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Vintage, experimental aircraft 'Breezy' to land tonight in Downers Grove

Published: Thursday, July 24, 2014 4:09 p.m. CDT

DOWNERS GROVE – The experimental aircraft known as the Breezy will land in Downers Grove at 5 p.m. Today at Brookeridge Airpark, to reunite with its previous owner and fly to a celebration of the airplane in Wisconsin.

The airplane landing in Downers Grove Thursday was acquired by Downers Grove resident Arnold Zimmerman in 1976. He flew this airplane for 23 years – also featured in the Chicago Air and Water show before selling it to Mark Trimble of Branson, Mo. in 1999.

On Thursday, a friend of Trimble's, Dave Kennerly, is flying the plane into Downers Grove to meet with Zimmerman. The Breezy has been highly modified with amphibious floats, and fitted with a much larger engine, along with an actual Nautical Captain’s Steering Wheel as the control yoke, according to a press release.

Zimmerman built his current Breezy in 1995, and will fly alongside his first plane, piloted by Kennerly, to OshKosh, Wisc. for the big Breezy 50th Anniversary Celebration where approximately 12 Breezy aircraft will be participating in the festivities.

Zimmerman's first flight with his current Breezy was in September 1998. he and his "Breezy N3AZ” have flown more than 12,000 passengers and registered more than 1,400 Young Eagles, according to a press release. Young Eagles is a free program started by EAA in 1992 of volunteer pilots who help bring the aviation to youth between the ages of 8 and 17.

Zimmerman has been flying for more than 59 years and has received many awards. He was inducted into the Illinois Aviation Hall of Fame in 2010, and received the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award in 2005 for 50-plus years of accident free flying. He was also awarded the Philips 66 Leadership Award in 2000 along with Commander Chuck Yeager.

In addition, he kicks off the annual 4th of July celebration in Bolingbrook with fireworks from his Breezy, and will also be doing so at AirVenture this year for the night-time airshows.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the experimental aircraft known. The Breezy is an all frame, “open air” seated aircraft, originally designed by Carl Unger, who died in September 2013, according to a press release.

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