EAA Chapter 25

A Community of Aviation Enthusiasts in the Twin Cities

Bert Sisler honored by Chapter 25

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin at 10:01 am on Monday, July 14, 2008

Bert Sisler has been honored by Chapter 25. The Chapter has named it’s airplane hangar at Airlake Airport the “Bert Sisler Aviation Education Center”. Sisler, whose aviation career spans over 65 years, was recognized because of his continuing contributions to aviation and the education of others in the field. A ceremony took place in Lakeville, Minnesota on June 21st.

In the attached photo, Bert (second from right) stands with his family in front of one of the airplanes he designed – the Cygnet.

To understand the reasons for this honor, one only needs to look at Bert’s biography. He was born in 1923 in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Like many of his generation, he first was intrigued by barnstormers visiting his small town, and began by building crude airplane models, earning money by doing chores at the airfield, and learning to fly before World War II.

He then became an Army Air Force pilot, flying B-25’s and P-61’s among others. He continued in the Air Force Reserves after the war while he completed college flying AT6’s, Twin Beeches, and P-51’s. Training as an engineer, he then started his career as an airline pilot.

Working as a draftsman to support his family, he would scurry out to the field when Northwest Airlines needed his services as a reserve pilot. Thus started his airline career through DC-3, DC-4, B-727,B-707, DC-10, and finally B-747.

Meanwhile, in the mid-fifties, he and a small group of friends who loved airplanes and building things started work on a Stits Playboy, and along the way they formed the 1st EAA Chapter (25) in Minneapolis. Bert was the 1st President too. When he and another member completed the Playboy, Bert went on to design, build and fly three different airplanes – the Pipit, the Whistler, and the Cygnet. The Cygnet was also sold and bought back – and Bert restored it for his son to fly. Bert restored (Culver Cadet, Piper Clipper, and Piper Pacer) and advised others on restoring various airplanes.

When he gave up the Chapter 25 presidency, he served as a technical advisor to the chapter for decades and still advises chapter members building airplanes today. Go to Bert’s house and he will show you a plans and mock-ups of his latest design, the Sisler Six Pac, a three-engine, six-place airplane. He also has built a quarter-scale model of the airplane, which now hangs from the ceiling of the chapter hangar.

Go to a Young Eagles event and find Bert working as ground crew. Chapter 25 took stewardship of “The Gusty”, a historic homebuilt. The parts were restored, but then the project languished. Guess who volunteered to organize a small group to complete the restoration, and worked many Saturday mornings to finish it? The completed Gusty was the subject of an article in Sport Aviation , and now also hangs from the ceiling of the Chapter 25 hangar.

After receiving this honor from his fellow aviation ethusiasts, Bert said, “Thanks for the kind words and the recognition. However, I feel like I have received more than I have given”

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