Chairman/President Tom Poberezny arriving on stage Peter
Pan-like - a flying style he could never manage with his old
aerobatic team, the Eagles.
A savvy bidder left Thursday night's
annual Gathering of Eagles dinner with the keys to a singular Ford
Mustang, while more than 130 other winning bidders departed with items
of their own dreams and aspirations. The end result was more than $2.1
million raised in support of the EAA Young Eagles program and other
association efforts to inspire young people to become the engineers,
aviators, astronauts, scientists, innovators…the aviation pioneers of
The gala, hosted by Gathering Chairman
Jack Pelton of Cessna, featured the aerial exploits of EAA
Chairman/President Tom Poberezny arriving on stage Peter Pan-like-a
flying style he could never manage with his old aerobatic team, the
The peak of the evening's bidding
surrounded the latest in Ford Motor Company's custom creations, this
year the SR-71 Mustang, created in collaboration with speed merchants
Carroll Shelby and Jack Roush. Going, going, gone at $375,000, the likes
of this Mustang will not be seen again.
Other distinctive items sold at the
auction included a trip to Shanghai to pick up a new electrically
powered Yuneec e-Spyder, some hangar flying with Harrison Ford, a DC-2
flight with Clay Lacy, First Officer Jeffrey Skiles' flight bag from
Flight 1549, a five-day hang glider-aerobatics course, and use of Red 5
throughout AirVenture 2011.
More than 130 items went off the auction
block, but for many the main attraction was the opportunity to
participate in a worthy cause, enjoy an excellent evening with friends,
and meet with fellow aviators like actors Kurt Russell and Treat
Williams and sports legends Ken Griffey Jr. and Thurman Thomas.
The beneficiaries will be the thousands
of future aviators who, thanks to the generosity of bidders and donors
alike, will get their chance for a life in aviation.