EAA Chapter 533

Elmira-Corning Airport, NY - The Malcolm Winnick Chapter

Chapter History

The History of EAA Chapter 533 "Malcolm Winnick" Chapter

By Dick Kurtzenburger


In our chapter history, we need to credit Malcom Winnick. Malcom was a regular visitor to the early EAA conventions at Rockford, Illinois, then later at Oshkosh. Although he never soloed due to a heart condition, he lived aviation and was a regular visitor at the airport on Sunday mornings. Those going to a fly in breakfast would usually offer Malcom a spare seat to go along.

I had found a basket case of an OX-5 Waco in Trade-A-Plane. I promptly brought it to my shop on the Holding Point. It was just like the one I had as a kid on the farm in Indiana. Word got around about this airplane. Lee and Vivian Robbins wrote a story about it in a weekly Horseheads, NY, newspaper. It generated much interest in former and present aviators. Malcom was one of the first to visit my project and I, as he missed me at the airport. He would help me sort old rusty "JUNQUE". At the same time he would show pictures of the aircraft being displayed at Rockford, and Oshkosh. It didn't take long for some regulars to gather: Tony Mruk, Al Ryan, Norm Griswold, Don Narde, Howard Reese and others. Malcom suggested that we start our own EAA chapter and offered to do the tedious footwork and correspondence with EAA HQ. We all felt that we would accept his help and made him our first President. As the chapter grew, we would meet at my shop for meetings. Meetings were mostly hangar flying with tall stories, but we did get help from Dave Welles, an engineer and test pilot at Schweizer Aircraft. Dave would " try" to have sessions on metal forming, riveting, etc. Mike Withey would cook hot dogs, and have some drinks. Member Don Kinzle donated some lumber to build a small EAA room in the corner of my shop. Dave Thurston visited a number of times offering engineering advice. Dave had developed the "TEAL" seaplane that Schweizer built for a short time. Leaving there, he gave the chapter a supercharged Lycoming IO-360 mockup engine.

After several years, with membership growing, we moved into a building (a former restaurant) next to ElAerCo, the FBO at the Elmira Corning Regional Airport. From there we moved to an old barn that stood near the road. This was shared by the Boy Scouts and EAA Chapter 533. It was there that we started our first project. Our meeting room at the old barn generated interest in building "something". We bought the plans and some of the parts that had been started as a Jodel 2 place but had been abandoned. Don Miller sold us a 90HP Franklin engine for $500. The wooden fuselage was skinned in our improvised shop in the barn. When it came to building the wing (being a one piece wing) more space was needed. Don Narde offered space in his shop on 14th Street; Elmira, NY, where the parts of the wing were glued together. We built up the monospar, and assembled all the ribs to it. We even installed the ailerons. About then the volunteers started to disappear. That project died a slow death with fewer and fewer volunteers showing up for the work sessions. So, the Jodel was sold. At another time we purchased a "Chuparosa" It was a real deal, with a freshly majored C-85, and it was sold at a good profit.

It was in the barn that Don Narde brought in a gas stove and an old refrigerator and established cooking pancakes for the members. We were advised that the barn was to be torn down to make room for a parking lot. Elmira Aeronautical Corporation offered us the use of the room above their office. It had been used by the Air Force Reserve Squadron, and was the best we ever had for meetings. I remember that Howard Reese and myself decided we would take the drapes down and take them to a laundromat for a good wash job. When the wash cycle was over, we got quite a shock. All we found in the wash machines were shreds. Those old drapes were really rotten. In this new meeting room our weekly Sunday AM breakfasts reached a new high. Attendance at these $1.00 breakfasts far exceeded the attendance at the regular meetings. Record keeping, if any, was done on scraps of paper that could be fished out of someone’s pocket for a report at the meetings. It was mighty hard when Sharon took over the secretary’s job. She had to gather and sort and put the required info into order. Credit also needs to go to John Flanagan for organizing our treasury and investing our balance for future use. The chapter seemed to get some impetus when member Wes McKinney joined and offered to help finance a building of our own, so that we could have our own shop, our own airplane and get involved in the true spirit of EAA, by educating our members in the facts about home building aircraft.

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