|EAA's 2013 Dorothy Hilbert Award recipient Carla Larsh.
By Gary Flick
July 28, 2013 - EAA is proud to present Carla Larsh with the Dorothy Hilbert Award, which honors exemplary volunteerism by a female.
Larsh, a retired schoolteacher who spends her summers in Brownsburg, Indiana (and Oshkosh) and her winters in Sebring, Florida, has volunteered in the Ultralight area for 25 years.
"In 1988, 88 Cessna 120s and 140s flew to Oshkosh early in the show," Larsh said. "I had gone to the Ultralight Red Barn to volunteer with some of the ladies working there, and have been volunteering in the same barn each year since!"
Her quarter century in the Red Barn barely scratches the surface of the volunteer work Larsh has done in regard to experimental aircraft.
Her late husband Phil, who passed away in 2000, served on the EAA Ultralight Council and bought her five hours of instruction for her birthday one year.
"Five turned into 10, then 20, and soon we purchased a Cessna 120 to fly," Larsh said.
Phil had trouble keeping his medical due to the meds he was on, and the couple took to ultralight flying. "Fun, low, and slow," as Carla put it.
Phil earned his instructor certificate, and the pair developed a 2,800-foot grass runway on their farm and gave hundreds of hours of instruction. This turned into Larsh Flight Park, where the Larshs rented hangars, sold parts, ran a total engine repair center, and promoted aviation.
During this time, Carla and Phil traveled across the country representing the EAA Ultralight Council. They implemented 10 safety seminars in their native Indiana and were charter members of the Airpark Owners and Operators Association, for which Carla served as secretary.
She was also secretary of EAA Chapter 256 and has written articles for Experimenter, Sport Pilot, and Ultralight Flying magazines.
In addition to AirVenture, Carla has volunteered at Sun 'n Fun for 26 years as well as many smaller aviation events.
When her husband passed away, Tom Poberezny asked Carla to become a member of the Ultralight Council. The following year she accepted a position on the EAA board of directors representing the ultralight community, for which she has "humbly enjoyed the duties through the years."
Inspired by Amelia Earhart, the Ninety-Nines, and her late husband, Carla has dedicated time, heart, and a large portion of her life to experimental aircraft.