A hub of creativity for early airplane builders: North Carolina? Ohio? Nope—Oregon. And these Oregonians had an independent streak.
- By Ken Scott
- Air & Space magazine, May 2007
Oregon Aviation Historical Society
(Page 4 of 4)
In 1978, John Patton asked Bernard how it had felt to put the blade against the hangars. Bernard paused for a long time, then said, “Did you ever want to cry, but the tears just wouldn’t come?” He died the following year.
Today, the Experimental category is one of the most vibrant of American aviation. Several hundred new amateur-built airplanes are registered—federally, of course—in the United States every year. An entire industry has evolved to supply homebuilders with kits, materials, and parts. The Oshkosh, Wisconsin-based Experimental Aircraft Association—Homebuilder Central—has 921 chapters across the United States, and dozens more in other nations. The Outlaws, says Carol Skinner, archivist of the Oregon Aviation Historical Society, “paved the way for pilots who could not afford production aircraft but wanted to have their own.”
Fittingly enough, today, some of the largest companies in the homebuilding field, such as Van’s Aircraft and Lancair, are based in Oregon—almost in the shadow of Bernard’s airport.