During EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2022, Ken Jordan was honored with the Phillips 66 Young Eagles Leadership Award for his many years of service to EAA and the Young Eagles program. Ken first got into aviation when he was in his 30s.
“I was growing up and, even as an adult, you look at the planes in the sky and go, ‘I’m going to learn to fly,’” Ken explained. “I’m sitting in my office in Michigan, and I was kind of bored. I picked up the Yellow Pages … flight school! Yeah, that’s what I need.”
Ken’s journey into aviation went quickly from there. He got his private pilot certificate in six months, earned his instrument rating, and bought into an airplane. Ken’s excitement must have been contagious, because it wasn’t long before his wife had an idea.
“My wife came home from work one day and said, ‘I think I’m going to build a plane,’” Ken said. “Okay … you kind of let it go. A few weeks went by and she says, ‘No really, I’m going to build a plane!’ Probably six months went by, and she comes from work and says, ‘I ordered a kit.’ … It took us three years to get it where it was flying.”
It didn’t take long for Ken to become involved in EAA.
“Obviously, as a pilot, everybody’s heard of Oshkosh,” Ken said. “It was on my bucket list for a couple of years. … I’d been coming here for probably about seven or eight years, and I decided to join a chapter.”
Originally joining a chapter in Michigan, it didn’t take long for Ken to become the Young Eagles chapter coordinator. Later moving to Florida, Ken joined the Orlando chapter. However, he lived a quite a ways away from Orlando.
“I’m 50 miles away, and it started to become sort of silly when we’ve got the need at my home airport,” Ken said. “We only have about 28 planes on the field, 25 of them are members of the chapter. So we started Chapter 1632 about five years ago. We concentrate on the kids. I’m the Young Eagles coordinator as well as the president. We do six Young Eagles rallies a year. My target is 300 kids a year.”
With the help of funds through the Young Eagles program, Chapter 1632 manages to send a kid to the EAA Air Academy every year. In addition, it’s had Ray scholars for two years. Overall, Ken loves helping kids achieve their aviation dreams.
“I know some of the kids that I’ve taken have gone on to do what they want to do, to be pilots, to be commercial pilots, or to use that start to do other big things,” Ken said. “I’ve flown over 1,600 kids. I’ve been doing it for 30 years, so, and pretty regularly, too. The numbers just add up.”
In addition to his own chapter, Ken helps at the EAA membership booth at SUN ’n FUN every year and is the chairman of North 40 Camper Registration during AirVenture. Ken has been volunteering at the North 40 for more than 25 years.
Thank you, Ken, for all the work you do for EAA, both during AirVenture and throughout the rest of the year.
Volunteers make EAA AirVenture Oshkosh — and just about everything else EAA does — possible. This space in EAA Sport Aviation is dedicated to thanking and shining the spotlight on volunteers from the community. Sadly, it cannot capture all of the thousands of volunteers who give so much to the community every year. So, next time you see a volunteer at AirVenture or elsewhere, however they are pitching in to make EAA better, be sure to thank them for it. It’s the least we can do. Do you know a volunteer you’d like to nominate for Volunteer Spotlight? Visit EAA.org/Submissions.