Replica Plane to Honor EAA Founder Takes Flight

Every Tuesday and Sunday, a group of volunteers meet at the Wausau Downtown Airport to work on their plane; a replica of the 1955 Baby Ace that Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) founder Paul Poberenzy made himself.

"Those with some experience that knew Paul and everything he did for aviation, I think a lot of them felt a strong responsibility to Paul," said Kurt Mehre, who led the project. "They felt that they owed him something for what he did and it was humbling in a lot of ways."

A work in progress for nearly four years, this replica is finally ready to take to the skies. The process of building this piece of flying history wasn't always easy.

"Sometimes we hit places where only the adults could do the work, and we just had to kind of watch them," said Jacob Lesee, a volunteer of the project. "Other times we were left on our own, to do some of the pieces and sometimes we had no clue what we were doing. I had a great sense of honor seeing the plane fly over."

Seeing Poberenzy's idea come to life is certainly a joy for these volunteers. But for those close to Poberenzy, it's also somewhat difficult.

"It was pretty tough for me. Paul did a lot for me," said Mehre.

The new Baby Ace plane has virtually no issues. After a little detailing, the aircraft will eventually be used for airshows and other events, where Paul Poberrenzy and his contributions to aviation can truly be honored.

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