Text and Photo by Bruce Estes
Every EAA chapter needs a Jim Hughes. Jim joined EAA Chapter 1541 a couple of years ago, then joined the Board of Directors, then was elected Treasurer, and then took over the Secretary’s duties (in addition to the Treasurer’s duties) when the Secretary position became open. Yes, every chapter needs a Jim Hughes.
Jim grew up in a rural area east of Buffalo, New York, and, as a child, enjoyed the outdoor life, especially anything with motors. Jim built minibikes and go-karts, and raced them around a 1/8 mile track in Jim’s back yard.
He graduated from the state university of New York with a degree in electrical engineering, and then went to work as a design engineer with Control Data Corp. Jim moved to California in 1977 when he went to work for Dataproducts. Jim then joined Xircom, Inc., which was eventually bought by Intel
Corporation. Jim holds four patents for electrical motor control, laser marking, and thermal management. He retired in 2003.
Jim started flight training in 1993 at Camarillo flying Cessna 152’s. After forty hours, Jim had to put his flight training on hold because of kids in college and his mortgage. That changed when Jim moved to Northern California in 2006 and joined the Beale Aero Club in 2008. He got his Private Pilot’s License in 2009. He emphasizes that the Beale Aero Club trains pilots using USAF guidelines and uses a very disciplined approach. Jim came to appreciates the Beale Aero Club’s approach. In 2010, he joined three co-owners of a Cessna 175, which he now flies out of Lincoln Airport.
Jim has worked with John Henry since restarting flight training. So, after eight years of troubleshooting electrical issues on Aero Club aircraft, his own Cessna 175, and others John was working on, he’s acquired a lot of knowledge on aircraft electrical systems.
As you might have figured out by now, Jim likes a disciplined approach to many things. He organized the ground crew for our chapter’s Tri-Motor event in 2015. The Tri-Motor crew said that EAA 1541’s ground crew was one of the best they had experienced and that was one of the reasons that the Tri-Motor was able to complete as many flights for our chapter.
Other accomplishments of Jim’s are running the Los Angeles Invitational Marathon in 1983 and completing himself with a time of 2:37. That’s over 26 miles, averaging 6 minutes a mile. For those of you who are not runners, this is very fast. As a fellow 1541 board member, I have the privilege to see Jim’s work at the monthly board meetings. Jim has taken EAA 1541 to a higher level of professionalism with his work on budgets, reporting of income and expenses, keeping the roster current, along with many other items. We all owe Jim a big “THANK YOU” for your work for EAA 1541.