Vernon “Bobby” Cox, EAA 91424, is understood by family and friends as a craftsman, aviator, and a person of nice accomplishment. Throughout his life he has constructed his personal airport, scratchbuilt an airplane of his personal design, the Cox Hawk, accomplished a Tremendous Cub package construct, completed one other builder’s single-place S1C Pitts Particular, and rebuilt a J-3 Cub. In his 14,000 hours of logged flight, Bobby has made 16 cross-countries to Alaska alone, and plenty of extra to California, Colorado, Idaho, Maine, and different states. His worldwide flights embody locations others dream about, together with Canada, the Caribbean, South America, and Europe. To honor his benevolence and accomplishments, EAA Chapter 1114 of Apex, North Carolina, is awarding Bobby with the chapter’s first lifetime achievement award.
A lot of Bobby’s achievements carefully align with the grassroots, homebuilding heritage of EAA, considered one of which is constructing the Cox Hawk, an airplane of his personal design. Bobby started constructing the Cox Hawk on January 15, 1993, slicing Sitka spruce for his wing ribs and spar inventory. An observer would discover Bobby spending hours choosing simply the correct wooden items by inspection and bending each bit. His love affair with wooden supplied him with distinctive ability and instinct. It took him a bit of greater than two years to finish the plane, an aerobatic biplane powered by a Lycoming AEIO-540. It made its first flight on January 12, 1995.
The distinctive airplane got here along with the assistance of mates, together with Dan Rihn, EAA Lifetime 16462, of the Rihn One Design, who helped with the format of the fuselage body. The wings have been constructed up utilizing metallic fittings from the Final wings he used on a earlier Pitts challenge. Though from a distance the airplane, particularly with its related crimson and white paint scheme, could appear like a Pitts, up shut you may see extra of the small print that make the Cox Hawk distinctive.
One distinctive element on the airplane is the 4 hand-painted wingtips performed by John Snipes, that includes 4 completely different landscapes within the define of a hawk, every representing a spot Bobby has visited. Bobby’s onerous work was honored at EAA Oshkosh 1995 with the coveted plansbuilt Grand Champion Lindy Award, on the SUN ’n FUN Worldwide Fly-in and Expo with the 1995 plansbuilt grand champion award, and was featured within the June 1995 subject of EAA Sport Aviation. It now resides within the North Carolina Aviation Museum Corridor of Fame.
Bobby additionally constructed Cox Airport (NC81) in simply two months in 1976, throughout a number of the heydays of homebuilt exercise. It has been a hub of aviation and goodwill ever since. Bobby began IAC Chapter 19 at Cox Airport in 1982, and later based EAA Chapter 1114 with 5 different native pilots. Within the late ’90s Bobby constructed a second-floor clubhouse, full with a kitchen and house for practically 100 individuals, free for the EAA chapter, and it moved into the constructing on November 18, 2000. Till just lately, when land taxes skyrocketed, Bobby paid for all bills; now a small annual rental price exists.
“When Bobby was in search of land to construct on, I do know he specified that it needed to be applicable for a runway and a pond,” stated his spouse, Rosalyn Cox. “As we speak he’s simply as adamant about there all the time being an airport there. Bobby likes to fly. He likes to share what he has — the runway— with others. … He needs to encourage others of their love of flying. He has informed me many instances in regards to the prime quality of fellow pilots that he has met throughout his lifetime. I imagine that his love of individuals and airplanes and his want to encourage others is why he wished the EAA chapter right here.”
Present Chapter 1114 Vice President Steele Scott, EAA 1038211, stated Bobby — who is likely one of the chapter’s six founders — has been the chapter’s host, champion, father, and ambassador.
“He supplied the place and supplies the spirit,” Steele stated.
Bobby’s accomplishments haven’t simply been restricted to his personal constructing endeavors. A cabinetmaker and craftsman by commerce, he additionally impressed and assisted many chapter members of their plane initiatives.
“He’s helped a lot of individuals after they’re constructing,” Steele stated. “We name him the wooden whisperer. … He’s helped individuals within the chapter of their construct initiatives and is simply an inspiring host, if you’ll. Chapter members can see his builds and he can see theirs. Folks ask him for recommendation on a regular basis.”
Bobby has been to almost each single one of many chapter’s famend month-to-month pancake breakfasts over the previous roughly 20 years, with solely his flights to different lands and venues protecting him away. Along with by no means lacking a SUN ’n FUN occasion, in 2018, he’ll fly himself, at 88 years outdated, to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh for the forty eighth consecutive 12 months. This 12 months Bobby can be in his homebuilt Tremendous Cub.
On Could 19, Chapter 1114 held a celebration and thanks picnic for Bobby and introduced him together with his lifetime achievement award, together with tributes written by varied members of the family and mates. Quite a few extra awards have been additionally given to the opposite chapter founders, previous chapter officers, and volunteers for his or her contributions to the chapter’s success. The Bandit Flight Workforce was deliberate to commemorate Bobby with a particular flyover choreographed to God Bless the USA, and honor chapter members who’ve gone west with a lacking man formation timed to Wonderful Grace, however sadly was grounded with low ceilings and steady rain.
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