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Sunday, June 4, 2023

The Villages Aviation Club visits EAA Chapter 534 in Leesburg

It wasn’t a dark and stormy night, but a bright sunny, warm day for the visit of The Villages Aviation Club to the Experimental Aviation Association Chapter 534 at the Leesburg International Airport in Leesburg.

The Villages Aviation Club is located in the retirement community called The Villages. It is only about ten miles north of the Leesburg Airport. Because they live so close, club members elected to drive to the BBQ lunch served and cooked by EAA Chapter 534 on March 11. EAA Chapter 534 was the host but the VAC supplied the food.

Reed Panos far right Reed Panos far right explains the process of building the reserve fuel tank and its placement within the center wing section for the Pietenpol aircraft
Reed Panos, far right, explains the process of building the reserve fuel tank and its placement within the center wing section for the Pietenpol aircraft.

There has always been a close relationship between the VAC and EAA Chapter 534 and several of their members have dual memberships in both groups. Also, about half of Chapter 534 members actually live in The Villages.

Both groups have a large membership, but The Villages club is the largest with 150 members. On this day,70 of their members made the trip south.

They are not an EAA chapter, but members are much the same type of folks that are in Chapter 534. Many are pilots, both active and retired as well as aviation enthusiasts. Those that own planes keep them at airports close by, including Leesburg. Several of their members routinely come to Young Eagle Rallies at EAA Chapter 534 to fly young people. These pilots volunteer their time, planes and fuel to make sure kids get an enjoyable free ride so they can experience the wonder of flight.

Tony Lucchese and David Hopkins from left were the skilled chefs working two grills.
Tony Lucchese and David Hopkins, from left ,were the skilled chefs working two grills.

VAC members help support the Chapter’s 534 aviation youth program, Squadron 534, and Jim Waymire, VAC’s President, gave the chapter’s President Mike Hage, a check for $500 as a donation. This was much appreciated.

They meet monthly at the Seabreeze Recreation Center in The Villages. They don’t have a hangar or an airport of their own and they seemed to enjoy their visit with the EAA group.

EAA Chapter 534 had about 25 of their members cooking, serving, and explaining the various aircraft building projects going on in their hangar. They had displays set up to pique people’s interest to ask questions. In some instances, VAC members were able to pass on information about various building projects to aid the chapter’s members.

Some local celebrities attended the festivities. Two Ray Aviation Scholars, Chloe Kadletz and Nick Hopkins helped out with the food service. Also attending was a Leesburg City Commissioner and Chapter 534 member, Alan Reisman, who was checking out the aviation youth program.

The members of both groups have similar interests in General Aviation, flying and aircraft building. Many hangar flying discussions took place and were enjoyed by all.

If you wish to find out more about The Villages Aviation Club, EAA Chapter 534 or EAA National you may go to the following web sites villagesaviation.weebly.com, www.eaachapter534.org or www.eaa.org

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