The Propeller under the Bed
On July 25, 2010, Arnold Ebneter flew across the country in a plane he designed and built himself, setting an aviation world record for aircraft of its class. He was eighty-two at the time and the flight represented the culmination of a dream he'd cultivated since his childhood in the 1930s.
Eileen Bjorkman ― herself a pilot and aeronautical engineer ― frames her father's journey from teenage airplane enthusiast to Air Force pilot and Boeing engineer in the context of the rise, near extermination, and ongoing interest in homebuilt aircraft in the United States. She gives us a glimpse into life growing up in a "flying family" with two pilots for parents, a family plane named Charlie, and quite literally, a propeller under her parents' bed.
From early airplane designs serialized in magazines to the annual Oshkosh Fly-in where you can see experimental aircraft on display, Bjorkman offers a personal take on the history of building something in your garage that you can actually (and legally) fly as well as how the homebuilt aircraft movement has contributed to aviation and innovation in America.
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"Bjorkman does a good job of weaving a thoughtful and interesting history of the homebuilt aircraft movement into the more personal account of her father's flying career."―Russell Lee, Chair, Aeronautics Department, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution
"A wonderfully compelling book. The Propeller under the Bed makes a large contribution to the aviation community."―W. Scott Olsen, author of Never Land: Adventures, Wonder, and One World Record in a Very Small Plane
"A beautifully crafted and very personal tour of the history of homebuilt aircraft, in a manner reminiscent of the character Forrest Gump. Each step of learning to fly, growing as a family within the military, and the dream of setting a long distance record is woven into the evolution of homebuilt aircraft. That propeller under the bed moves this story forward in ways that make it an essential read for aviation enthusiasts and homebuilders young or old."―Terry Lutz, experimental test pilot and RV-8 builder, who brought the Airbus A380 to Oshkosh in 2009
"The Propeller Under the Bed is a fun and inspiring story. Eileen masterfully weaves together her perspective as an aeronautical engineer and an 'insider' of the homebuilt movement with her father's dream to design, build, and fly a world-record setting aircraft. And she tells it all in the larger context of the history of aviation. A must read for aviation enthusiasts everywhere!"―Charlie Precourt, retired NASA Chief Astronaut and EAA Vice Chairman