EAA No. 2 Carl Schultz Dies
Served as EAA’s first vice-president
EAA’s first Executive Board. Robert Nolinski – Secretary (left), Paul Poberezny – President (center), Carl Schultz - Vice-President (right).
Carl Schultz (right) with EAA Chapter 18 Technical Counselor and former EAA Board Member Ron Scott.
January 3, 2011 — Carl E. Schultz, EAA 2, who helped found the EAA, serving as the organization’s first vice-president, died on December 25. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1918, Carl spent his entire life devoted to airplanes, flying, sawmills, his family, and, most of all, his “bride,” Pearl. Schultz soloed in 1937 and earned his airframe and powerplant certificate around the same time. Aside from a brief stint as a co-pilot for BF Goodrich in the 1940s, Carl’s mastery of metal and mechanics served him well throughout his professional career as an aircraft mechanic and later in the research engineering departments of several major small engine manufacturers. His mechanical acumen was present at chapter meetings too, as one Chapter 18 member remarked, “He always had some tool or gadget to demonstrate or some helpful trick or technique to explain that would make our lives easier.”
EAA Chapter 18 member Ron Finet remembers bonding with Carl over scrap metal. “It was our ability to look at a pile of rusty iron and not see scrap, but see the potential to turn it into a tool or something useful, with just a little machining and welding. Whether this is a blessing or a curse depends on if you are talking to his wife Pearl or my wife Gayle, as it means, we can never throw anything away.”
Carl was already an established businessman in the Milwaukee area in 1953 when he helped Paul Poberezny found the Experimental Aircraft Association, serving as the organization’s first vice-president. "Carl was a very nice guy, and he was always very proud of the organization that he'd been a part of since the beginning," said EAA Founder Paul Poberezny.
In the 1940s Carl helped develop de-icing boots for the DC-3 and worked as a mechanic for American Airlines in Detroit during World War II. In 1949, after investing in the start-up of an FBO in Michigan, Carl returned to Milwaukee, where he purchased several gas stations. It was also at this time that he purchased the summer home of the Pabst Brewing family in Franklin, Wisconsin, just a half mile from the eventual headquarters of the EAA in Hales Corners, Wisconsin. As EAA grew, Carl retired from his administrative duties, preferring to focus on his family, but he never stopped participating in the organization.
In 1944 Carl purchased NC13546, a 1933 Davis D-1W racer, for $500 while working as a mechanic for American Airlines. The aircraft was built from existing parts and traded hands often. Modifications were made by many owners, including Schultz, who designed and installed the brake system that is still on the aircraft today. Carl sold the aircraft in 1958 and it was acquired in 1983 by Gene Chase, who donated it to the EAA museum. Schultz also owned a Luscombe Phantom which was displayed in EAA’s first museum in Hales Corners.
Besides being a founding member of EAA, Carl was a treasured friend and resource for EAA Chapter 18 (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) members. He collected a lot of equipment over the years and often gave much of it away to other members for just a song. “No matter what a person was working on, Carl always had ideas about it and was not shy about sharing those ideas,” Finet remembers. “Anyone around EAA Chapter 18 soon became acquainted with him.” Carl wasn’t shy about sharing a joke at meetings. He was one of the chapter’s technical counselors and, especially if he didn’t have something to report, he always had a joke ready to tell. Carl was so reliable in this regard that his jokes were unofficially part of the meeting agenda.
Longtime friend Larry Fitzgerald remembers Carl in the mid-1960s and early 1970s when he was working on the factory floor of the Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC) following service in Vietnam. Co-workers discovered he liked to tinker with gyrocopters and was building a Scorpion helicopter with an Evinrude engine. He soon found himself preparing for an interview in the research engineering section when he bumped into a very chatty fellow who wanted to talk airplanes. It turned out to be a shadow interview and soon Fitzgerald would work alongside Carl for the next three years; their friendship would last the rest of Carl’s life.
Some of Carl’s most interesting professional work was at OMC, where he participated in much of the prototype engineering for snowmobiles. For a time he and other technicians and engineers would be flown to Michigan in a DC-3 to work with the Williams Research Corporation (now Williams International) on an experimental stern-drive gas-turbine marine engine. Carl and his colleagues were able to perfect the design, but it was never advanced beyond the research phase. An 18-hp snowblower Carl worked on met a similar fate.
In his life Carl worked for BF Goodrich, American Airlines, OMC, Allis-Chalmers, and Harley-Davidson, which is a testament to his love of mechanical things. Among his other prides are his sawmills that he used to cut all the wood for his last home, which he and Pearl built themselves.
Carl Schultz is survived by his wife, Pearl, four daughters, 10 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren. Memorials may be sent to the EAA Carl Schultz Memorial Fund, EAA, P.O. Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903.