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EAA AirVenture Today is published by the Experimental Aircraft Association for EAA AirVenture from July 27 - August 3. It is distributed free on the convention grounds as well as other locations in Oshkosh and surrounding communities. Stories and photos are copyrighted 2008 by EAA AirVenture Today and EAA. Reproduction by any means is prohibited without written consent.


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The official daily newspaper of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

Volume 9, Number 3 July 29, 2008     

Hatz biplane relives days of yesteryear
By Barbara A. Schmitz

Photo by Phil Weston

There is just something about them that makes pilots stop, look, and more often than not, snap a picture.

The Hatz biplane is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2008, and seven Hatzes—a combination of Hatz CB-1, LB-1 Classic, and Bantam—flew into Oshkosh on Sunday after meeting in Brodhead, Wisconsin, for their annual fly-in and annual meeting. It’s one of the largest contingents of Hatzes at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh since 1990 when the group gathered to memorialize the plane’s builder, who died earlier that year.

Five of the planes, which resemble Wacos, are parked across from the IAC Aerobatic Center, and two are parked in Row 308 in homebuilt camping.

The late John Hatz, of Gleason, Wisconsin, designed and built the biplane dubbed CB-1 and first flew it in 1968.

"John Hatz wanted to build something that used modern parts but didn’t look modern," said fellow Hatz owner James Wright of Markleville, Indiana. The plane resembles a smaller Waco and is fast, efficient, and seats two.

"It’s like being back in yesteryear," Wright said. He finished his Hatz in 1986.

Ron Sieck, of Grinnell, Iowa, agreed. His Hatz Classic was certificated in 2007 and is making its first AirVenture visit. "I’ve always wanted to build an airplane, and I’ve always liked biplanes," he said. "The Hatz resembles the planes of the 1930s or 1940s, yet you can haul another person and travel fast."

More than 900 Hatz plans have been sold, but no one is quite sure how many are actually flying, said Kevin Connor, president of the Hatz Biplane Association. Connor started building his Hatz in 2002 but took three and a half years off to build a house. He says he’s ready to begin again on the Hatz, after flying into Oshkosh in a Hatz owned by a friend.

Hatz biplanes are located all over the United States, as well as Switzerland, Canada, and Australia. And one in France flew for the first time just a week ago, Connor said.

"It’s a relatively easy airplane to build, and it’s very nostalgic and easy to fly," he said.

If you want to find out more about the plane, you’re in luck. Connor and other Hatz owners will lead the Hatz Biplane forum today from 5:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. in Pavilion 5 in the Forums and Workshops Plaza. Connor especially expects questions about the Hatz Bantam, the only Hatz that qualifies for the light-sport aircraft designation.

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