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Apollo 8 Commander Frank Borman is Keynote Speaker at EAA Wright Brothers Banquet on Dec. 17

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. - (Nov. 12, 2008) — Frank Borman, whose unique aviation career included his role of the Apollo 8 mission that in December 1968 became the first manned craft to orbit the moon, will be the featured speaker at EAA’s annual Wright Brothers Memorial Banquet on Wednesday, Dec. 17. The banquet, held in the EAA AirVenture Museum’s Eagle Hangar in Oshkosh, will commemorate the 105th anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ first powered flight at Kitty Hawk, N.C.

Borman’s appearance at EAA will take place just four days before the 40th anniversary of the launch of the Apollo 8 mission. Borman, James Lovell and William Anders spent six days in space, making important discoveries that allowed the first manned moon landing to succeed less than a year later. Among the most memorable public highlights of that mission was the iconic “earthrise” photo taken from the Apollo 8 capsule in moon orbit, and the astronauts’ reading from the Bible’s Book of Genesis on Christmas Eve 1968.

“We are very honored to have Frank Borman join us as EAA celebrates the anniversary of powered flight,” said Tom Poberezny, EAA president. “While most people know of Frank’s accomplishments in space, his entire aviation career has been a unique experience. He has had the opportunity to see aviation from many perspectives and as a major figure in the history of flight.”

Tickets for the banquet can be reserved through the secure website available through www.eaa.org homepage or by calling 920-426-6880. Tickets are $35 each for EAA members and $40 each for non-EAA members.

Borman learned to fly at the age of 15, attended the U.S. Military Academy and earned his Air Force wings in 1951. As a career Air Force officer, his assignments included service as a fighter pilot, operational pilot and instructor, experimental test pilot and assistant professor at West Point.

Selected by NASA for astronaut training in 1962, Borman’s first flight into space was as commander of the Gemini 7 mission of 1965. Borman’ second spaceflight was as commander of the Apollo 8 mission, the first manned voyage to a celestial body. After launching on December 21, 1968, the crew took three days to travel to the moon. They orbited the moon 10 times over the course of 20 hours, during which the crew made a Christmas Eve television broadcast in which they read the first 10 verses from the Book of Genesis. At the time, this was the most watched TV program in history.

Borman’s retirement from the Air Force in 1970 did not end his aviation career. He joined Eastern Airlines and by 1976 had risen to chairman, president and chief executive officer, posts he held until retirement in 1986.

Since then, much of Borman’s time has spent restoring and flying vintage and warbird aircraft. He has completed over 17 restorations, including several P-51 Mustangs, a Bell P-63 Kingcobra and a Waco SRE, several of which have appeared and won awards at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. He has also participated in the U.S. Air Force Heritage Flight, in which old and new military airplanes are demonstrated together at air shows.

Borman’s many awards include the Congressional Space Medal of Honor, the Harmon Trophy, the Collier Trophy, and the National Geographic Society's Hubbard Medal. In addition to many honorary degrees, he has been inducted into the International Aerospace Hall of Fame, the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame and the National Aviation Hall of Fame.

More information on the Dec. 17 event is available at the “Special Events” area of the EAA museum website at www.airventuremuseum.org.

EAA embodies the spirit of aviation through the world’s most engaged community of aviation enthusiasts. EAA’s 170,000 members and 1,000 local chapters enjoy the fun and camaraderie of sharing their passion for flying, building and restoring recreational aircraft. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 800-JOIN-EAA (800-564-6322) or go to www.eaa.org.

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