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Hightower Winds Way Back Toward Oshkosh

Rod Hightower's Grassroots Pilot Tour
A pleasant night in Jacksonville allowed the hangar door to be open for Rod Hightower’s Grassroots Pilot Tour stop.

Rod Hightower's Grassroots Pilot Tour
A high-flying welcome was part of Rod Hightower’s Grassroots Pilot Tour in Jacksonville.

Rod Hightower's Grassroots Pilot Tour
Rod Hightower (center) asks Ron Alexander (left) and Ed Bowlin about some of the history of Candler Field near Atlanta during Tuesday’s Grassroots Pilot Tour stop.

Rod Hightower's Grassroots Pilot Tour
Rod Hightower sits in Stallion 51’s L-39 during his visit with Lee Lauderback, right.

April 7, 2011 — EAA President Rod Hightower made the most of his journey back home this week following the Sun ’n Fun Fly-In with several stops to meet and talk with EAA members. First stop was Kissimmee, Florida, and Lee Lauderback’s Stallion 51 operation for a tour of the Stallion 51 offices and hangars, plus the opportunity to sit in its L-39 that will be used in unusual attitude training for corporate pilots.

Then it was over to nearby Warbird Adventures to tour its private museum, T-6 operation, and restoration facility including the amazing Fw 190 rebuild project. Rod also discussed the Reno Air Races and tactics with owner (and Reno winner) Thom Richard, and even squeezed into the only flying example of Molt Taylor’s Aerocar, which is displayed there.

On Monday night, it was off to Jacksonville, where Rod attended a Grassroots Pilot Tour stop with more than 150 people, hosted by EAA Chapters 193 and 1379. That was followed by Tuesday’s tour presentation in Williamson, Georgia, for more than 100 EAAers, organized by EAA Chapters 498 and 690.

On Wednesday evening, the Grassroots Pilot Tour sweep continued with a visit to Gastonia, North Carolina, for an appearance hosted by EAA Chapter 309 of Charlotte. That stop was a showcase of EAA resourcefulness, as the Carolinas were hit by severe thunderstorms the night before, cutting power to the airport and the event facility. Through ingenuity and a generator, Rod was able to share his thoughts about EAA and its future of creating the next generation of aviators.

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