Glenn Gordon, EAA 399005, did not just buy a nice looking biplane when he purchased his 1982 Marquart MA-5 Charger. Glenn bought himself a champion.
His Charger was originally constructed by Remo Galeazzi, EAA 18434. Remo was known for being an affable friend, a humorous and detailed writer, and a skilled builder. He spent nearly 10 years on his Charger, and wrote in Sport Aviation (“Chicken House Chargers,” June 1985) that he never would have even started the beautiful biplane were it not for Jim Smith.
Jim encouraged Remo to join him in the endeavor, and the two of them ordered Charger plans from the designer, Ed Marquart, around the same time. Remo often consulted Jim throughout the early days of the build, which eventually led to the two of them renting out an old chicken coop once their projects became too much for their houses (or wives) to deal with anymore.
The two builders worked mere feet from one another, and Remo never failed to acknowledge how important Jim’s help was throughout the build, especially when Jim moved a bit ahead of Remo on his Charger. Remo could look beside him and see what the next step should look like. Jim was so important to Remo that he called him his angel when it came to the airplane build.
The two brought their exquisite Marquart builds to Oshkosh in 1982, and came home with some delicious validation when Jim’s was named the 1982 Plansbuilt Grand Champion. When Remo returned some five years later, he too received the honor of being the Plansbuilt Grand Champion. That chicken coop ended up producing a pair of award-winning aircraft!
Even though Remo’s airplane was the belle of the ball in 1987, it still needed some work when Glenn bought it just about a quarter-century later.
“I have owned the plane since 2012 and have put around 350 hours on it so far,” Glenn said. “I have also done some upgrades, modification, and restoration on the aircraft.”
Remo probably would not have minded a few tweaks being made. After all, he and Jim initially bonded over their shared idea that the leading edge of the vertical stabilizer on the Charger could be modified for the better. No homebuilt airplane is ever truly finished.
As these things tend to go, the airplane was more than an airplane to Remo and to his family. Remo’s daughter, Rae-Anne, had fond memories of her father’s Charger, and she was able to see it up close again thanks to Glenn.
“I flew the plane to Petaluma, California, a few months back to visit his daughter since she hadn’t seen the plane in many years,” Glenn said.
When he isn’t taking the biplane to its home in Petaluma, Glenn is using it for other important purposes. In addition to cross-country and aerobatic flying, he’s given “a bunch” of Eagle Flights and Young Eagle rides in the Charger.
Glenn and his self-described “flying family” currently reside at the Cameron Airpark Estates in California, offering a perfect environment to keep the Charger flying for a long time to come.