EAA Heartland Chapter 1240 - The Spirit of Aviation

Heartland EAA Chapter 1240

Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 1240 in partnership with the School Board of High-lands County and the Sebring Regional Airport have developed an initiative to expand Youth Aviation Education and the STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, and Math) curriculum.

This effort has enabled the community and other individuals to generate resources leading to the construction of an Aviation Development Center on the flight line at Sebring Regional Airport.

What we do:

This partnership provides “hands-on” activities and aviation experiences through EAA Young Eagles flights, workshops on aircraft maintenance and repair using donated aircraft, and flight training opportunities and scholarships for youth. Our youth is 25% of our population, but 100% of our future.

What your involvement will do:

The programs at the Aviation Development Center will be supported by the funds generated from community partners. We will be able to continue to engage youth and open opportunities for them in the aviation and aerospace industry. We need your support and involvement for this community re-source. The Center is staffed and programs provided by volunteers. All the funds will go to support the operation and programs at the Center.

Will you please join us in helping our youth?

 

EAA Heartland Chapter 1240 History

EAA Heartland Chapter 1241was incorporated in 1998 and was originally located in Avon Park. A few years later our main area of operations and T-hangar location was moved to Sebring Regional Airport (SRA).
SRA provided two T-hangars for the chapter to use rent free to store our chapter materials and conduct our pancake breakfasts. EAA Heartland Chapter 1240 is a non-profit 501 C (3) corporation.

As the chapter developed, one of the main objectives of the chapter became youth aviation education and involvement. The EAA Young Eagles program provided a vehicle for this area to develop. Members continued to build their own projects and because of our youth emphasis we were able to secure a donated 1958 Aeronca Tri-Champ through Build-A-Plane as a youth project to put new fabric on the aircraft, and a few years later another 1946 Aeronca Champ through a private donation.

One member John Rousch was teaching an Aerospace class at Lake Placid High School, Lake Placid, Florida. The course was developed in 1999 and grew to be a very popular program at the school. At the time it was the only aerospace/aviation high school course in the school district and one of the few in the state.

In 2010, a Memorandum of Agreement was initiated and developed by EAA Chapter 1240 to form a partnership between EAA Chapter 1240, the Sebring Regional Airport, The Highlands County School Board, and the Heartland Workforce Board to promote youth aviation education and the support the STEM curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

This partnership was recognized as unique and a forward-thinking effort to bring more attention and involvement in aviation activities within our community. It proved to be very successful and led to the regional and local support and a grant from the James Ray foundation of Naples Florida to build The EAA Chapter 1240 Aviation Development Center. That became the chapter headquarters and the center of many community-based events focusing on youth aviation education. The chapter membership doubled after the building was completed in August of 2013. The chapter continues to grow today with over 100 members.

There is a significant aviation history at Sebring Regional Airport during WW II and the B-17 training base known as Hendricks Field. The chapter recognizes and supports the significance of this legacy. Hosting vintage aircraft like the EAA B-17 “Aluminum Overcast”, assisting with Warbird formation training, and having the chapter restore a vintage aircraft (1946 Aeronca Champ – youth project), and one of our members recently purchasing a Stearman that was once based at Tuskegee. This is all a part of EAA 1240’s on-going effort to recognize our history while having a vision that takes us into the future with our youth programs. Our youth are 25% of our population and 100% of our future.

In 2016 John Rousch Aviation Aerospace instructor for the School Board of Highlands County retired. Youth aviation education programs continued at the EAA Chapter 1240 Aviation Development Center (ADC) with aircraft restoration and EAA Young Eagle flights.

2017 the Aviation / Aerospace curriculum in the school district continued after a local corporate sponsor, Lockwood Aviation, provided funding for Rousch to teach the Aviation / Aerospace curriculum for the School District This program was offered as an on-line class with one or two Saturdays a month spent at the ADC to complete the lab hour requirements for the class. The students were building an AirCam aircraft that was purchased by astronaut Story Musgrave and turned into a Chapter 1240 youth build project. Musgrave has assisted with the build when he is not traveling the world. He is the NASA astronaut that led the repair of the Hubble telescope.

2018 saw the Aviation / Aerospace curriculum expand as the school Board of Highlands County in partnership with EAA Chapter 1240 was selected to be one of 50 high schools out of over 37,000 to offer the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) high school aviation curriculum. This was quite an honor for the district and the chapter. The class was held at Lake Placid High School and taught by John Rousch and Mike Halpern. Lab hours for the course continued to be held on Saturdays at the ADC building the $200,000 AirCam.

In March of 2019, EAA Chapter 1240 received a grant from the Ray Foundation and to expand the ADC and extend the AOPA youth aviation education curriculum to all three high schools in the school district at the Aviation Development Center for the 2019-20 school year. Students will travel to the ADC two mornings a week for two periods. One period will be spent in the classroom, the second period will be in the hangar section of the building another AirCam for their lab requirement. The Aviation / Aerospace class carries a science credit for the high school students. After the two periods, students will be transported back to their zoned school for a late lunch and 3rd and 4th periods. This effort will also involve youth being able to job shadow and intern with many of the aviation businesses and other technical operations located at the Sebring Regional Airport.

The grant runs for four years, with each succeeding year the school board picks up more of the program costs and the Ray Foundation less so by the end of four years, the program is totally funded by the school board and community sponsors.

In January of 2019 EAA Chapter 1240 was able to present the first National Ray Foundation $10,000 flight training scholarship to Nicole Blount, Lake Placid High School Aviation / Aerospace student. The Ray foundation has provided EAA National with one million dollars per year so the 900+ EAA chapter world-wide could apply to provide flight training scholarships for youth. Much of the procedures and the structure of the EAA / Ray Foundation scholarship program was modeled after what the Ray Foundation has done with EAA Chapter 1240. In 2016 the Ray Foundation committed $8,000 per year for five years to EAA Chapter 1240 for youth flight training scholarships. Three local you have successfully completed their flight training and are now private pilots. Nationally 80% of student pilots (adults and youth) do not finish their flight training. 100% of EAA Chapter 1240’s scholarships students have completed their training and earned their private pilot license.

The sign on the ADC says “EAA Chapter 1240 Aviation Development Center” but in reality, it is our “Community Aviation Development Center”. The chapter 1240 monthly pancake breakfast is very popular and well attended, averaging over 100 people each month. The chapter also is host to other aviation groups, programs, and special events.

For more information about EAA Chapter 1240 and the programs offered, contact John Rousch at johnrousch73@gmail.com, call or text 863-273-0522.

Past and Current Chapter Officers

Years

President

Vice-President

Secretary

Treasurer

Other

1998-2002

Aaron Dermid

Jack Heiring

Bill Leftwich

Ron Owen

2002-2007

George Pope

Joe Barnhart

Bill Latham

Ron Owen

2007

Joe Barnhart

Ron Owen

Joe Barnhart

Bob Vanderploeg

2008-2009

George Eschenbach

William Ely

Joe Barnhart

Bob Vanderploeg

2010

Ron Owen

Bob Wood

Joe Barnhart

Dave Galati

John Rousch Young Eagles Coordinator

2011

Ron Owen

John Rousch

Rich McCann

Bob Wood

John Rousch Young Eagles Coordinator

2012

Ron Owen

John Rousch

Rich McCann

Bob Wood

John Rousch Young Eagles Coordinator

2013

Phil Lockwood

John Rousch

Rich McCann

Bob Wood

John Rousch Young Eagles Coordinator

2014

Phil Lockwood

John Rousch

Art Ianuzzi

Bob Wood

John Rousch Young Eagles Coordinator

2015

Phil Lockwood

John Rousch

Art Ianuzzi

Becky Rousch

John Rousch Young Eagles Coordinator

2016

John Rousch

Dale Huffman

Becky Rousch

Eileen Game

John Rousch school Board liaison

2017

John Rousch

Dale Huffman

Becky Rousch

Eileen Game

Mike Halpern AirCam build coordinator

2018

John Rousch

Dale Huffman

Raye Lampe

Michael Griffith

Mike Halpern AirCam build coordinator

2019

John Rousch*

Dale Huffman

Raye Lampe

Michael Griffith

Mike Halpern AirCam build coordinator

*Rousch is resigning as EAA Chapter 1240 President at the end of 2019 to manage the Community Aviation / Aerospace Youth Education Grant from the Ray Foundation. Elections for new officers will be held in December of 2019 and installed on January 1, 2020