Learning Center Our Enshrinees

Sylvester J. “Steve” Wittman

  • Designed and built a single-place aircraft with a 14-horsepower Harley-Davidson engine at age 20.
  •  Moved to Oshkosh in 1931 to run his own flying service and manage the Winnebago County Airport. 
  • Built his second racer, named Bonzo, and won second place in the 1935 Thompson Trophy Race. 
  • Designed a single-leaf, spring-steel landing gear which major companies adopted.
  • Ran a flight school for the Civil Pilot Training Program from 1940 to 1943, where some 700 pilots were provided nearly 24,000 hours of flight instruction.
  • Designed and built the W-8 Tailwind in 1953, later selling it in kit form to thousands.
  • Joined the Experimental Aircraft Association, as Member Number 38, in 1953 and convinced EAA founder Paul Poberezny (enshrined 1999) to hold the 1956 EAA Fly-In at his Oshkosh Airport, setting a course for future EAA conventions.  
  • Built his final race plane, Witt’s V, in 1970 to compete in the Formula V Class. He became its first National Champion, and continued to win or place in every Formula V race through 1981, when he finally retired from racing.
  • Came out of retirement at age 85 for one last race at the Daytona Skyfest where he placed third.

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