Epic night at May Chapter Meeting

Calm winds may have prevailed outside the hangar, but inside the hangar, winds of excitement were stirring as members anxiously awaited chapter-member Gary Soloway’s L19 Birddog presentation. Recognition and scholarships filled the air as members were lauded for their accomplishment and scholarship awards. Continue reading to learn more!

EAA863 had a great turnout for the May chapter meeting. It was a night of excitement, tears of joy, recognition, praise, and awe. Speaker Gary Soloway spoke about his L19 birddog. Before his presentation some chapter members were recognized for achieving their aviation goals. In addition, youth chapter members were awarded scholarships to enhance and continue their aviation journey.

Scholarships and Recognition

$10K awarded from EAA and $18K awarded from the Sattler Foundation!

EAA863 asks that everyone join us in acknowledging the following individuals on achieving their aviation goals!

Victoria Teet – Awarded the Ray Aviation Scholarship towards her Private Pilot’s License (PPL)

Matt Loughney – Recently passed his Private Pilot (PPL) checkride

Colin McDonald – Recently passed his Inspection Authorized (IA) Mechanic tests

Sattler Foundation Scholarships Awards

1. Jared Carter

2. Nick Henry

3. Ian Parsons

Dugger Family Faith Scholarship Award

1. Nick Henry

Donald McDonald Sattler Foundation Scholarship Awards

1. Jared Carter

2. Ian Parsons

Congratulations to you all and we wish you all the best in your aviation journey!

L19 Birddog

Indeed, it was a night of celebration! Members and guests celebrated the awards, scholarships and the intensive multi-year work on the L19 Birddog. This particular Birddog was given to Gary Soloway from member Steve Sachs. Sachs said he picked up the airplane a few years ago with intentions to restore it in honor of his military flying classmates, Lt. Lynn R Huddleston and Stephen J Geist. Sachs remembers Lt. Huddleston from their flight training in the US Army, prior to deployment to Vietnam. In Vietnam, Lt. Huddleston and Geist were flying a reconnaissance mission when their L19 Birddog went missing and never returned. Sachs recounted that Huddleston and Geist were officially listed as missing in action (MIA) on 9/26/67. Their plane was never found and their whereabouts are unknown. Sachs reminisced that Huddleston was very calm and an overall great person. After losing Huddleston and Geist in 1967, Sachs said he wanted to restore the airplane that Huddleston flew.


Sachs found the L19 “Birddog” approximately 8 years ago and set out on the painstaking process of restoring it. Due to unforeseen damages incurred during shipping, the restoration took longer than expected.  Sachs reported that he enjoyed the project and set out to build the airplane that Lt. Huddleston was flying. The markings and numbers on the restored airplane are the exact same of that airplane that Lt. Huddleston and Geist flew.

A new mission

As the restoration process continued, Sachs made the decision to gift the airplane to chapter-member Gary Soloway. Sachs asked that Gary finish the airplane, fly it around to events, fly kids and share the love of aviation with the next generation while honoring Lt. Huddleston and Geist. Sachs asked that Gary never charge anyone to ride in this airplane. Gary says that is exactly what he is going to do!

Honor and Appreciation

EAA863 wishes to thank all of those who served in the Vietnam War and we honor and remember those who did not come back. EAA863 would also like to thank all of the chapter members, friends, and guests who assisted on this project. It would not have been possible without all of you. Thank you!

Until next time, blue skies and tail winds

Thank you to everyone who came out! We appreciate all of you, our chapter members, youth group, and board. Please check out the photos below. We hope to see you around the airport at one of our next events. Our chapter meetings are on the 2nd Thursday of every month at 6pm and our breakfast fly-ins are on the 5th Saturday.

Learn More and Join Us

Are you interested in learning more or becoming a member of EAA863? Check about our About Us page for more info, or signup here to become a member.

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