Like many early members of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Louis C. Seno, Sr. of Downers Grove, Illinois, was inspired by an article by EAA Founder & President Paul H. Poberezny that appeared in the May 1955 issue of Mechanic’s Illustrated magazine. The article featured the Corben Baby Ace, a high-wing parasol design that has been credited as one of the aircraft that truly helped jump start the organization.
Seno began construction of a “D” model Baby Ace in the fall of 1956 with his brother and son, in the basement of their Chicago suburban home. He successfully test flew the Baby Ace in July 1961 at the DuPage County Airport in West Chicago.
A few years later, plans for a two-place, side-by-side model of the Ace, called the “Junior Ace,” became available. Once Seno heard about the Junior Ace, he scrambled to gather all of the necessary parts and supplies to start assembling the new aircraft in order to finish it in time to fly it to Rockford, Illinois for the next EAA Fly-in Convention in July 1966. Seno completed the aircraft in time and flew it continually until the fall of 2007 when he retired from flying at age 83.
In addition to the Baby Ace and the Junior Ace, Seno and his family also built a Wag-Aero Sport Trainer (J-3 Cub clone) that won a bronze “Lindy” award for outstanding workmanship at the 1988 EAA Convention. Seno owned and restored several award-winning classic aircraft as well, including a Cessna 170B, Meyers 200D and an Interstate Cadet. Before hanging up his tools, Seno also built a two-place composite aircraft called the KIS TR-1.
During the summer of 1976, Seno circumnavigated the perimeter of the United States to help commemorate the country’s bicentennial celebration. This achievement took him almost 40 days to complete.
As a successful businessman, Seno was president and CEO of a retail men’s formalwear company, which boasted 31 separate locations throughout the Midwest.
Seno’s passion for aviation touched and inspired many people over the years, including his son, Louis C. Seno, Jr., who is an active pilot, an aircraft owner and a business aviation advocate and leader in the industry.
Louis C. Seno, Sr. died peacefully in his home in Downers Grove, Illinois on November 19, 2013 at the age of 89. He was a lifetime member of EAA – membership number 1472.