Meet Our Chapter Officers

Gary Aldrich, President
George Gennuso, Vice President
Doug Dodson, Treasurer
Russ Erb, Newsletter Editor
Mike Pelletier, President 1995-1997
Miles Bowen, Secretary 1997-2000
Listing of our current officers

Gary Aldrich, President

Like Bill Cosby, I started out as a child. In my case it was centered around a small town in upstate New York (far from the evil NYC). My interest in aviation came from John Wayne movies, Sky King TV serials (now I'm dating myself), and my Dad; who was an AAF pilot. He told me that my first plane ride, on his lap, in his 1947 Piper J-3 was a pleasurable experience for both of us.

I was seriously hooked on flying by my teen years, and; again thanks to my Dad, took an accelerated approach to flying lessons from a grandmotherly-type lady CFI in a 1947 PA-11 "Cub Special". I soloed in July of 1970 and received my private ticket from a grumpy old designee in September of that year. I was fortunate enough to build a lot of time and experience under the "old" GI Bill--the one where they paid for 90%--once I entered the USAF as a 2Lt in 1974.

My flying suffered from a financially-stimulated hiatus when I transferred from Whiteman AFB in Missouri to Los Angeles AFS in, well, LA. As a 1Lt with a new baby, I fell significantly down Maslow's Heirarchy of the food and shelter level. I satisfied my flying urges with cold showers and magazine articles until I was selected for Test Pilot School in 1982.

Flying military hardware as a Flight Test Engineer, coupled with a somewhat increased cash flow allowed me to indulge my thirst for aviating. Returning to the staff of TPS after 2 years of flight testing the A-10, F-16XL, and T-46A offered me the opportunity to get my glider ratings at government expense. Further, while at TPS I had the opportunity to fly over 75 different types of military and civil aircraft--everything from the P-51 to the MiG-25 while amassing slightly under 1000 flight hours.

I retired from active duty in July of 1996 and assumed a position as a Senior Engineer with Computer Sciences Corporation, working on software updates for the venerable F-16. In August of '96 I realized my dream of owning my own aircraft when I purchased the pristine '77 Cessna 180K I'm holding up in the picture.

In April of 1998 I responded to a request for proposal from the USAF Test Pilot School to return to those hallowed halls of learning as a full-time contract instructor. There, besides directing the TPS Soaring program, I am a platform instructor for various technical and management subjects and an airborne instructor in the C-12 "Huron". Returning to TPS allowed me to resume teaching and working with some of the finest aviators on the planet.

In the ensuing years; I have progressed through the available civil pilot ratings, collecting the following cryptic initials: Comm'l ASMEL and CFI-A/I/G/ME. I have been designated by the Soaring Society of America as "SSA Instructor" for administration of the FAI badge and record program; and by the EAA as a chapter Flight Advisor and Young Eagle Flight Leader. In my 29+ years of flying I have logged over 2100 pilot hours.

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George Gennuso, Vice President

I was born in Glendale California, and some of my earliest memories are of airplanes. My father was just out of the Air Force, and a pilot. They tell me I was a few months old when I had my first airplane ride. I don't remember that one, but I remember a lot of others. There was the time that I was riding in the baggage compartment of a T-craft with my father and his friend. We were trying to get back to San Fernando airport through the Santa Susanna pass, there was a head wind and we weren't making much progress and it was getting dark. After going up, going down, going right and left and finding no way through, only one option was left. We made a forced landing in a cow pasture, secured the airplane and hitch hiked back to the airport. The guy that picked us up was a boot collector. I was in the back seat sitting on hundreds of one of a kind cowboy boots. To this day I still don't understand the fascination with cowboy boots, but he got us home.

We weren't wealthy, so most of the airplanes that my father had were bought very cheap from the FBO for unpaid tie down charges and something for the previous owner. We had a bunch of vintage 1940's airplanes, mostly Fairchild PT-19's and PT-24's. He liked them because they were real cheap, and as long as the wooden main spar carry through was good they could be rebuilt and put back in the air. Most were not in flyable condition so the first thing he did was to bring them home. I was always the only kid at school with an airplane in my back yard. Won lots of bets at school. It went something like this: I have an airplane in my back yard. You do not! Yes I do, bet you a quarter. And then after school we would walk over to my house, they would be amazed and give me a quarter.

Another funny incident was the day my father decided to run up the engine on the PT-19 in the back yard to keep it oiled up. This was when you had to turn a crank on the side of the cowling to start it. Well, after a whole lot of cranking the engine finally came to life, and Dad wasn't about to throttle it back and let it die, so he was holding about 1800 rpm. Helen, the neighbor next door, came flying out of her house screaming at the top of her lungs for everyone to take cover because an airplane was about to crash into the neighborhood. After a few minutes of her ranting she finally looked over and figured out what was going on. Dad shut the engine down and there was silence. Helen glared at Dad for a minute, and then started laughing, then we started laughing, and everyone else started laughing. If you think about it, it was a pretty comical sight, All the neighbors looking over their fences at Helen, and us sheepishly standing by the airplane pretending like this happens every day.

Well, time marches on, and I don't want to bore you with a lot of details. Let's just fast forward to 1985. I was living in Lakewood at the time and decided that it was finally time to get my pilot's license. So, I joined the Long Beach Flying Club and commenced in the trusty old Cessna 150. Because it was winter and I was working for Northrop into the evening, most of my flying was at night. I soloed off of 25 left at Long Beach Airport after a little over ten hours of instruction on November 8th and 40 hours later I was the proud owner of a pilot's license. Then I got lucky and Northrop transferred me to Air Force Plant 42 here in Palmdale.

My brother-in-law has a Cessna 172 bush plane that he flys up in Alaska. During the winters to avoid the Alaskan snow he keeps it at Fox field, so naturally I have to keep it in good flying condition, which brings me to the sequence of events that got me involved with EAA Chapter 1000. I had just parked the 172 after a brief flight and was pulling the parking brake when the cable snapped. I got out and started looking around the rudder peddles to find the problem and discovered a swedge had pulled off of a short cable that applied the brakes. I took it out and went over to Exodus Air Service to buy a new one. I almost fell over when Mike said the six inch cable was $55.00. The good part was he didn't have a new one.

So, the next idea was to fix the old one. I noticed that there was a homebuilder working on a Q-2 a couple of rows from where I was parked. I went over to him and asked if he had a swedger, or knew where I could get one. His reply was that he didn't have one, but there were a bunch of homebuilders in the second row of hangers, I might try there.

I walked over to the hangars that he had mentioned and could see one that was partially open. As I approached the hangar I noticed that there was a red line painted on the floor and the words SEVEN MINUTE RULE IN EFFECT (i.e. talk longer than seven minutes and we put you to work). These guys were serious about homebuilding. I poked my head in and asked if anyone was home. Two guys looked up from their work and smiled and said to come on in. At least they were friendly. I learned that the one working on the Long EZ was Norm Howell and the one working on a special design Excalibur was Bob Waldmiller. I told them what had happened and showed them the cable. Norm took it from me and walked over to his tool box and began working on it. As he did we talked about airplanes and I told them that I was building a Pulsar. Then something strange happened. Norm looked at Bob, and Bob looked at Norm and in unison they both said Project Police Raid!...Norm handed the expertly repaired cable back to me and said how long will it take you to put this back on? I said about 15 minutes and he said fine, meet us here as soon as you're through. I was back at the hangar shortly and Norm and Bob informed me that they would follow me back to my house to look at my project. We got to my house and as they pulled up I could hear Bob shouting something about sprinkler heads to Norm as he was maneuvering the Toyota. I invited them in and they looked at the Pulsar, checked this and that, asked a lot of questions and checked for dust then said, "Where are the chocolate chip cookies?" They laughed when they saw the look of surprise on my face and then explained about EAA Chapter 1000 and the Project Police, and since I had just been the subject of a Project Police Raid I should join the chapter.

It didn't take any arm twisting to get me to join, if the rest of the members were as friendly and helpful as these two, I wanted to be a member. That was way back when the chapter was a little over a year old. And it's true, everyone in the chapter is friendly and helpful and a wealth of knowledge. So that's how I became involved with Chapter 1000 and now I feel it's my turn to give back to the chapter by helping out as Vice President.

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Doug Dodson, Treasurer

(Working on a bio...)

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Russ Erb, Newsletter Editor

I was born on 3 August 1961. Several years later when I was able to actually remember my thoughts, I cast away all of the other aspirations that I thought would be fun to do in future years and decided that I wanted to spend my life being a pilot. While some of my classmates through school were into cars, I and many of those around me spent our time learning about airplanes.

Years later, my Dad introduced me to the concept of building flying rubber-powered model airplanes, much like he had in his formative years. I remember building a Cessna 150, Sopwith Camel, and a Fokker DR1 Triplane. Free flight models never seemed to work too well, since they were too susceptible to the vagaries of the wind. I moved on to try U-Control and had a few successes, although I never seemed to fly much because of the logistics hassle of getting to the flying site and if I did get there, the wind was blowing too hard. RC models always seemed tempting, but were way out of my price range. Later I would realize that all of this was just compensation for what I really wanted to do--get in the airplane and fly it myself!

During this time, on 3 August 1973 I had my "Young Eagles Flight" in a Cessna 172 Skyhawk. What a great time! Unfortunately, I did not receive my Young Eagles Flight Certificate because of the minor technicality that the Young Eagles Program would not be launched for another 19 years. I knew that when I grew up, I would have my own Cessna 172. Easy to say when you have no concept of how much they cost!

Since I wanted to be a pilot, and in the late '70s the best way to become a pilot was in the Air Force, and the best way to do that was to attend the Air Force Academy. I applied and was accepted. On the first day there, along with all of the other culture shocks, they informed me that not only was I not pilot qualified, my eyes were so far-sighted the best I could do was "commisionable." After thinking about my situation for about 3.81 micro-seconds, I made a major life determining decision that "I'm already here, I might as well stay."

While at the Academy, I found out that the Aero Club had some really good deals for cadets wanting to take flight training. Even though the cost was greatly reduced, it was still a bit too much to swallow. Coupled with the problems of getting to the airfield when I wasn't allowed to have a car, I punted that whole idea and never gave it another serious thought for another 10 years.

Also at the Academy, I learned my freshman year about a place called the USAF Test Pilot School (TPS), which had a course for the non-optically-blessed as a Flight Test Engineer. This caught my attention since my Dad had been one of those in his Air Force days, and it struck me as a way I could still get to fly in the Air Force without being a pilot. As an airplane nut, of course I was majoring in Aeronautical Engineering. I had visited Edwards AFB in December 1981 briefly, but then the summer before my senior year, the Academy sent me to Edwards to work for 6 weeks in the "Summer Research" program. It was probably the best part of my cadet career except for actually graduating.

After graduation in 1983, I spent another six weeks at Edwards to fill time until I started my Masters program at Texas A&M University, again in Aeronautical Engineering. The next summer I was at the Texas A&M Low Speed Wind Tunnel collecting data for my thesis project. About halfway through, a large nut on the support apparatus galled and refused to come off. We pulled the whole thing out and sent it to the machine shop. This delayed testing and my advisor advised me that I would not be able to finish my thesis by that December as planned. I thought this was a bad thing because I had to ask the Air Force to let me stay another semester. Boy, was I wrong! That nut blessed me no end, since in that extra semester I met my future wife Penny. Two months later, I graduated and moved to Eglin AFB. A year after that we were married.

I spent four years as a test engineer at Eglin when I achieved one of my life's dreams and was selected to attend TPS as a Flight Test Engineer. In March 1990, my classmate Harry Whiting (son of the Harry Whiting who writes for The Experimenter) left a copy of Sport Aviation on his desk. I picked it up at lunch and started reading it. What a great mag! How do I get this? Just $35 but you have to join EAA. Hey, that's not bad for just a subscription. Harry had taken me for a couple of flights in his 1955 Cessna 180, and all of the flying at TPS was arousing the flying bug in me.

Part of the TPS curriculum is for groups of students to complete an actual test project. The test project that Harry, I, and three of our classmates were assigned was called "HAVE PLAN." The objective was to create a generic test plan for homebuilders to use in the first 40 hours of flying. Hopefully this could reduce the accident rate. The program was conceived by Rich Runyon (Chapter 1000 member) who was building a Cozy and Harry Walker who was planning to build a Lancair. Amongst other things, they figured it would be easier to get us to write a test plan for them than to do it themselves. We created the plan and checklists, and tried out the procedures with our Soon-To-Be-Test-Pilots doing their best to simulate the homebuilder flying his new aircraft for the first time. For this we used what we referred to as our "5000 pound DeHavilland DHC-2 Experimental Beaver." We were very successful in completing our assigned tasks, but the commandant of the school refused to let it be published for fear of liability suits. However, the report still leaked to some selected flight test professionals. When EAA enlisted Norm Howell to help create the Flight Advisor program, Norm dusted off his copy of the report, and with a few minor changes, the checklists we had created became the checklists adopted by the Flight Advisor program. Norm has also been very gracious to us to frequently mention our group as the source of a lot of his material.

MC-130HI graduated TPS and went down the street to work on the TF radar for the MC-130H Combat Talon II. In March 1991, I started my flight training at Rosamond Skypark (L00) and on 3 October 1991 became the country's newest Private Pilot. During this time I had joined EAA Chapter 49 and got in on the newly formed Chapter 1000 before the charter was signed. I continued to fly until 1993, about 100 hours later, when I moved back to the Air Force Academy, this time as an Instructor of Aeronautics.

BearhawkAt the Academy, house payments pretty much wiped out flight time. Then one Saturday night in February 1996, I was finally reading my October 1995 Sport Aviation. I came across Budd Davisson's review of the Bearhawk, which was as perfect a match for what I was looking for as I had ever found. By the following Tuesday, the check was in the mail for the plans. I managed to get some tooling done before it was time to sell the house and move back to Edwards AFB.

After moving to Edwards in June 1996, by October I had the converted garage workshop ready to begin building again. About the same time, I became the Newsletter Editor for Chapter 1000. In the previous August, a conversation about Work Tables eventually gave me the idea of creating a Web Site, so that other builders could have access to the plans for the Work Tables. As things tend to do, it grew and grew until this Web Site was officially launched in late February 1997.

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Mike Pelletier, President 1995-1997

Mike Pelletier was born on 6 February 1960 in the Motor City, also known as Detroit, Michigan. He demonstrated an early aptitude for building things by constructing a model of the Mackinac Bridge, a suspension bridge that spans Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas, in his living room out of Kenner's Girder and Panel plastic building set. Mike continued showing his penchant for mechanical things by taking apart (and reassembling) nearly every toy he owned.

After graduating from Livonia Stevenson High School, Mike found himself wondering what to do with his life. He had always had an inkling to fly, so he enrolled at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, MI. This community college had a flight school, so Mike took classes and earned his private pilot's license in June 1980. He continued working toward his commercial and instrument ratings. During this time, however, he began seeing how expensive flying was to do on his own nickel, and began looking at a flying career in the Air Force.

Mike transferred to The University of Michigan's Aerospace Engineering program in the spring of 1982. The following year he enrolled in the Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps and thus began his Air Force career. Upon graduating in December 1984 he was commissioned a second lieutenant.

Mike got his chance to fly for the Air Force, but unfortunately it wasn't a long gig. After six months at pilot training and 123 hours of T-37 jet time he was told the Air Force just didn't want him as a pilot. Their loss.

Recovering from this setback, Mike was sent by the Air Force to become an aircraft maintenance officer. He spent an enjoyable three years at Shaw AFB, SC, working on F-16 Vipers and RF-4Cs. While at Shaw he flew occasionally at the base aero club. It was at Sun and Fun in 1987 that he joined the EAA. The best part about the Shaw assignment was he met and married his wife Michele there.

Leaving Shaw AFB, Mike and Michele went to Wright-Patterson AFB, OH, so Mike could get his Master's Degree in Aeronautical Engineering at the Air Force Institute of Technology. Following AFIT Mike was sent to the Phillips Lab at Edwards AFB, CA, where he became a rocket scientist and performed rocket propulsion R&D. It was at Edwards that he got in on the start up of Chapter 1000 and became one of the founding fathers.

RV-6AB-2Mike moved over to the B-2 Combined Test Force at Edwards AFB and assumed his current duty performing operational test and evaluation on the B-2 bomber. In January of 1993 he began building an RV-6A. The project was put on hold when Michele completed their first homebuilt project together and gave birth to their daughter Marissa.

Mike became vice president of Chapter 1000 in January of 1995 and assumed the president position in November of that year. He held the president position until August 1997, when he moved to Tucson AZ at the request of the government.

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Miles Bowen, Secretary

Hello, my name is Miles Bowen. Many of you may not recognize me, as I am a recent transplant to California. If you attend the Chapter 1000 meetings, I'm the one with the back-East/down-South accent you can't quite place. That comes from following my airline pilot father all over the Southeastern US while growing up.

I am a 1979 graduate of the University of Tennessee with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. For the past 18 years, I have worked for Sverdrup Technology, Lockheed-Martin, and now Sverdrup Technology again, designing and installing various types of control systems in the rocket and turbine engine test facilities at Arnold Engineering Development Center, Stennis Space Center, and now Phillips Labs.

While I've always had an interest in airplanes and aviation, I never really considered being a pilot until college. After graduation, I joined a flying club with a J-3 in its stable ($9.50/hr wet) and discovered the joy of taildraggers (or conventional-geared airplanes, as my dad sometimes corrects me). The more I flew the J-3, and the farther I wanted to go, the slower it got. Then in 1982 I found a 170B with only 1250 hours TTAFE. Almost 15 years and more than 800 hours later, '98C is still considered a member of the family. Speaking of families, the rest of mine consists of my wife Susan, and two daughters, Amanda (9), and Rebecca (6).
Pratt and Whitney F-100
I am a former secretary of EAA Chapter 458, aka The Tullahoma Bunch, in Tennessee. I also served as the area representative for The International Cessna 170 Association in Tennessee and in Mississippi, and am currently on the board of directors of TIC170A.

As I mentioned earlier, I am new to California. So far, I have really enjoyed the good flying weather, and was immediately made to feel very welcome in the local aviation community (thanks, Ron). I look forward to serving as the Chapter 1000 Secretary and in any other capacity that may arise.

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We post a listing of our current officers here so that we can make the appointments official and so that we can remember who's in for what and for how long! Years listed are inclusive (usually from 1 Jan of the first year listed to 31 Dec of the second year listed).

Class I Directors

President (2002-2003)

Gary Aldrich

Vice President (2002-2003)

George Gennuso

Secretary (2002-2002)

Kent Troxel

Treasurer (2002-2003)

Doug Dodson

Class II Directors (2001-2002)

Dave Evans

Howard Judd

Class III Directors (2002-2003)

Bill Irvine

Russ Erb

Other Chapter Positions

Newsletter Editor

Russ Erb


Russ Erb

Young Eagle Coordinator

Miles Bowen

Project Police
Uniform Control Officer


Visitors Since 25 April, 1998:   

EAA Chapter 1000 Home Page
E-Mail: Web Page Director Russ Erb at

Contents of The Leading Edge and these web pages are the viewpoints of the authors. No claim is made and no liability is assumed, expressed or implied as to the technical accuracy or safety of the material presented. The viewpoints expressed are not necessarily those of Chapter 1000 or the Experimental Aircraft Association.
Revised -- 8 November 2002