|Paul Poberezny (right) honors Chris Heintz Wednesday at the EAA Nature Center.
On Wednesday evening, in a large tent located across from the Nature Center, aircraft designer Chris Heintz was greeted by nearly 250 attendees who gathered together for a dinner in his honor. Hosted by Sebastien Heintz, Chris’ son and president of Zenith Aircraft Company of Mexico Missouri, and Charlie Becker, director of EAA Member Programs, attendees came from as far away as Venezuela and South Africa.
Paul Poberenzy was the guest speaker and gave the message that we are all family, which is especially relevant to the Heintz family of five sons who are all in the process of following in their father’s footsteps. It was especially endearing to hear Chris speak passionately of his younger years at EAA, where his entire family was part of the adventure, with Chris flying in with his older sons, while his wife was driving in with the younger ones. Sebastien mentioned how he met his wife at OSH when they were both young teens, and he had his 17-year-old son, Calvin, beside him.
Several others spoke about Chris’ 40 years of designing aircraft where he has created nearly 25 different designs, both homebuilt and certified, and what it means to them to be a part of Chris’ extended family. Of particular interest was the group from West Africa who use Chris’ STOL aircraft for charitable medical work. Medicine On the Move (MoM) is dedicated to training “West Africans to support West Africans,” and the only way they can effectively move from village to village is through the affordable operation of Chris’ aircraft.
Other notable speakers included:
William Wynne of FlyCorvair.com who has helped more than 50 people get airborne using the Corvair engine conversion in Zenith aircraft. There were not less than 12 Corvair-powered aircraft at the convention, most of which were in Zeniths.
Doug Dugger of Quality Sport Planes who flew his CH 601XL in from California to be part of the tribute that includes more than 50 of Chris’ other designs that are on the field this week.
For 34 years Chris has been coming to the annual EAA convention, and in the early days he would stay with Steve Wittman in his home. He’s passed along his legacy to his five sons who we’re certain will continue to bring Chris’ designs to market for many years to follow.