Harvest man wins grand champion award at international air show


HAZEL GREEN, Ala. – Mike Messex took his home-built helicopter to Wisconsin for one of the biggest air shows in the country and brought a grand champion award home to Harvest. He took the time to speak with News 19 about the experience.

The Experimental Aircraft Association’s EAA AirVenture Oshkosh is an international airshow held in Wisconsin every year. Messex said participants come from all over the world to show off their aircraft and other wares and meet fellow aviation enthusiasts.

Messex called Oshkosh a central gathering for all things aviation-related. He also said he has gone every year since 2015.

Mike Messex in his Gold Lindy award-winning helicopter

This year, he entered his brilliantly purple, home-built, one-seater Mosquito 290 into the rotorcraft judging category. In that category, he took home the top prize, the grand champion of helicopters.

His award, the Gold Lindy, considered the highest award in recreational aviation is named after the pilot, Charles Lindbergh. An aviation hero who made history by being the first person to fly nonstop from New York to Paris.

Only a few Lindy awards are handed out each year and Messex is one of about 75 winners across 11 categories and more than 3,100 entries.

Messex described the judging process, “There’s three different judges, they want to see proof that you built. They look at your workmanship, they look at the fit and finish. They also quiz you throughout on control mechanisms. Modifications that you done on it that are non-standard.”

His Mosquito 290 took him about five years to build and most of his parts came from old aircraft. The main body of his helicopter came from a helicopter that had previously crashed.

When asked what his favorite part of the whole process was, Messex said, “I like to build them and making them different. Just doing different things on it, trying out my design ideas trying to incorporate that. I like doing that.”

Congratulations to Messex on his award!

Oshkosh 2022 will be held July 25-31, 2022.

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