Friday night, 2/12/21 was a night of fun and celebration for EAA863 as we celebrated the 35th birthday of our chapter. On February 13, 1986, a group of Lebanon locals held their first chapter meeting and signed the charter forming, chapter 863.
Tired of driving
In 1985 -1986 M54, did not have an EAA chapter but had a very active aviation community. That community was dispersed though, as many members had to drive to Nashville to join other aviation enthusiasts in EAA Chapter 162.
Three original members, Paul Rotenberry (left), Robert Redmond (middle), and Myron Lasater (right), speak to the crowd gathered to celebrate EAA863’s 35th birthday.
One night, Robert Redmond and Paul Rotenberry discussed forming a Lebanon based chapter while driving down to Nashville to chapter 162 for a meeting. “We just got tired of driving to Nashville” shares Redmond, as he speaks to an eager crowd learning about EAA863’s history. On the drive back we decided to apply with the national EAA to start a chapter and they sent us a packet, relates Redmond.
First meeting concerns
The first meeting was a cold night. Redmond explains that “We had our first meeting on February 13, 1986 with about 5-6 inches of snow on the ground. We were so concerned that no one would so show up. In fact, we had about 40 people attend. We only needed 10 signatures on the charter and all 40 signed it. Click here to see the original charter. We had to use the back of the charter to accommodate all of the names, laughed Redmond.
EAA863 was very active and had a large home building community. Redmond elaborates that, “There were several members who were building planes at the time” as he calls them by name. “Our chapter was so active that we even got the attention of Paul Poberezny” (the founder of the national EAA). Myron Lasater agrees, “Paul took a special interest in our chapter. He even came down here several times.”
Redmond encouraged the volunteers to continue their work, especially with the youth. “Our youth are our future; they will be leading the chapter one day.” EAA863 has been very active in youth programs throughout the years. Redmond went on to share how the chapter had inspired many young people in the aviation field. Many today are pilots: both in the military and airlines. Myron Lasater was one of those youth. Lasater, who was just 13 at the time 863 formed, has been with the chapter ever since and now is Chief Pilot for a large construction company. Redmond challenged the group present to jump in and take on a leadership role or volunteer. “Without [volunteers] we would not have the chapter we have.”
Joshua Woodward, pictured right, now a pilot, started flying as a youth member in EAA863.
The future of EAA863 is bright. Myron Lasater shared how he had been with the chapter since the beginning as a youth member and the chapter has a strong future. Lasater also relayed that our youth members are up to 18 registered members and are working on their sub-chapter name. Lasater echoed Redmond’s words about volunteering and encouraged many to jump in.
Redmond, Rotenberry, and Lasater remain active today in the chapter. All three men routinely fly Young Eagles during breakfasts events and volunteer their time during the summer FOP kids camp. You can find the trio at the airport, M54, during their off time either flying, or hanging out in a hangar, talking about aviation.
Are you interested in learning more? We would love to have you join our chapter as a member! We welcome anyone with an interest in serving their community – both non-pilots, and pilots. Sign up here today!