen unveiled the first truly complete kit aircraft that revolutionized the homebuilt movement. His unique approach made the hands-on challenge of building an airplane a simpler, more achievable project for the novice builder.
Christensen’s prototype Christen Eagle II, which he donated to the EAA AirVenture Museum in 2011, is the centerpiece of a new exhibit, which was dedicated during the reception held prior to this year’s banquet. Funded by EAA lifetime members Lewis Shaw and John Dunham (a Christen Eagle builder), the new exhibit allows museum visitors to understand, appreciate, and be inspired by the kit approach to building aircraft.
As Dunham shared, “The kit came with 24 manuals and every possible part needed to build (the biplane). It even had the razor needed to open the shrink wrap!”
The Eagles Aerobatic Team starring Tom Poberezny, Gene Soucy, and the late Charlie Hillard, helped to make the Christen Eagle II popular during most of the team’s 25-year career.
Hosting the banquet was EAA Board Chairman Jack Pelton, who is managing the daily affairs of the association, while a new president is being sought to replace former EAA President Rod Hightower, who resigned on October 22, 2012.