Paul Poberezny was born on September 14, 1921, in Leavenworth County, Kansas. The family soon relocated to the south side of Milwaukee in a house under an airmail route. Paul grew up watching a stream of biplanes flying low and slow in all kinds of weather. As he got older, he could tell from the sounds overhead that more powerful engines were being introduced to the fleet.
The bug had already bitten, but it drew blood in May 1927 when Lindbergh landed in Paris. Paul knew that he wanted to spend his life designing, building and flying airplanes. Paul says that since age 5 he has said the word “airplane” at least once every day. For 30 years he said “airplane, sir” as he served his country as a pilot, flight instructor and mechanic. He holds all seven military pilot wings. The roots of EAA began with Paul’s collection of airplane parts from crashes and junked aircraft, which he turned into a museum in the family basement. EAA’s first fly-in was in Milwaukee in 1953.
Paul served as president until 1989, when he was named chairman of the board. During that time, EAA had grown from a basement operation into a worldwide organization with more than 100,000 members. Paul has more than 30,000 flight hours in over 400 types of aircraft, including more than 170 homebuilts and 15 of his own design. In the earliest years of EAA he would speak on aerobatic aircraft design and maintenance, including his “Acrosport” biplane and “Pober Pixie” monoplane. EAA has been unparalleled in advancing education, homebuilt aircraft and sport aviation. Paul’s son Tom has been quoted “My dad lives EAA 24 hours a day” and peers say his business, social and aviation connections were inseparable. Poberezny retired in 1989 at age 68, turning EAA leadership over to his son Tom.