Interested in knowing about the early history of the Short Wing Piper Club and how it came to be? Read on for details of how the Club started and some highlights of the Club’s first 25 years.
Thanks to Eleanor Mills for the information included in this recap of the Short Wing Piper Club’s Early History. This information on the first 25 years of the Club’s history was gathered from “The Short Wing Piper Club: 25 Years and counting,” an article by Eleanor Mills for the Short Wing Piper Club Commemorative History book. Turner Publishing Company published the book in 2006. The book is out of print but can be purchased on Amazon. Portions of the book can be viewed on-line if you click HERE.
The Short Wing Piper Club began as the result of a chance meeting of four Tri-Pacer owners on a Sunday afternoon in the fall of 1978, appropriately enough, at an airport.
A time of hangar flying and tire kicking led to the eventual establishment of a club with international membership. Now, nearly 39 years later, The Short Wing Piper Club boasts over 1,000 members who are kept in close contact by the Club’s quarterly magazine, The Short Wing Piper News, the Club’s website, and the Forums and e-mail lists that go along with it, an active Facebook page and the annual SWPC Convention.
But let’s get back to 1978 – Four Tri-Pacer owners – Bob Fuller, Mike Peters, Harold Chadwick, and Al Nixon – met by chance at Van Sant Airport and started talking airplanes. The question came up as to if there was a club-type organization that specialized in helping Tri-Pacer owners. Upon concluding there wasn’t such a club, the four set out to form a club for Tri-Pacer owners. According to founding member Al Nixon, the club’s purpose “was to provide a format for Tri-Pacer owners to pool their knowledge about problems and solutions relating to operating their planes. The format was to take the form of a newsletter. Fly-ins and other social activities were considered a secondary mission of that club.
Bob Fuller sent out the first letter to potential members on December 5, 1978, in which he referred to the group as the Tri-Pacer Owners Group. By January 1980, the club had 92 paid memberships, including members from Canada, England, Ireland, and Mexico.
In March of 1980, the Tri-Pacer Owners Group’s newsletter included a mention of another Tri-Pacer club, the Kansas City Tri-Pacer Association, a group started under the direction of Steve Marsh. Steve organized the Kansas City area group in 1978, the same year that Bob Fuller organized the Tri-Pacer Owners Club, T-POC. The Kansas City Tri-Pacer Association merged with the Tri-Pacer Owners Club in 1981.
Here are some highlights of our history since that 1981 merger and up through 2005:
Today the Short Wing Piper Club continues to thrive and remains true to the objectives that were established early on. What does the future hold for the Short Wing Piper Club? Without a doubt, the future holds even more Flying, Fellowship and Fun with our wonderful Short Wing Pipers and our Short Wing Piper Club Family!