About Me

Eileen Bjorkman

Photo by Ruby James

Hello everyone! I’m Eileen Bjorkman and I’ve been involved with aviation for most of my adult life — more than thirty years (I’ll let you do the math to figure out my age). I hold Airline Transport Pilot and Certificated Flight Instructor ratings and I have 2,000 hours of flying time. My specialties are aerobatics and tailwheel flying, and I owned a Bellanca Decathlon for eighteen years and I now have a 2003 Super Decathlon that I own in partnership with two other people.

In addition to my civilian pilot time, I was a flight test engineer in the USAF, where I had the opportunity to fly more than 700 hours in 25 different types of military aircraft, primarily the F-4, F-16, C-130, and C-141. I retired from the Air Force in 2010 as a colonel.

I have both MS and BS degrees in Aeronautical Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in Ohio, and a BS in Computer Science from the University of Washington in Seattle. I also have a PhD in Systems Engineering from The George Washington University in Washington, DC.

I’ve had articles appear in Air & Space/Smithsonian, Aviation History, The Daily Herald (Everett, Washington) and Sport Aviation, as well as a wide variety of technical journals.

22 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Colonel Bjorkman,

    In the late 1980s, I was a part time flight instructor at Harvey Field, where I worked with your Father. He was still the manager of the Everett Air Safety group at Boeing, where I was working at my day job as a Stability & Control Engineer. Our groups sat in the same bay, so we chatted several times a month at our day jobs, as well as working together at Harvey Field.

    This blog & book are a wonderful project. What a wonderful way to honor Arnold. I wish you all the best with it.

  2. Hi Eileen! I am your mother’s cousin from St. Paul, Mn and came across your blog by chance. I remember meeting your dad many years ago when your dad and mother Colleen (Pudge, as we used to call her) came to visit my mom, Marion Schwartz….who was your grandmother’s twin sister! I would love to catch up on you and your sisters lives, if that is of any interest to you. You can reach me at my email address of ederdoski@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you and about your family! Eileen (Schwartz) Derdoski

  3. Hi! I am an EAA Member (803514) from Finland. I read a nice story about your father Arnold Ebneter and his record. Sports Aviation January 2011 page 50 he told he got to know a Finnish type Heinonen HK-1 “Keltiaeinen” and that was a kind of idol for him. That happened during 1958 and HK-1 made a world record (a flight from Finland to Spain) 1956-1957. I want to tell him that same plane still exists – it locates in EFRY Raeyskealea and that place is some 50 nm from my home Lempaeaelae. I see that plane – HK-1 – every summer (in fact there are two of them in the same hangar and they are only ones in the world). I have build an Europa Mono and have also an Antonov AN-2. Tell wishes to your great father from Finland – I hope he is still OK.

    • Raimo — Yes, my father is doing well and still flying, and thank you for your comments. And yes, he was definitely inspired by the Finnish plane and record. If he had not read about the Heinonen record, he might not have ever gotten the idea for his own record. Its great that the HK-1 is still around. Maybe I will get to see it some day. I visited Finland in 2000 and had a wonderful time, but at the time I didn’t know about the HK-1 and the role it played in my father’s airplane. Best wishes to you and have fun flying your Mono and AN-2 — they both sound like fun! — Eileen

  4. Ms. Bjorkman,

    Hello, I have admired your father since reading in Sport Aviation magazine of the resilience, guts and stamina required in setting his endurance record. Tonight I read of his most recent record attempt. Who is this man? Fascinating. I Googled his name and found your Blog. Please save an early printing of the book for me!

    See you at Osh.

    Thomas E. Janke
    Clarkston, MI
    EAA 380309

  5. Hi Eileen. Very much enjoyed the site. Brought back a lot of warm memories of Arnold, Colleen and the family back in the Debbie St. days at EAFB. Printed up this and the EAA article (in big print) for Dad who will be 89 month end. He enjoyed it immensely and conveys his best to your father. Hope all is well with you and yours. John Geiger

    • John, Wow, good to hear from you! I moved back to the Seattle area a few months ago. I’m glad you and your dad enjoyed the site. I’ve been thinking a lot about all of you lately as I write things up. I should be getting to some posts about England AFB over the next couple of weeks. My dad is still doing well — and still flying! I’ll pass along your dad’s regards. Eileen

  6. I just had my Commercial Multi-Engine check ride today… and I passed. I didn’t not know that I had a truly amazing man with a clip board sitting next to me watching. Over the past month I have had several conversations with Arnold and have learned a lot from him.
    Since coming home I found the blog about his life and feel very fortunate to of been able to fly with him and look forward to learning more from him. Thank you for sharing some of his life and experiences.

  7. Hi Eileen,
    I only met your dad once or twice, back about ten years ago. I visited him regarding his balloon work and flights for General Mills. He copied his log book entires for these flights and made notes on them for me. He also xeroxed some photos for me. He told me he had movies of some of these flights, but I have not seen them. I was also fortunate in meeting Charlie Moore, who your dad might have mentioned. Manned balloon history has been a passion of mine for many years, although I have fixed wing as well as balloon pilot certs. I have recently began writing articles for Ballooning magazine, covering the years from 1946 to 1970, and your dad will certainly come up eventually. I very much enjoyed meeting him. Would love to hear from you, and certainly want a copy of the book.
    Kindest regards,
    Richard Douglass

    • Hi Richard,

      It’s great to hear from you. I remember my dad telling me about someone talking to him a while back about his ballooning experiences, so it was probably you. Charlie Moore is mentioned in my book, along with a synopsis of my dad’s ballooning stories. I’ll send a note to your email address as well!

      Thank you!


  8. Dear Dr. Bjorkman,

    I just finished your book and want to let you know it is a fine tribute to your father, George Bogardus, Paul Poberezny and Richard VanGrunsven. It puts their efforts into context that explains how long years of labor paid off. Putting Van’s efforts into the history of homebuilt aviation as you have done gives the reader a better understanding of why he was and is successful. Great Work!

  9. Hi Eileen,

    My name is Hu, a Snohomish Flying Services student from China, so I was your father’s student. I have a book “The propeller under the bed” you wrote. While I saw them on the upstair receipt desk of SFS, I was sucked by them because I love fly and I love a home-bulit plane. I have a dream to be a pilot when I was a kid before 30 years ago. While 30 years past, I was 43, still have the dream to be a pilot. To become a pilot is a not easy thing to me, To make a home-built plane is dozens times difficult more than my license.

    From 2014, I start my pilot learning in China, and went to SFS for flight practice in 2015. I don’t have the PPL license while I didn’t have enough time to learn because I just have a month holiday a year. As a result, I have to go and back for flight training. From 2015-2017, I went to SFS for training and never give up.

    I think the book is very good and it worth to introduce to China, so I have a request, please help me to translate this book in Chinese by myself. I do know this is a easy thing for me but I do want to try it. My plan is finish the book’s translation in 1 year
    and you’ll see it when I go back SFS in 2018.

    Best wish

    Hui Ye

    email: yh1703@outlook.com

  10. Hello Eileen,

    I recently finished your book, and absolutely loved it. You did a fantastic job weaving your father’s personal story into the much larger history of homebuilt aircraft. Your father’s dedication to his goal over such a long time is truly inspiring.

    Thank you,
    Paul C. Haley

  11. Hi Eileen,

    I recently purchased a 1946 Cessna 140 project in pieces here in Canada, and I’m currently in the process of restoring it. I ordered the records for it dating from when it was built until it was exported to Canada in 1971, and see that your father owned it at one point, in 1954. I’ll be attending Airventure this year and would love to meet him if it is able to make it!

    • Todd,

      That’s amazing about the Cessna 140! I don’t know if my dad is going to make it Oshkosh this summer, but I will be sure to let him know about this!


        • I will let him know the tail number — he couldn’t remember it. We started to look it up but he has so many logbooks and it was so long ago and then we got distracted and I completely forgot about it! My dad will be at Oshkosh on Monday and part of Tuesday (until about noon). When will you be there? If you like, you can send me an email at eabjorkman@aol.com to make coordination easier.

  12. Hi Eileen,

    Happy to see the family reunion at Oshkosh, I emailed to you and talked about the issue of the book.
    Please give me a feedback, thanks.


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