Longtime Homebuilder Mickey Whittenburg to Receive EAA's Tony Bingelis Award

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. — (June 1, 2011) — Mickey Whittenburg of Kiln, Miss., will receive the Experimental Aircraft Association’s 2011 Tony Bingelis Award recognizing contributions to EAA and the aviation community.

Ever since completing his first solo flight at age 17 in 1947, Whittenburg (EAA Lifetime #415) has been deeply rooted in the aviation community, encouraging builders and their projects as well as promoting aviation safety. He joined EAA in 1955, becoming one of the first 500 members of the organization that had formed two years earlier.

Whittenburg, who established Whitcraft Corporation in 1960 as a jet engine parts manufacturer, helped others by building parts for homebuilt aircraft for decades in addition to completing his own homebuilt projects. He flew his first original design homebuilt, a Whitcraft 165, to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh twice, and has also built a Hummel Bird, two Challengers, and a modified Ultra Pup. Always one to lend a helping hand, Whittenburg has helped other builders compete a Pietenpol, Bearhawk, Highlander, Zenith 701, RV-12, and Sonex.

Since becoming an EAA Technical Counselor in 2001, Whittenburg has inspected many building projects along the Gulf Coast, and now also serves as a Flight Advisor in helping pilots with their first flights.

Despite losing his home, shop, and aircraft in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Whittenburg pressed on in his commitment to homebuilts – moving 10 miles north where he built a new shop and a new aircraft, a modified Cub featuring one seat, folding wings, and a trailer.

An active member of EAA Chapter 479 based at Diamondhead Airport in Diamondhead, Miss., Whittenburg displays his modified Cub to the chapter’s Young Eagles events and educates attendees on the possibilities aviation holds for them. For many years, he has volunteered his time at EAA AirVenture and the Sun ’n Fun Fly-In teaching gas welding, sheet metal, and tech counselor workshops.

The Bingelis Award will be given to Whittenburg during the EAA AirVenture Homebuilders Dinner on Thursday, July 28, during the annual EAA AirVenture fly-in at Oshkosh, Wis. Tickets for the dinner will be available at Homebuilders Headquarters on the EAA grounds.

The Tony Bingelis Award was created in 2002 to recognize a member from the aviation community who has contributed to homebuilt projects and safety promotion while maintaining EAA values. The award honors the late Tony Bingelis, who was noted as a homebuilding authority and EAA Sport Aviation columnist.

EAA embodies the spirit of aviation through the world’s most engaged community of aviation enthusiasts. EAA’s 170,000 members and 1,000 local chapters enjoy the fun and camaraderie of sharing their passion for flying, building and restoring recreational aircraft. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 800-JOIN-EAA (800-564-6322) or go to www.eaa.org. For continual news updates, connect with www.twitter.com/EAAupdate.