Alan (left) and
Dale Klapmeier accept the Key to the City from Oshkosh Mayor
Alan and Dale Klapmeier, who in 24 years
developed Cirrus Design Corporation into one of the top general aviation
aircraft manufacturers in the world, received Oshkosh's Key to the City
award during the annual Mayor's Breakfast held Friday morning on the
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh campus. Oshkosh Mayor Frank Tower
presented the award before a large crowd at the Kolf Sports Center.
"In the 32 years that I've been
coming here, for at least one week a year, this city opens their arms to
the people of EAA who come from all over the world," Dale said in
accepting the award. "And every one of us feels welcome. We're
happy to be a part of this community that we've all fallen in love with.
We're very honored for this; thank you."
Alan, whose first encounters with Oshkosh
were as a college student at nearby Ripon, added, "What a wonderful
community this is. Oshkosh means aviation all over the world. When
people in aviation say Oshkosh, they mean EAA, worldwide. What Paul
[Poberezny] and his family, all the volunteers and all the
organizations, have created is really truly a special organization that
very obviously has changed our lives.
"It really is a wonderful honor for
us to receive this award, because we think of Oshkosh as a symbol for
what aviation has been and what aviation will be, so thank you,
Self-described "airport kids,"
the brothers built and restored aircraft in their family's dairy barn in
Baraboo, Wisconsin. They rebuilt a broken-down 1960 Champion 7GC and
assembled several kit planes. Alan graduated from Ripon College with
degrees in physics and economics, while Dale earned business
administration and economics degrees from the University of
Following college, Alan, Dale, and Alan's
college roommate, Jeff Viken, formed Cirrus with their first design, a
futuristic homebuilt pusher called the VK-30. EAAers first saw the
airplane on static display at the 1987 Oshkosh convention and fly-in.
Subsequent designs included the SR20, which was introduced at Oshkosh in
1994 and received its type certificate in 1998; the SR22, certificated
in 2000 and currently the largest-selling single GA aircraft type; plus
two planes first seen here last year, the SRS light-sport aircraft and
the Cirrus Vision SJ50 personal jet.
In 2005, Cirrus donated the first
production prototype VK-30, serial number 005, to the EAA AirVenture
The Key to the City award was created by EAA and the city of Oshkosh to
honor distinguished personalities for contributions to the promotion and
support of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh and the aviation community. A unique
marble and glass Key to the City sculpture was specially designed for
the occasion, and the recipients' names are inscribed on a permanent
plaque that hangs in City Hall.