GKWFA has received a number of smaller donations, totaling 650$, in memory of Helmut Kaufman. The donations were directed to GKWFA at the request of Helmut’s son, Karl Kaufman, in order to honor Helmut’s life-long love of aviation. Please take a moment to read the moving historical bio of Helmut. Our thanks to Karl, William Reese, and Devyn Sheehan for their role in facilitating the donation.
Helmut Kaufmann, February 21, 1925 to January 13, 2016
Helmut was born in Hindenburg Germany (now Zabrze Poland), as one of 8 children. His childhood and young adulthood were turbulent. His father was killed in the rioting in 1933 as Hitler was beginning his rise to power. During World War II his older brother was lost on the Eastern Front, his family was bombed out of their home multiple times, and he was separated from them for several years. Following the war his family was scattered across East and West Germany, and he ended up back in his hometown in Poland. Deciding to escape to the West, Helmut managed to slip into West Berlin just before the erection of the Berlin Wall. In West Germany he trained as a machinist before coming to the US. Helmut settled in Fullerton, where he met and married his wife, Helen, and where I was born and grew up. Helmut moved to Silver Spring Maryland in the spring of 2015 to be near my family and me.
Though never a pilot himself, Helmut had a life-long love of flying and aviation that he expressed through modeling and flying RC planes and helicopters. In fact, one of his first purchases once he moved to Maryland was an RC helicopter to fly in his apartment. He also passed that love of flight on to me which led to me flying gliders and working as a line boy at Skylark Gliderport near Lake Elsinore while a high school student, participating in Harvey Mudd College’s Bates Aeronautics program flying out of Brackett Field in La Verne, serving in the USAF as a C-130 pilot, and now working in Human Factors for the FAA at FAA Headquarters in Washington, DC.
When friends and colleagues asked if there was some way they could help memorialize my father, I sought an organization to support that was dedicated to giving young people the same gift that my father gave me, which led me to Giving Kids Wings. I’m especially glad that the contributions in his memory will directly support education in aviation and flight training for young people about the same age I was when I became involved in aviation. The fact that Giving Kids Wings is in Southern California is also especially fitting since that’s both where my father called home and where I learned to fly.