Frank Christensen to be Inducted into Hall of Fame

Frank Christensen, the founder of Christen Industries, will be inducted into the International Aerobatics Hall of Fame on November 9, 2017. The ceremonies will take place at the Founder's Wing, EAA Aviation Museum, Oshkosh, Wisconsin starting at 6:00 pm.

Frank’s accomplishments:
  • Founder of Tempress Industries which manufactured miniature tools and machinery to create integrated circuits. He sold the company in 1972 and at the time it had three plants and 600 employees.
  • Founder and President of Christen Industries, Hollister, California.
  • Christen Industries introduced the Christen Eagle II to the sport aviation community in 1977 at Oshkosh. It is a two-place aerobatic biplane powered by a 200 hp Lycoming and with one of the most distinctive paint schemes ever conceived for sport aircraft.
  • The Eagle was a kit-built aircraft and Frank set the “gold standard” for homebuilt kits in the future. The airplane came in separate kits and these could be ordered as the builder progressed and finances permitted.
  • There were 26 separate kits and each included its own manual. The kits were so complete that nothing was left to purchase to build the airplane. Only basic hand tools were required and the kits even included a razor blade to opening the packing.
  • The Christen Eagle still stands as an example of how to provide kits to homebuilders, some forty years after its introduction.
  • Frank is a former competition pilot who won the Advanced category at the U.S. National Aerobatic Championships in Texas in 1969 in a Pitts S-1S built for him by Curtis Pitts. After his foray into competition, he concentrated on producing products for the sport aviation world.
  • First sponsor of the famous Eagles Aerobatic Team which performed at AirVenture for decades. The pilots were Tom Poberezny, Charlie Hillard, and Gene Soucy. The three pilots had flown together as the Red Devils until Frank convinced them to transition into the Eagles and re-name their team. The Eagles he built and provided them were single-seat versions with larger 260 hp Lycomings. The team aircraft are now on display in the EAA Aviation Museum’s atrium.
  • Team Manager of the winning 1972 U.S. Aerobatic Team which competed in France and which brought home the Aresti Cup and Nesterov Trophy for the first time in U.S. history.
  • Former owner of the P-51 which is now dubbed “Paul I” and on display in the EAA Aviation Museum. Frank used it for personal transportation in the 1970’s.
  • In addition to the Eagle, Christen Industries also produced the widely-used and well known Christen inverted oil system. This system was FAA-approved and purchased by Lycoming for use on their “A” series engines (aerobatic models) in addition to hundreds of homebuilders of aerobatic aircraft who incorporated the system into their aircraft engines. It also became the industry standard.
  • Frank also owned the Pitts factory in Afton, Wyoming for a few years and which is now owned by Stu Horn of Aviat. Aviat still makes available the Aviat Eagle as well as the Pitts S-2C and Husky. Aviat displays at AirVenture every year with those three aircraft models on display.

IAC and its officers and directors look forward to celebrating this great honor and welcoming Frank Christensen back to Oshkosh and into the Hall of Fame.