EAA Chapter 93 had its recorded beginning in 1961, with an invitation to a gathering at the Stoughton Airport on Sunday, July 16, at noon (fly or drive). We suspect the idea for a chapter was talked about before that, or at least bounced around in the back of the minds of a few individuals with a hankering to shake the dust from their boots and soar. Dr. LARRY KETCHUM and STAN MOCKRUD were two of the shakers and movers who got things rolling.
Stan Mockrud wrote a letter to Paul Poberezny May 14, 1961, expressing an interest in starting a chapter, and asked for help with names of potential members. A copy of Paul Poberezny’s letter to Stan dated June 27, stated that he would send Stan’s letter along to Val Brugger, EAA chapter correspondent. He was enthusiastic about the possibility of a new chapter and told about a Baby Ace and a Pietenpol at Baraboo and a Baby Ace under construction at Mt. Horeb.
We haven’t found anybody who remembers much about the first meeting at Stoughton Airport, but the late Nora Mockrud remembered it and other details about chapter meetings during an interview with the writer on March 26, 1993.
“The next meeting was at our house, I think,” Nora said. “Families came right after lunch on Sundays and stayed ’til 8 or 9 o’clock. The wives and children came along and found fun things to do.”
A newsletter to “Sport Aviation Enthusiasts”, dated August 14, 1961, had a typed letterhead as follows:
CHAPTER # 93
EXPERIMENTAL AIRCRAFT ASSOCIATION
(Madison & Southwestern Wisconsin)
EAA Chapter 93 had been officially hatched.
Both Stanley and Nora Mockrud grew up in Westby, Wisconsin, and when they were married in 1930, Stanley and Ted Stoleson were building a Pietenpol. Neither of them knew how to fly, so when the plane was finished, a friend was doing some taxi tests and crashed into a fence. The crunched airplane was not repaired, and, according to Nora, the fuselage is still at Westby.
Stanley and Nora moved to Madison in 1942, where Stanley went to work at Madison Kipp as a machinist. They lived on 7th Street.
Stanley worked part-time for Louis Wuilleumier at the old Royal Airport in exchange for flying lessons.
Stanley knocked out part of their basement wall and installed a picture window so he could build an airplane and get it out through the window.
Nora said, ‘We had the only house in the neighborhood with a picture window in the basement.”
None of the nine Mockrud children were as interested as their dad in airplanes, but some of the grandchildren liked to come and sit in them in the basement. They enjoyed telling their friends about their Grandpa who built airplanes.
Stan spent a lot of time on the telephone, calling people about Chapter 93. Nora worked at O’Brien Drugstore on Monona Drive, and when somebody bought a flying magazine, she asked for their name and telephone number, then Stan called them and invited them to meetings.
Dr. Larry Ketchum was “temporary chairman” of EAA Chapter 93 in the beginning. He also wrote the newsletters or Reports #1, #2, #3, etc. during 1961.
Larry grew up in Madison and graduated from West High. He joined the Madison Flying Club and learned to fly in their 1941 Taylorcraft at the old Royal Airport, where South Towne Shopping Mall is today.
Larry said, ‘We involved the families a lot in the beginning, but that changed later on.”
An organization meeting was held at Mt. Horeb Airport in August, 1961. On Sunday, September 17th, the chapter meeting was held at the Floyd Jerred farm, six miles north of Portage. Viewing and discussing the Smith Miniplane was the highlight of the afternoon.
On the Sunday afternoon of November 19, 1961, the chapter meeting was held at Boscobel, in the shop of Ken Rogers, uncle of current member, Bud Rogers. The newsletter written by Larry Ketchum before the meeting told something about Ken Rogers.
“The following brief summary of the interests of Ken Rogers gives only a glimpse of this friendly, enthusiastic EAA booster. He is or has been a farmer, teacher, machinist, auto mechanic, pilot, refrigeration engineer, electric motor repairman, aircraft mechanic, welder, skin-diver, fisherman, hunter, traveler, husband, and father.”
“He has owned the following airplanes: OX5 Waco, J35, Eagle Rock, Aerobat Glider, Travel Air, American Eagle bi-plane, Swallow trainer, and has been an aircraft dealer with a Cub agency.”
Wally Watson would demonstrate the technique of making a fiberglass cowling for a Tailwind at the Boscobel meeting.
By early 1962, the chapter group felt it was time to officially elect officers. The February, 1962 report written by Dr. Larry Ketchum included the following announcement:
FORMAL ORGANIZATION OF Chapter #93 TO TAKE PLACE SUNDAY
The time has come for the chapter to elect officers and to plan an effective program for the coming months. This formal organization step was postponed at our first meeting because none of us knew much about each other or the group. Now, after several meetings, all of which have been successful, we can get down to business and bring into being a successful permanent local unit of EAA. Please consider who you would like to ask to fill the various offices and be on hand on Sunday to help get this organized. It has been suggested that the office of president be filled by an amateur aircraft builder-someone who has built or is building an aircraft. Dr. Ketchum will not be a candidate for the office of president.
The election was held February 25, 1962 in McFarland at the home of Herb and Elaine Szelesty, and the following officers were elected:
President-Wally Watson, Vice-President-Stan Mockrud, Secretary-Treasurer-Ellery Schroeder, ProgramChairman-Dr. Larry Ketchum, AuxiliaryRepresentative-Elaine Szelesty.
The chapter dues were set at $3 per year.
The March, 1962 newsletter reported that Verdell Hallingsted, Chapter 93 member from Hillsboro was the subject of an article in the Wisconsin State Journal about his Pietenpol homebuilt. The March meeting was held on a Sunday at the DEC Aviation hangar, Truax Field. Wally Watson, chapter president, was chief pilot for DEC (Dairy Equipment Co.)
Members traveled long distances to meetings in the early days of the chapter. A fly-in/drive-in meeting was held at the Portage Airport on Sunday, September 16th, and a month later at the Lavon Hall residence in Lancaster. A note on the invitation stated:
“If you plan to fly in, land at Vesperman Flying Service strip, 3 miles south~a red Plymouth station wagon will be there-drive it.”
Chapter members had been discussing the idea of a chapter building project, thinking it would be a good way for “timid souls hesitant about going it alone” to gain building experience and confidence. By January, 1963, Chapter 93 had a building project, a new home, and new officers. Ketchums offered the use of their “country estate”, the old East Pleasant Ridge School, near Dodgeville. The chapter building project would be a Volkswagen-powered Headwind, like one chapter members had seen at the Rockford fly-in. New chapter officers included Larry Ketchum-President; LaVon Hall-Vice President; Ray Osborn-Secretary; Don Deischer-Treasurer; Bob Hughes-Program Chairman; and Bob Hoyer, Project Chairman.
1963 Newsletters reflected unbounded enthusiasm. Members got together with chainsaws to cut firewood. They did electrical wiring and installed fluorescent lights in the schoolhouse basement. Members gathered parts and materials for the Headwind. They organized knitting classes for the women and games for the kids. (There was no indication that the women were interested or encouraged to get involved in aircraft construction). Sunday afternoon and evening meetings included pot-luck suppers.
Chapter member, Ed Todd, successfully flew his two-place folding-wing monoplane for FAA inspectors at Truax Field (later Dane Co. Regional Airport) May 23, 1963. This was his third building project, the first two being Wittman Tailwinds.
Plans were in place for a Chapter 93 camping unit at the National Fly-In at Rockford.
In 2017, EAA Chapters 93 and 1389, both based in the Madison area, underwent a monumental merger to form one chapter. This merger brought total Chapter 93 membership to over 125 people!