It’s now easier to find out which governor of a state has not issued a proclamation declaring how much they appreciate aviation than those that have. The Alliance for Aviation Across America (AAAA) sent out a news release last week with a headline declaring 40 governors have now signed proclamations. That’s good news. But what the headline declared to me was, who are those ten rascals who have not!
AAAA has been working hard over the last couple of years to rally the troops and convince all 50 state governors to recognize aviation and the value it represents to their state. In the same news release mentioned above, the Alliance says that out of the 40 state proclamations, 29 have specifically recognized the economic importance of general aviation to their state and the national economy. The governors have specifically cited the jobs and economic impact of aviation, as well as how general aviation and local airports serve as a lifeline to many rural communities, supporting health care, disaster relief, law enforcement and a host of other important services and resources.
Most recently, Governor Christine Gregoire of Washington and Governor Brian Sandoval of Nevada have recognized this important industry by designating June as “General More >
Bill Lyon, Deputy Director of Operations has retired from the Nebraska Department of Aeronautics (NDA) after serving the state as a pilot and administrator for more than 40 years.
With an Airline Transport Pilot rating, Bill retires with over 16,000 hours in a wide variety of aircraft. I count it an honor and a privilege to have shared the flight deck with him for a very small percentage of those hours.
Whether in the cockpit of a Cessna 182 or the Department’s Piper Navajo or Cheyenne, I spent many hours flying above the expansive Nebraska landscape, talking about aviation, talking about life and soaking up bits of wisdom from this skilled aviator.
As the Director of the Nebraska Department of Aeronautics between the years of 1992 and 1998 I had the opportunity to work with Bill not only in the air but on the ground, in good times and the challenging times as well. It is through the day to day grind that you truly get to know a person.
A definition of venerable is, “commanding respect by virtue of age, dignity, character, or position” – all fine characteristics and each can be attributed to Bill. But, the one that stands out to me More >
I use to fly into Kansas City Downtown airport quite a bit in my early flying days. It brings back both pleasant memories and a not so pleasant one. I read recently of the completion of a $90 million revitalization project at the airport last week.
The project featured a new general aviation terminal building, construction of 96 hangars, including 12 with radiant floor heating; a self-service fuel island; and runway and taxiway rehabilitation.
Dedicated by Charles Lindbergh in 1927, Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport is the city’s first airport and still one of its busiest. Originally home to commercial aviation, the airport now attracts a large number of corporate, charter and recreational flyers.
The good memories are of the days I would ride along with a friend who flew freight in a Piper Aerostar. The route consisted of a late night departure from Omaha’s Eppley Airfield to Lambert Field in St. Louis. We would drop our cargo, pick up new, and then head to Kansas City, arriving at the Downtown airport around 4:00 A.M. We would then get a couple of hours of shut-eye in the pilot’s lounge before heading to Lincoln, Nebraska and then back to Omaha.
The not-so-fond memory came from More >
In the late 50′s Cessna and their nationwide network of dealers did a great job marketing the company’s new C-172 by mailing out postcards to prospective students and owners.
My mom recently presented me with a stack of old post cards she had been saving, including the one shown with this article. The shiny C-172 pictured with a first generation Corvette certainly caught my eye today as I’m sure it must have for anyone who saw it back in the day.
This particular post card was addressed to my dad, Sam Stevens, and came from Clinch Flying Service, a Cessna dealer, located at the Municipal Airport in North Platte, Nebraska. It was postmarked April 10, 1957 and was a reminder that ground school class would be held on the following Saturday at 10:00 A.M. The back of the post card reads, [Take a "drive" in the sky in this amazing new airplane, the Cessna 172 with patented "Land-O-Matic" landing gear. It makes "flying like driving!" See and fly one at your nearest Cessna Dealer today.]
My dad got to fly the 172 on lots of cross countries back then. He got his Private license in Tulsa Oklahoma in the mid fifties More >
I like to take walks in the early evening, just as the sun is setting. It helps to clear my head, reflect on the day’s activities and wonder where my next steps may take me. Interestingly, I noticed that I tend to look up at the sky for most of the walk, not to the point of bumping into things or falling off the curb, but I look from the horizon up and not the horizon down.
In classic chicken and egg thinking, I don’t know if I look up because I love airplanes or if it’s because I love the sky and planes just happen to be there. In the few days following 9-11, it was eerie not seeing any airplanes in the sky but I nevertheless still looked up. There is something about the infinity of the sky – it gives me hope.
Now, there is something to be said about terra firma, it’s nice to have my feet firmly planted on solid ground and indeed the ground is teaming with life and opportunity, but the call of the sky and the great expanse beyond it is tough to ignore.
For generations the sky has offered us adventure, mystery and More >
With the news that 20th Century Fox has purchased the rights for a film based on the exploits of the bare-foot bandit, are we sending the message to every would-be thief in America that our GA airports are easy marks? News reports are growing and their seems to be a quiet expectation and longing for word on the continued exploits of the young fugitive, accused of stealing planes, cars and boats. Beginning along the West Coast, he has most recently brought his passion for crime to the Midwest with apparent break-ins at airports in South Dakota and Nebraska. Colton Harris-Moore, dubbed the “barefoot bandit” because he was without shoes when he allegedly broke into houses in Oregon and Washington, may be inadvertently the cause of the media’s message that thievery is easy at general aviation airports. If the allegations against Harris-Moore, 19, are true, the young man may be becoming more desperate, if not dangerous, according to some reports. Everyone loves a good story but we don’t want to create a birthing ground for would-be copycats who crave the attention of a nation-wide audience and a little milk to the point of causing, accidently or not, the loss of life. More >
I don’t know if I’m just getting use to the way we go through security at the airport these days, or if it really isn’t all that bad, or if I’ve become a frequent flyer zombie destined for the same end as a Lemming.
I recently flew from Phoenix to Los Angeles World Airports, (LAX) for the FAA Western Pacific Region’s 6th Annual Airports conference. I was reminded why they call LAX “World Airports” having seen so many different carriers represented during my stay. My hotel room looked out at the arriving aircraft and it was captivating counting up all of the different companies flying in to the international airport, foreign and domestic, freight and passenger.
Back to security, I guess it’s sad, thinking that it has become routine to strip down before the security gods. At least I’ve learned what to do and what not to do to get through without the embarrassment of a wand or hand search. I’m not sure what she did to warrant the special attention, but I watched as a rather
distinguished middle aged woman in plain view of the rest of us, was patted down by a matronly TSA employee, well patted down is not More >
I read with interest a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, “Road to Redemption”, which pointed out which airlines are the most generous with frequent-flyer award seats and which are the least. The article placed Southwest and Alaska among the best and Delta and US Airways as among the worst. My problem over the years was the inability to remain loyal to anyone airline. That was especially true quite a few years ago when I was flying out of Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska. I bounced around between TWA, United and Northwest most of the time with an occasional flight on American depending on where I was traveling.
Pam Keidel-Adams with Wilbur Smith Associates, flies almost exclusively with Delta and has been very happy with their program. “I am at the highest elite level, so they are good about giving people in this level great frequent flyer rewards,” said Keidel-Adams. ”Instead of making it tougher to get a seat, they have just raised the miles required to get a different seat.” Ms. Keidel-Adams said they now have high/medium/low reward levels so you can usually get a seat, it’s just a question of how many points it will cost you.
In contrast to Ms. More >
It’s a shame that sometimes we learn more about a person after they have gone than we did in their presence. Such has been the case more often than not for me. I recently attended the memorial service for a friend that I worked with in one of the aviation circles I travel in. His name was Jim Burch. I liked him. I think most people did.
Jim and I served together on the Aviation Safety Advisory Group of Arizona for a number of years, but other than sitting across a table from Jim once a month and seeing him at a couple of other functions, I never took the time to say, “hey, let’s go grab some lunch or can we meet for breakfast some time?” Had I done that I think my life would have been much richer.
The thing about people in aviation, especially pilots, is that there is a shared bond, a shared respect in many cases that ties us together. When I was younger I didn’t appreciate it as much as I do now. Now that I’ve aged a bit, well a lot, I tend to focus on relationships a bit more. Being at the memorial service More >
Not many of us who’ve grown up around aviation have done so without seeing Bob Hoover demonstrate his flying abilities in his North American Rockwell Shrike Commander. I had that opportunity to meet him in Nebraska back in the late nineties.
(Photo of Hoover, left and Publisher, Kim Stevens taken in Nebraska in the 1990’s.)
There is an excellent article on Mr. Hoover in the April/May issue of Air & Space Magazine. Check it out… http://www.airspacemag.com/history-of-flight/Simply-the-Best.html