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Paul A. Schweizer

Soaring pioneer Paul A. Schweizer passed away August 18 after a long illness. Paul was renowned as a sailplane builder, competition pilot, author, historian, lecturer and global spokesman for soaring. He was born in 1913, just two years after Orville Wright made the world's first soaring flight in 1911.

Recalling his early fascination with flight, Paul said, "In 1927, we were all inspired by Charles Lindbergh's solo trans-Atlantic flight , and two years later by a National Geographic article featuring young Germans learning to fly by gliding and soaring. We were dying to fly. You couldn't afford an airplane, but this gave us hope that we might someday fly."

Paul, along with brothers Ernie and Bill, founded the Schweizer Aircraft Corporation in 1937. They manufactured sailplanes, agricultural aircraft, motorgliders, helicopters and subcontract assemblies. During World War II the company was a prime producer of military training gliders.

Paul Schweizer was a past president and secretary of the Soaring Society of America and served on its board of directors for many years. He was past president and a director of the Harris Hill Soaring Corporation, and was instrumental in bringing many national and international sailplane meets to Harris Hill, near Elmira, NY. One of his proudest accomplishments was the founding of the National Soaring Museum on Harris Hill, where he served as president and trustee.

He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Virginia (Ginny) Mayer Schweizer.

Memorial arrangements are not yet known.

Posted: 8/23/2004 By: General News

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