The North Little Rock Chapter 165 of the Experimental Aircraft Association is housed inside a spacious hangar that sits alongside the main entrance to the North Little Rock Municipal Airport just off of Remount Road. Chapter President Jerry Homsley, who, with his brother, Marvin, keeps another hangar nearby that houses their two homebuilt aircraft; a Vans RV-9 cross country plane and an RV-4 sport plane.
Jerry Homsley said the local chapter, the oldest in Arkansas and one of the oldest in the nation, hosts an annual air show, “Wings Over the Rock,” which was held Sept. 25.
“We had a large airshow,” he said. “We had a few T-6s, SMJs, we had Guard helicopters here, and we even had a DC-3. We had a great show, with lots of airplanes, and we even had skydivers.”
Two issues, Homsley said, were unseasonably hot weather, and a larger crowd than anticipated, which created some issues with parking.
“We had people who had issues getting in, getting parked, and getting back out again,” said Homsley. “Next time, we’ll have plenty more help. We have plenty of parking; we just need to manage it better.”
The purpose of the EAA, Homsley said, is to educate people about aviation, to preserve and conserve vintage and sport aircraft, and to bring along the next generation of pilots.
“There’s actually a shortage of pilots coming up. That’s why we have the Young Eagles program, which we use to give kids a close up look at airplanes and to nurture whatever interest they may have. We just participated in a Young Eagles event last Tuesday, in which we flew over 300 fifth grade kids.”
Homsley retired from the automobile business after a 40 year career and now spends much of his time traveling to air shows around the country.
“I’ve been in aviation for probably 35 years, and now I go to air shows,” he said. “I’m an air show announcer, I help put them together, and I do a lot of consulting. I just came from Lewisville, MS where we had a show, then we had the show in Little Rock, and I also did a show in Union City, TN a couple of weeks before that. I stay pretty heavily involved in aviation.”
Homsley said anyone interested in aviation is welcome to attend the EAA chapter’s monthly meetings, held the fourth Saturday of each month, from 8:00 until 10:30 at the EAA hangar. Membership, for anyone wishing to join, is $20 a year. The chapter hosts a breakfast at each monthly meeting that Homsley said costs $7 for all you can eat, with the meeting to follow.
“We call it the Super Breakfast, and it’s open to members and non-members alike,” he said. “To attend the meetings, all you need is an interest in aviation, but you don’t have to be a pilot or own an airplane. You don’t even have to want to be a pilot. We just like to get together and talk airplanes with anyone who wants to join in.”
For anyone wishing to join the chapter, which costs $20 annually, Homsley said they can contact him at 501-517-6210, or just show up at the hangar on any fourth Saturday at 8 a.m. The EAA hangar is located at 8240 Remount Road in North Little Rock.