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2001-2005 Built a Hatz Classic biplane in his garage.: Ron Sieck

Ron Sieck
Transportation Mode:

Working and raising a family, it was 1999 before Ron came across a 1941 Piper J-5. With this plane he returned to flying and became a regular at classic fly-ins. At a fly-in in Blakesburg, IA he saw a Hatz biplane and knew it was the plane he wanted.

In the fall of 2001 he began building his Hatz Classic biplane. He did all the woodwork in his basement. He welded the fuselage in his garage. He worked on the metal parts in the summer and fall. By December he moved back into the basement to complete the wing-building process. He moved back and forth between these areas for five years. 

Ron credits a friendship formed because of his project with Ray Hill Jr., who was an EAA technical counselor and became his mentor. As the project was nearing completion Ray’s eyesight was failing and he finally had to quit serving as his technical counselor. 

Ron painted the plane in the summer of 2006, passed inspection in July 2007 and made his first flight on August 3, 2007. His friend Ray never got to see the plane fly but did see it assembled and sitting on the runway. Ray passed away in June 2007. During the years Ron worked on the plane Ray earned the nick name Rainman. He put the name Rainman on the airplane as tribute to his friend. Ron feels it was a fitting homage to the man who helped turn the dream of the Classic into a reality, and who had grown to mean much more than "technical help" to the builder. 


Ron attended the Oshkosh AirVenture in 2008. He went to enjoy the event but he walked away with the 2008 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Award….Gold Lindys Grand Champion Plans built……Hatz Classic, N230RS

Looking for a way to honor Ray Hill and all of his technical assistance during the building of his Hatz biplane, Ron is now paying it forward. Ron is rebuilding Ray's Hatz CB-1 no.006, which was built and finished by Ray in 1982. This biplane has been owned by Dr. Jeff Cain, a family physician, of Denver, Colorado since 1995. As a tribute to Ray Hill, Dr. Cain wrote an article in the EAAers in action members forum, his words capture the spirit of aviation, "For me, the Hatz that Ray built and my friendship with him have taken me places that had previously only existed in books or in dreams. Because of Ray's life and work, more than 400 kids have had their first biplane ride in the Hatz."

Ron Sieck is a lifelong Grinnell resident. He and his wife Margy have two children and three grandchildren. 


 With great honor we recognize Ron Sieck as a Hero by Example. Presenting the award is Dr. Jeff Cain. Dr. Cain is also honoring his friendship and admiration of Ron by making a personal contribution to the Spaulding Center. Dr. Cain is sponsoring the Eulenspiegel Puppet Theater that will present two performances to children of all ages telling the story of “Gertie’s Journey on the Underground Railroad” here on Friday, June 21. Children will also have the opportunity to make puppets. 

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