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New Hangar Dedication Highlights Grassroots Pilot Tour

Grassroots Pilot Tour at EAA Chapter 44, Rochester, NY
Rod Hightower meets with Chris Wall, who in 2000 flew around the world with friend Dan Dominguez in a restored Rockwell Aero Commander 560E. Photo by James Cavanaugh

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June 23, 2011 – It’s not every day a chapter hosts the EAA president and formally dedicates its new building, but Chapter 44 of Rochester, New York, did both on June 21. EAA President/CEO Rod Hightower held a Grassroots Pilot Tour Tuesday night at Ledgedale Airpark (7G0) and helped dedicate the chapter’s new “Sport Aviation Center” along with members from Chapter 46 (Buffalo) and Rochester’s Ultralight Chapter 95. More than 125 people were on hand.

“Just a beautiful facility,” Hightower said of the center, which provides plenty of meeting and work space. “Chapter 44 is a switched-on, exemplary EAA chapter that has a real can-do attitude. They know how to grow a chapter with lots of family activities, Young Eagles rallies, and events to engage both builders and aircraft owners.”

A wide variety of airplanes were on the ramp Tuesday, including homebuilt, warbird, vintage, and production aircraft. During the program Tuesday night, Hightower was made an honorary member of Chapter 44, receiving a plaque and chapter shirt. Hightower reciprocated by presenting Chapter President Tom Bowdler with a plaque to recognize its hosting of the pilot tour event.

Chapter 44 always brings a large group to Oshkosh via the annual Oshkosh Airlift – a jet charter that brings a planeful of aviation enthusiasts from the area to Oshkosh every year. This year marks the 30th anniversary for the Airlift, with many participants camping together in Camp Scholler. Another Oshkosh tradition occurs there each morning during the convention as Carol and John Palesh of nearby EAA Chapter 46 in Buffalo cook breakfast for the compound.

Chapter 44 is one of 20 finalists for five $10,000 grants from the Lightspeed Aviation Foundation.

This weekend the chapter will welcome the public to its new facility with a grand opening/open house on Saturday, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, visit the Chapter 44 website.

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