Meet Steve Morse, EAA 223710. That name might be familiar to you, if you are familiar with the Dixie Dregs, Kansas, or Deep Purple — but around Oshkosh, Steve is just another aviation enthusiast who is part of the EAA family community.
Steve has been a member of EAA since 1984, and has been coming to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh for many years now but still remembers his first time.
“I had an old little one-person tent, and I flew in with a Citabria — that was the late ’70s,” Steve said.
“I was one of those kids that wanted to fly ever since they were aware, and also one of those kids that tried to jump off the roof with a sheet,” Steve said.
As a kid, Steve would save up his 5-cent-a-week allowance to buy rubber-band-powered balsa wood airplanes. As years went on, Steve built every model airplane he could get his hands on — but nothing would compare to the real thing.
At the end of 1974, Steve’s opportunity to fly finally came.
“I finally got a regular paying job as a musician while enrolled in the University of Miami School of Music,” Steve said. “So, I answered the classified ad for a $600 pilot license package. The guys were recently furloughed airline pilots, and let me solo at an early five hours, as well as let me take my solo cross-country up to my parent’s home in Georgia (1,200 miles). I’d spent my whole life imagining the effects of all the control surfaces, weight distribution, angle of thrust, etc., so they let me have those freedoms after I showed them that I understood the airplane.”
In no time Steve earned his pilot certificate and eventually his instrument rating. After college, Steve had a period where he referred to himself as a “starving musician.” He didn’t have a whole lot of money, but when he came across an affordable aircraft for sale, he practically leapt out of his seat.
“My first airplane was a Tri-Pacer, and it was $4,200,” Steve recalled. “I never thought I would ever have a Tri-Pacer, but it became available there in Georgia where I lived, and when I saw it, I suddenly got excited. It had four seats, and I could take most of the guys in the band, or my dogs.”
Steve eventually sold that airplane and upgraded to bigger (and sometimes smaller) and in most cases better. Over the years, Steve estimated he has owned upward of 20 airplanes, including five motorgliders and, at one point, a Korean war-era twin-engine jet trainer!
Currently, Steve is a proud custodian of a Glasair, Ciruss SR22, and Aerotrek taildragger. Steve said he loves coming to AirVenture in the Glasair because the back door feature allows him to easily load everything he needs, including his bicycle!
Back for More
After a year of no AirVenture, Steve said he’s ready to be back at Oshkosh with his EAA family and friends.
“I originally used to live near Detroit — most of my family was based around there, and so I got used to that friendly Midwest mentality. That was back in the ’60s that I lived there, but I think Wisconsin still has that and that super friendly welcoming vibe that, you know, people don’t communicate as well these days, and I’m afraid that’s going to die out, but it’s still alive at Oshkosh, and I’m super glad for that,” Steve said.