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  This is a letter to the EAA Bill wrote in early February.

   Tim and Betty Mickel have a jewel in the small town of Scioto Mills, Illinois. They provide an opportunity for folks in the area to really experience grass roots airplanes. Tim made it possible for me to build a plane and for many others to learn the skills related to building and rebuilding airplanes.
   Tim and I both worked for Honeywell and we have known each other for years. We owned a Cherokee 180 since about 1986. (I regretfully sold my share in 2003) That Cherokee time is when our real partnership to share the love of aviation really started. We flew it many hours and did all the maintenance we could with the supervision of Darrell Janssen, who operates the FBO in Freeport, Illinois and is always ready help us.
    Tim Mickel N57TL                                 Bill Emo 58TL
     Tim had a small barn in his yard that he completely rebuilt to provide a place to build airplanes. Tim always had a love for Pietenpols so bought some plans. We started building two Pietenpols in 1995. That was an experience that I will never forget. We spent 3 years making parts and then assembled the planes in the barn until we could take them to Albertus Airport in Freeport. We learned all the things you have to know about wood, epoxy, weight and balance, covering, metal work and bungees, etc.
    We flew N57TL (Tim’s Piet) and N58TL (my Piet) to Oshkosh in 2002. We are a half an hour from Brodhead Wisconsin, (the Pietenpol Mecca). Our Pietenpols are red and cream look-a-likes with 0-200 engines, with a pretty well equipped VFR panel, lights and a starter. 
  Tim made it possible for us to have all the fun discussing the myriad of decisions involved in actually experiencing the joy of building your own plane and flying that creation. Many times we would spend the evening just figuring out how to proceed.

   Tim also let me use his C140 to gain tail dragger time before attempting the Pietenpol. I now have about 440 hours on N58TL all because of Tim’s kindness and help. I would have never finished the plane without Tim’s knowledge and encouragement. Since then the barn has been the host of some ultra light covering, a wing recovering for a Champ and now a compete rebuild of a 1946 Taylor craft is process.

    This is not really a story about all the planes that have passed through the Red Barn, but of the generosity of Tim and Betty for sharing the Red Barn experience with others. Most Thursdays will find 3 to 8 folks interested in learning about airplanes or just to be with people who are interested in grass roots airplanes. Tim welcomes all of us to recondition the T-craft pride and joy he has owned since he was a teenager. He shows how to do each step, then lets us all have hands on experience on whatever is being done that night.

    Not everyone would let folks mess with their pride and joy, but that is the way to learn,
        Tim’s way.
                    Bill Emo
In a letter to the EAA, Bill's son wrote...

Ms. Jones,
   My father, Bill Emo, passed away on 14Feb09. Prior to his passing he had written the attached article on Tim Mickel's Red Barn and I believe was planning on submitting it to the EAA. These two guys had built a matching set of Pietenpols during the 1995-2001 timeframe and flew them to Oshkosh in 2002. I've attached two photos, one of the Red Barn and Tim, and the other of the two guys at Oshkosh. I have a nice photo of the Red Barn with Tim that I didn't send, 7M worth of email jamming. So if you want it please let me know. Here is a little history behind the story.

    Here is a little history behind the story. I don't know where to really begin, other than to say as a small kid growing up I can't tell you how much my father wanted to fly and more importantly build his own airplane. I can remember going to the EAA fly-in when they were still held in Rockford - I was real young.
   Growing up I was the oldest of five and worked with him on many projects from model airplanes, rebuilding cars, jeeps, building houses, etc. I even built a hang glider back in the 1970 - and let's leave it at we tried to fly it. When I would ask Dad why he didn't get his pilot’s license he would always say he couldn't afford it. As life moved on I worked my way through college, found a good paying job, got my private pilot license, I was still single and had more disposable income, so on my way home for Christmas present I stopped by his local airport and purchased 10 hours dual and wrote a note -                              "Here you should be able to solo - the rest is up to you."
He never looked back. A dozen years later I returned for another Christmas I he proudly showed me a couple dozen large wing ribs he said he was building for a friend. Well the rest as they say is history. Dad loved anything to do with airplanes but preferred flying them. I'm so happy that he could realize his dream and not only learning to fly but also to fulfill his lifelong dream of building an airplane and flying it to Oshkosh.
    Thanks to Tim and the Red Barn. I believe Dad went by Lorenz Emo EAA 98936 in your records but his friends called him Bill. For the record both Dad and I are/were Engineers so excuse any butchering of the English language.

Steve Emo CFII