AviNation Magazine January 2019

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INSIDE How Megan Became A flyGIRL Creating Aerospace Leaders at the Genius Garage Aviation Changes the Lives of Youth with A Different Point Of View

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January 2019

TABLE OF CONTENTS Passion........................................................................................................................... 6 A Will to Fly................................................................................................................ 10 Launch into Aerospace with the Rocketry Challenge................................12 Aviation Technology Academy...........................................................................13 Aviore Returns! More Adventures for EAA’s Young Eagles Superhero...........................................................................14 How Megan Became a flyGIRL............................................................................16 Pathway: Flying Musician Nicole-Isabella Ruiz..............................................18 Reach for the Skies................................................................................................. 20 Lakeland Aero Club Trip to Oshkosh…Part Deux.........................................22 Creating Aerospace Leaders at the Genius Garage...................................24 Aviation Changes the Lives of Youth with A Different Point Of View.......................................................................... 30 Not Everyone Gets to be a Genius....................................................................34 Pilot Take on the Ekolot Topaz...........................................................................38 Plane-on-a-Post – POP Goes Your Young Pilot Candidates................... 40 Taylor: Young Girl, Big Dreams........................................................................... 44 Fun for Kids with Airplanes and Helicopters at Leesburg Airport.......47 2019 JANUARY


INSIDE How Megan Became A flyGIRL Creating Aerospace Leaders at the Genius Garage Aviation Changes the Lives of Youth with A Different Point Of View Brought to you by:

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ht) and Sebastain Piedra, (rig ers Cole Harris, (kneeling) Cover Photo: LAC memb at ervision of Lee Poe s” engine under the sup Working on “Miss Bonnie’ Don’s Dream Machines

Supporter Index: Please support these fine organizations AB Flight, LLC.....................................................46 ALSIM..................................................................... 27 Aviation Insurance Resources (AIR)...........46 Aviation Supplies & Academics, Inc............ 37 California Baptist University.......................... 35 Copperstate Fly-In.............................................. 31 Culver Props.........................................................46 DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase............... 32 Ekolot USA........................................................... 38 Endeavor Air, Inc................................................. 48 Envoy...................................................................... 29 Flight Attendant Prep Academy.................. 36 FlyGIRL......................................................................4 General Aviation News.....................................46 LIFT Academy...............................................15, 20 Lightspeed............................................................ 34 Lockwood Aviation........................................... 42 M-Squared Aircraft, Inc.................................... 23 MATCO mfg............................................................9 Open Air................................................................ 43 Piedmont Airlines..................................................7 Schweiss Doors...................................................46 Sebring Flight Academy.................................. 17 Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo.................. 11 Sensenich Propeller Mfg. Co., Inc................. 45 STEM Pilot................................................................3 Stewart Systems.................................................. 19 The American Civil Wings Society.............. 33 Van Bortel Aircraft................................................2 Van’s Aircraft..........................................................5


About AviNation AviNation exists to attract, educate and empower youth in aviation. AviNation magazine strives to give readers insight into the future of aviation by focusing on aviation students, programs, events and innovative approaches to the promotion and continued growth of the aviation industry. Staff & Contributors Publisher: Jacob Peed Copy Editor: Sarah Waychoff Administrative & Circulation Coordinator: Jessica Peed Design & Production: Megan Curtis, Lime Valley Advertising, Inc. Mankato, MN

From the Publisher: Thank you to all our supporters and readers for making AviNation possible in 2018. As we enter our second year, the need to empower young people to pursue their passion for aviation and prepare them for a career in the industry is as great as I have ever seen it. The good news is that there is no shortage of people in this industry willing to help the upcoming generation excel. I am constantly stumbling upon groups of passionate volunteers that are making a difference in the lives of young people through aviation and mentorship. Let’s make 2019 even more successful and empower the paths of our greatest assets - our Young People. Cheers,

Correspondence Editorial submissions and other correspondence E-mail: jppeed@gmail.com Phone: (515) 408-3763 www.avinationusa.com

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Contributing Writers Ali Cortes Brock Hoops Casey Putsch David Newill Dick Knapinski/EAA Jeremy Davis Keith Harder Matt Ferrari Mike Zidziunas Natalie “flyGIRL” Kelly Nicole-Isabella Ruiz Ted Luebbers

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PASSION By Matt Ferrari One thing I’ve learned in all of my years in aviation is that it is passion that keeps me going. This love of aviation has brought me great joy and helped to satisfy an intense sense of wonder that I have for Me in the B767, I’m currently flying 767. this world we share and the sky above it. We all became involved in this life style as a result of an initial spark that ignited a curiosity. Something or someone planted an aeronautical seed which has sprouted. One of the first sparks I can remember came when I was maybe six or seven years old. I was digging around in the basement of my grandmother’s house. My grandfather was in England during World War Two with the 8Th Air Force. I opened an old trunk that grandma kept his uniforms in and I put on his hat which was too big for my head, his jacket or a uniform shirt and pants that I would pull up to my armpits with several inches of leg to spare. I sat on the edge of the trunk and pretended I was flying a B-17 over Germany. I didn’t realize at the time that the flag I had wrapped myself in to celebrate my successful bomb run was the flag that covered his casket at his funeral. After returning home from the war he adopted my mother and her sister, which is another story in itself. Another testament of the man whose uniforms felt so good on me. Unfortunately he died before I was born and I never got the chance to know him, but my hero he will always be. Another early memory I have is laying in the grass with my childhood dog Sam. We would watch the clouds drift past and wonder what it would be like to ride on one. I would imagine Sam and I sitting on the edge of

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a cloud looking down as the world passed below. That sense of wonder has never left me. These are just a couple of mine, but when I think about it, I can place several memories or events that lay themselves out, footstones along my path. I’ll bet that if you would look back you might find a few memories that stand out for you too, markers along your aeronautical journey, strung together like pearls bringing you here, today. Hints from heaven maybe? Part of this passion I speak of is dreaming. And I mean dreaming big! Where would we be if it wasn’t for the likes of Orville and Wilbur Wright, Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Bob Hoover, Jimmy Doolittle, Steve Wittman, Burt and Dick Rutan, Paul and Audrey Poberezny, Julie Clark, Sean Tucker, Patty Wagstaff, Lloyd Stearman, Clyde Cessna, William Piper, Bill Boeing, and the brothers Alan and Dale Klapmeier? These are just a few of the many we owe our thanks to for getting us this far. Take these as examples of people, just like you and me, who weren’t afraid of following their dreams. They worked hard and accomplished so much with their lives. I find it truly inspiring! It’s up to you and me to keep dreaming and forging ahead. I remember the days when my dream of learning to fly was so far out in front of me, it seemed unreachable in so many ways. I never let go of the dream though. Eventually the fears and doubts, one by one, were laid aside and something inside of me knew that one day I would fly. Even with the frustrations and obstacles along the way that tested my resolve, a sense of calm would return and I knew that if I stayed the course, I would make it. As I wandered along my aeronautical journey, I found that flying helped me to make sense of the world around me. What I mean is, most everything that I had learned in school, even the things that didn’t seem to apply, made sense with airplanes and the sky. Today I think they refer to it as STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. I’ve also noticed a new acronym STEAM with the addition of the “A” for Arts. Back when I was in school, though, they just called it the three R’s - “readin’, ritin’ and rithmatic”.


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Maybe that’s why I took to the sky? Academics wasn’t my strong suit. Anyway, flying has introduced me to an outlet for real world applications of the sciences through getting to know weather, geography, physiology, physics and astronomy. I’ve been exposed to various forms of technology. Some examples are the communication systems, advancing forms and techniques of navigating and navigation systems, air traffic control systems and flight management systems. Engineering is everywhere in aviation. Think of engines, airframes, airfoils, wings and wing designs, aircraft systems, aircraft construction materials and techniques, the list goes on and on. There’s a little math in all areas of aviation, but don’t let that scare you. Get to know certain formulas that apply to what you’re doing and the rest will take care of itself. I’m certainly no mathematical wizard and I get by just fine. With the addition of the arts, we find many examples in aviation that meet that need as well; product design challenges and effective communications, which are critical in all areas from verbal to written. Another area I’ll attribute to the arts is creative thinking. What I mean here is being flexible enough to take the infinite number of variables that the sky and your airplane will throw at you and being able to herd these aeronautical chickens in the general direction of your desired outcome. It’s about following your flight plan, making constant corrections and adapting to the environment you find yourself in. Aviation is a dynamic environment where you’ll be called upon to manage sometimes rapidly changing and occasionally complex situations and make critical decisions, all in real time. It’s called “aeronautical decision making”, this is where art meets science. In the sky is where it all makes sense.

Some of my many aviation related books.

One of the ways that I nurture my passion for aviation is through reading. At any given time, I’ll have at least one or two flying related books in the reading process. I find I do better with books in actual book form rather than “e-books.” Electronics are a very easy and convenient distraction that I find draw me away from my reading, often venturing off to the internet looking at airplane ads online at Trade-A-Plane or on Barnstormers. What I find really frustrating is when I’m reading something on my phone and my book rings! No one knows the number to my paperback book and I can more easily get lost in the story with fewer temptations. I’m easily distracted… Mentors are another critical piece of the aeronautical puzzle. People who walk amongst us are sometimes the best source for inspiration and guidance. Find someone who is doing exactly what you want to do. It might be a flight instructor, an aviation mechanic, an airline pilot, a military pilot or an air traffic controller. It’s as simple as introducing yourself and asking the first question. I’m going to let you in on an aeronautical secret, aviation people love to talk! Most of us are willing to share our experiences along the course we followed to get where we are today. My path might not be the one you choose, but it might give you some ideas for things that could work for you. Everyone has a story, listen and learn. If I can leave you with one thought, with one hope that I have for you, that would be to find your passion, fuel it and follow it! Whatever your dream is, you can make it come true! It may require some work, but you have the tools to make it happen. I encourage you to find the courage to go for it! You never know, you just might be the inspiration for someone else. Illustration by Chad Elliot

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If you’re looking at building your library of good aviation reads, I’ll suggest a few of my favorite authors for you to check out. I’ll even go as far as saying that I consider this brief list to be the creators of what I consider to be the aviation classics. These writers set a good foundation and any of their works would be an excellent addition to your aeronautical library. I’m a huge fan of everything that Richard Bach has written, but to get you started I would suggest “A Gift of Wings”. It’s a collection of short stories that are easy, delightful reads. Also take a look at “Biplane” and “Stranger to The Ground”. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention “Illusions”, a book that changed my life as a teenager. I’ve read “Illusions” literally hundreds of times and love it more with each reading. I met Richard Bach at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s annual fly-in at Oshkosh, Wisconsin many years ago and he signed my copy of “Illusions” for me. That book has been around the world with me many times. I’ve dropped it in bathtubs, swimming pools and oceans everywhere. I have had coffee spilled on it. It has dog-eared corners and tape on its spine, but I treasure it and will continue to keep the book near. Antoine de Saint-Exupery is another writer whom I add to my list of classics. He wrote a children’s book titled “The Little Prince” that I didn’t find until I was an adult, but it’s a wonderful story. Other favorites from Saint-Ex include: “Wind, Sand and Stars”, “Night Flight”, “Airman’s Odyssey” and “Flight to Arras”. Nevil Shute is another writer I really enjoy. Some of my favorites from him include: “The Rainbow and the Rose”, “No Highway”, “Pastoral”, “Landfall: A Channel Story” and if you can find a copy, one of my favorite Shute books is “Round The Bend”. Ernest Gann is right up there on my “must read” author list as well. With his many contributions, some that stand out are “Fate is the Hunter”, “The Aviator”, “Island in the Sky”, “Blaze of Noon”, and “The High and The Mighty.” These are just a few titles from some of my favorite authors. There are many more works done by each of these writers that I could go on and on about, but I’ll leave some exploring to you to find books and writers that suit your tastes. When you find one, please let me know, I love to hear about new discoveries and what stories mean to people.

“Illusions” autographed by Richard Bach at Oshkosh.

One of my favorite books, “Illusions”, out over the Atlantic Ocean, just passing “30 West”.



A Will To Fly

By Ted Luebbers

Have you ever known anyone with such a strong desire to fly that they will meet any challenge and keep moving forward no matter what? My wife Joan and I met such a person two years ago. Her name is Rachel St. Louis and she is a teenager. She just turned 17 and is a Junior in high school. Over the last three years we kept meeting up with Rachel and her loving and supportive parents Mike and Rose. They are from Machias, Maine but we never see them there, we always find them on an airport ramp in Florida. They are always greeting folks inside or outside a large black trailer with the name “Rachel’s Jewelry” stenciled in bright pink on the side. This trailer is generally found at air shows in Florida such as the recent DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase, SUN ‘n FUN and AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Visitors to airshows initially wonder why anybody would be selling jewelry on a flight line amongst all the airplanes on display. The answer is because this business belongs to Rachel St. Louis, the teenager from Machias, Maine and she is using it to fund the construction of a light sport Bush Cat aircraft kit. She designs and creates all the jewelry sold out of that trailer with skills taught to her by her mother, Rose. Most of the earrings, necklaces and bracelets are aviation related. Although we noticed this year, she has branched out a bit to add a professional sports theme to represent favorite teams. Her customers pilots’ else you

are pilots, aviation enthusiasts, families and just about anyone may find at an airshow.

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The trailer was put together just a few years ago with the help of her Dad, Mike. Since Rachel is still in high school, he drives the jewelry display trailer to the airshow site and Rachel and her Mother fly down commercial to staff the event. On Saturday when my wife Joan and I stopped by to chat, Rachel was in the trailer studying for a test she would be taking that would be sent back to her school.

She is a Junior in High school back in Maine and her school works with her so she can travel to keep her business going. She doesn’t get any breaks on the academics, she has to pass the same exams as all the other kids. However, at her young age she could probably teach a masters program in business administration. She made a deal with the Bush Cat manufacturer to sell her small parts of the airplane kit as she was able to afford them from the profits of her Jewelry business. In past years when you visited her boutique showroom trailer you could monitor the progress she was making on the airplane because it was on display. It was not there this year because it is now too big and not easy to transport. In other words, she has finished the fuselage, wings and tail assembly and now she needs the engine and avionics. This is where she faces many challenges that have slowed her down a bit. Her father who has owned a plane for many years and can be credited for instilling her passion to fly, had a medical problem of his own this spring which means he might not be able to fly for a while. This was the reason they were not at SUN ‘n FUN last April. He is doing better now and can make sure the jewelry trailer gets to where it needs to be.

This year Rachel was not able to transport her Bush Cat to the show as it is now too large to put in the trailer to make the trip without damage to it or the showroom. She posed beside a Bush Cat like hers that was on display at the DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase.

When we visited Rachel this year in DeLand, her right arm was in a sling due to recent shoulder surgery from an injury she sustained while playing tennis. She seemed to roll with that punch ok. When she gets home, she will be having knee surgery right away, to be followed by surgery on the other knee after the first surgery heals to correct congenital knee problems. After all this she will truly be a bionic woman. On the aviation side of things, a couple of costly challenges are also facing her. She needs the engine and the avionics for her Bush Cat. The engine required for the plane is a Rotax 912 ULS but the avionics offer many choices. You need to sell a lot of earrings to get over these hurdles. She is trying to sell small airplane stickers that will be applied to the fabric of the plane to show sponsorship of her project, sort of the way they do at NASCAR. This could become a weight and balance problem if too successful! What she really needs, is a “aviation white knight” to step in and help her out. Rachel already has around 150 hours flying her Dad’s plane, none of which is loggable and her mother tells me she has started official flying lessons with a certified

Rachel St Louis stands beside her boutique trailer showroom on the ramp at the recent DeLand Sport Aviation Showcase in DeLand, Florida. Yes, that is her right arm in a sling.

flight instructor. She already knows how to fly but she has to put in the time just like everybody else. Her parents support her in this passion and are working with her as much as possible to help her achieve her dream. Rachel seems undaunted by all these challenges and is determined to realize her dream. We hope she does. If you would like more information about Rachel and her Jewelry business you may go to the following web site. www.rachelsjewelrymachias.com/our-story All photos taken by Ted Luebbers and permission granted to use any or all.



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Rocket ry Challenge By Jeremy Davis, Program Manager, Team America Rocketry Challenge For students looking to take a small step (or giant leap) toward their career as an astronaut or engineer, there may be no better challenge than designing, building and launching a model rocket just outside the nation’s capital. That’s where the Team America Rocketry Challenge – the world’s largest rocket contest with nearly 5,000 students nationwide competing each year – comes in. The contest gives middle and high school students the opportunity to work in teams of 3-10 classmates to solve some of the complex engineering problems that come with building a rocket. The Rocketry Challenge is sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) and more than 20 aerospace industry partners as a program designed to inspire the next generation of leaders in science, technology, engineering and math fields. Since 2002, the Rocketry Challenge has encouraged students from grades 6-12 to launch high-powered rockets hundreds of feet in the sky in a certain amount of time – all while carrying a designated number of raw eggs (and trying to prevent them from becoming scrambled!) 17 years later, the challenge is bigger and better than ever. This year’s competition is themed around the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. The challenge: design, build and fly a rocket carrying three raw egg in a capsule to an altitude of 856 feet and return it to ground with the eggs intact within 43-46 seconds. The three eggs represent the three Apollo 11 astronauts, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, while the 856 feet represents the time when Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon. What do the 43-46 seconds represent? A reasonable time goal. Scores are based on how accurate the launch is in accordance with the rules. For each foot above or below the goal, teams are penalized one point. For each second outside the 43 to 46 second window, teams are penalized four points. And of course – cracked eggs are NEVER a good thing, so teams will be disqualified if an egg breaks. So, when it comes to the Rocketry Challenge – a score of 0 is considered perfect! While over 800 teams across the country are registered to compete this year, only the top 100 teams make it to the National Finals in The Plains, Virginia – just outside Washington, D.C. Teams are allowed three official qualification flights, which are judged by members of the

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National Association of Rocketry. The top two flight scores are combined and submitted, with the best 100 scores receiving an invite to compete in the Final Flyoff. The National Finals are a celebration of rocketry, science and STEM education. Rocketeers who are lucky enough to make it to the Final Flyoff not only get the chance to compete, but explore D.C. through tours of the Capitol Building, the Air and Space Museum, and some of the most innovative aerospace companies in the world. The winning team not only gets a cash prize, but an all-expense paid trip to the Paris International Airshow to represent the United States in the International Rocketry Challenge this year. The U.S. enters the 2019 season aiming for its flight for five straight international championships, continuing our winning streak since 2015. While there’s a lot of pressure to carry on the legacy of American victories at the International Rocketry Challenge, confidence is high heading into this year. But don’t worry – you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to get your start in model rocketry. The Team American Rocketry Challenge, in collaboration with the National Association of Rocketry, has a nationwide network of mentors who can help get your team started on the path to the National Finals. The key to the contest is to start early and launch test flights often. While registration for the 2019 Team America Rocketry Challenge is up, it’s not too early to start preparation for next year. If you’ve never competed or participated in model rocketry, we encourage you to work with your school to start a club and find an official Rocketry Challenge mentor to guide you along the way. For more information on the Team America Rocketry Challenge, visit www.rocketcontest.org or follow our account @RocketContest on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.


AVIATION TECHNOLOGY ACADEMY By Keith Harder There are very few schools in existence like the Aviation Technology Academy that I am privileged to be a part of as a high school junior. The Des Moines, IA Academy was established as a National Defense Training School in 1943 as part of a program providing support for WWII. It is one of the few FAA certified schools in the nation that allow high school students to earn their Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certificates and/or a start toward a pilot’s license. It also offers students a chance to get nearly all of the credits needed to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree right out of high school! The college credits and degree are through Indian Hills Community College, in association with the Des Moines Public School District and Central Campus. All of this is free to the students while still in high school! A student who has already graduated high school and has a partially completed A&P certificate through the ATA can finish the following year at the same facility. The tuition will be the responsibility of the student, the same as if you choose to enroll in the program as a normal college student. You don’t have to be a fresh-out-of-high school kid either, there is currently man in his 60s attending with the intention of getting his certificates! The skills offered by this course are not only applicable to aviation. They include a long list of subjects including, but not limited to: Electricity, Welding (gas, MIG, and TIG), Fine Woodworking, Hydraulics and Pneumatics, Composites and Fabrics, Hand and Power Tool use, Precision Measuring and Calibration Tools, Sheet Metal Construction, Forming, and Repair, Nondestructive Testing Methods, and Painting Methods and Application. The A&P certification course is broken down into three categories of study: General, Airframe, and Powerplant. In General, you get an overview of the industry, aircraft maintenance, and flight principals; in Airframe you get in-depth training on the aircraft airframe and its systems, and experience welding, riveting, and painting. In Powerplant you learn about the workings of the engines that keep aircraft flying, including magnetos, carburetors, and jet engine operation. Aside from the A&P license, you may also take Pilot training, which includes classroom instruction, including an FAA approved flight simulator, and online ground school. Training and certification from a school like ours’ puts students way ahead, leaving behind the worst part of college: the tuition cost and debt that could take years to pay off. Jumping right into the industry will also give you a few years seniority on other technicians your age, and the benefits that come with that. Should you be interested in earning an A&P certificate and/or pilot’s license this is the way to go. For more information visit: https://centralcampus.dmschools.org/transportation/aviation/




MORE ADVENTURES FOR EAA’S YOUNG EAGLES SUPERHERO By Dick Knapinski/EAA Aviore, the aviation superhero who made his comic book debut at EAA AirVenture 2018, is back for more aviation thrills in his second volume, The Adventures of Aviore, which is now available to EAA members through Sport Aviation magazine and online at Aviore.org. Representing EAA’s Young Eagles program, Aviore was unveiled at EAA AirVenture 2017 by the late Stan Lee, the Marvel Comics legend who created such superheroes as Spiderman and the Hulk. Aviore was a gift to Young Eagles from the Stan Lee Foundation, with a goal of instilling a passion for aviation for young people. In his latest adventure, titled “Angles of Attack,” Aviore and the T.A.L.O.N. team face off against the evil schemes of Drag and Turbulence, who are stealing a laser for another, even more sinister enemy. Along the way, readers will learn more about aviation and the history of flight. Each Aviore comic book is drawn and written in the style made famous by Marvel Comics. Each volume also contains links to more information and fun activities for young aviation enthusiasts. Along with the print version, every Aviore volume will be available online at Aviore.org. In the series, Aviore’s everyday identity is Jake Peregrine Howard — Perry to his friends — a young high school student living on a farm just outside of Wichita, Kansas, who’s infatuated with the eagles and hawks he’s seen soaring in the skies above him. Then, a Young Eagles flight at the local airport — his first time in the air — changes his life forever. The event triggers a powerful transformation of both mind and body, as his senses became more acute and his mind sharpens, and Perry becomes a superhero, dedicating his life to using the

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power of flight to help those in need. As Aviore’s legend grows in tandem with his burgeoning superpowers, he becomes an inspiration to young people all over the world, encouraging them to follow their passions and find their place in the sky. More volumes of Aviore’s adventures will be unveiled during the coming months and made available to young people everywhere who have their own dreams of flight. The EAA Young Eagles program has flown more than 2.1 million kids age 8-17 free of charge since 1992. Tens of thousands of those Young Eagles have become pilots or involved in aviation-minded careers. For more information about EAA Young Eagles, go to EAA.org/YoungEagles.


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How Megan Became A By Natalie “flyGIRL” Kelly What do you call a motivated, adventurous, determined, female with a passion for aviation? A flyGIRL! Megan Gerding has always loved to travel. She went to college and earned an associate’s degree in eco-tourism and adventure travel. She quickly found out that the number of jobs in this field were limited and unsatisfying. Megan doesn’t settle and she refused to accept a dead end career. She decided that it would be in her best interest to pursue other avenues and obtain more education. She enrolled in an online college program to work on obtaining her bachelor’s degree in business management while continuing to work full-time in various job positions, including a sales job and also working as a barista.

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During this busy time, she decided to further investigate other career options in a variety of fields. Megan wanted to pursue a career she could be excited about as she headed to work every day! She kept her mind open to any ideas at this point. One of her employers had a flight department. One day, she decided to check it out. As she made her way to the flight department and hangar, she wondered what administrative position would be appealing to her. The pilot had other ideas to present to her. She could be an actual pilot flying in the cockpit, not sitting at a desk! She comes from a family of aviators. Her grandfather was a pilot, as well as several uncles and cousins. However, she had never really considered that she could actually be a pilot too. She was intrigued and decided to

book a discovery flight at a local airport and see what it was like to actually sit in an airplane as a pilot, not just a passenger. Although she had some issues with motion sickness, after that first flight, she was immediately hooked and knew what direction her career focus would be going from that point forward. All of her priorities shifted that day. Megan doesn’t procrastinate. She began training as soon as she could get on the school’s schedule. During the initial stages of her training, she found juggling full-time work, online classes and flight training to be very challenging and felt her once-a-week flight lessons weren’t consistent enough to enable her to progress as she had planned. Her available study time was very limited. A plan was created to get her through flight training at a faster pace. She saved money from her sales job for a year to be able to dedicate her time and money to flight train. Her spending habits significantly changed. Each time she considered a purchase, she would equate the cost of the item with how much flight time she could purchase instead with that money. That’s determination! She quit her job, finished her online class load and began flight training on a full-time basis. The money she had saved was used for her flight instruction but she also applied for scholarships to help alleviate the costs so that she could forge ahead as quickly as possible. Some of the financial pressure and strain were released after she was awarded the flyGIRL scholarship in April. Along the way, she encountered some raised eyebrows and disbelief from friends. Many people thought she was nuts to have such a lofty dream and would never make it to the finish line. That just made her work that much harder and gave her the determination to prove them wrong. She surprised herself with her perseverance and persistence. Her naysayers became her motivation to forge ahead as an excellent student pilot. Her focus was undeniable. She also ran into some challenges passing the first class medical due to her childhood medical history. That did not deter her. She would not give up. She spoke with the FAA regularly and

had to go through numerous medical tests and exams to prove she was healthy enough to be a professional pilot. Each exam and phone call propelled her that much closer to finally obtaining that all-important first class medical certificate. Since beginning her full-time pilot training in April of this year, Megan has since earned her private pilot’s license, her instrument rating, her commercial rating, and her CFI (certified flight instructor) rating. She is now a full-time instructor at Sporty’s Academy in Ohio. She is very excited about teaching others to fly and will encourage students to work hard to achieve their goals in aviation. She is extremely grateful to have found a career path that she loves and about which she is excited. In her own words, “Challenges and all, I would do it all over again… Aviation has not only given me a career path, but it also changed me as a person.” Being a female pursuing aviation definitely has its challenges. However, the encouragement at local airports and flight training facilities from men and women is there. The wonderful thing about aviation is that it has a built-in support group who love to help others with their experience and knowledge. It is a unique opportunity to be a part of such an exclusive, close-knit community. Megan asserts that aviation requires learning and growth from individuals. The results are immeasurable and life-long.





By Nicole-Isabella Ruiz Nicole-Isabella Ruiz is a student member of the Flying Musicians Association who recently soloed. Here is her story. On September 9th 2018, I flew solo for the first time. The moment my wheels left ground I felt a shiver go through my body- I couldn’t believe it. I had heard endless stories from other pilots and their solos. They say it’s a moment you never forget, and I don’t think I ever will. I’m the first pilot in my family and the amount of challenges I met through my training are endless. The hardest moments however, are what made my solo so much more special. My first solo landing, the smile on my mom’s face when I returned, the ‘I’m so proud’ from my older brother, and the little girl who told me she wanted to be pilot too made it all worth it. I put a lot into flying, but flying gives back so much more. Discovering flying felt like a miracle because it offered me peace and a sense of purpose in a time I really needed it. I know that there are kids who go through similar times and are searching for the answers that flying gave me. For this reason, I recently started a project called ‘Project Cayley’. After high school I will fly around the world solo with the goal of introducing aviation to kids from every background. I want to promote the idea of the doing the impossible no matter your circumstance or background. Musician: a person who writes, sings or plays music.

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The Flying Musicians are accepting nominations from high school music directors for the 2019 FMA Solo program. The deadline is January 31, 2019. Eligible candidates are high school juniors and senior music students with a passion for aviation and music. All nominees receive a Sponsored Student membership. We encourage all student musicians, no matter the age, to become a part of the FMA network spanning the globe, genres, and proficiency levels.



REACH FOR THE EXPLORE YOUR POSSIBILITIES—AND THE WORLD— WITH THE COOLEST CAREER ON THE PLANET. Have you always dreamed of being a pilot? Maybe you’ve already started down that path, taken some flying lessons, hung out around pilots and peppered them with all kinds of questions, dreaming of the day you put on the headset and fly solo. Today, achieving that dream is more possible than ever. There’s a major shortage of pilots around the globe; in fact, it’s projected that by the year 2036, around 637,000 pilots will be needed worldwide. A significant shortage like that means the demand for commercial airline pilots is sky high. That’s just one reason why Republic Airways, one of the nation’s largest regional airlines, created the Leadership In Flight Training (LIFT) Academy. The first U.S. regional carrier to create its own flight training school with a direct pathway to a job, Republic designed LIFT to make pursuing a career in aviation more affordable and attainable than previously believed possible. Addressing the growing pilot shortage (due in part to an aging Baby Boomer pilot population that is beginning to retire in vast numbers), Republic has subsidized the cost of training and offers a guaranteed job as a Republic First Officer to graduates of the program in hopes of attracting a more diverse group of aspiring pilots to enter the field. Some examples of how LIFT does things differently: Affordable tuition. Tuition at LIFT is $65,000, which is less than other aviation schools. LIFT offers loan assistance and, as soon as a student becomes a Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI, which takes about a year), they are paid to instruct other LIFT students. This allows them to earn income while finishing their required flight hours. Advanced training technology. LIFT involves a combo of in-classroom, online and in-air instruction. Our students train on state-of-the-art flight simulators that look and feel like a real cockpit, and they fly in brand new Diamond Aircraft DA40NG and DA42VI single- and twin-engine planes. LIFT students are up in the air in those planes as soon as possible, too—usually within the first week or two after starting class. Weather permitting, they fly about three days a week. Impressive partners. In addition to Republic’s codeshare partners—American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines—LIFT is proud to partner with other well-known and respected companies. Its fleet of 50 aircraft and three simulators are delivered straight from the manufacturer, Diamond Aircraft. Bose is the exclusive provider of LIFT headsets, outfitting every LIFT student with a state-of-the-art Bose A20 Aviation Headset. Each training aircraft is equipped with a revolutionary Garmin G1000 all-glass avionics suite that makes flight information easier to scan and process, putting a wealth of flight-critical data at the pilot’s fingertips. Students also learn from a curriculum created by Jeppesen, which has been providing the aviation industry with navigational information for 80 years. Owned by Boeing, Jeppesen’s trusted aviation solutions are known around the world. Faster career path. While the time it takes to complete flight ratings and build flight hours varies depending on how much time a student can devote to their training, it’s faster than most people think. At LIFT, becoming a CFI takes about a year, then completing those 1500 hours can take another 18-24 months, which means that graduates can generally count on becoming a Republic First Officer in approximately three years. That’s less time than it takes to earn a four-year degree, while having a guaranteed job waiting as well.

SKIES The benefits of being a pilot. While an airline pilot’s job is an important one that requires leadership, good judgment and quick thinking, it most definitely has many perks. A pilot’s “office” has an impressive 30,000-foot view, and pilots can travel the world, both on the job and off. Republic, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, has a fleet of about 190 Embraer 170/175 aircraft and offers scheduled passenger service with about 1000 daily flights to 100 cities in 40 U.S. states, Canada, the Caribbean and Central America. Pilots with Republic receive free or reduced airfare on their three partner airlines—American, Delta and United—as well as a minimum of 12 days off a month, excellent pay and benefits. Republic ready. One of the biggest benefits a LIFT student has is the direct pathway to a career as a Republic pilot. Because LIFT is owned and operated by Republic, students are schooled in exactly what it takes to succeed at the airline. There are no surprises once they become a First Officer, because they’ve been trained as a Republic pilot all along the way, from the standard operating procedures to the callouts and even operating out of a busy airspace at Indianapolis International Airport. This gives students a leg up when working an American, Delta or United flight, too, because their training has prepared them for the particulars of all three. Located in Indianapolis, LIFT welcomed its first class in September 2018, and new classes begin every month with applications accepted on a rolling basis. In just five months of classes, more than 50 students have started training with LIFT Academy and classes are full through early spring of 2019. Here’s what two LIFT students had to say about their experience: “LIFT Academy has given me the chance to achieve a lifelong dream that I thought was unachievable. Mark Twain said, ‘The two most important dates in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.’ Thanks to LIFT Academy, I now know why.” “My first time flying a plane brought on mixed emotions. Of course, I was excited to have my dream become a reality! While it was stressful at first, once you’ve done it a couple times you start to feel more confident. My instructor helps me overcome every obstacle and makes me feel very confident to fly. It’s challenging but exhilarating!”

THINK YOU HAVE THE SKILL AND THE WILL TO BE AN AIRLINE PILOT? You can learn more about LIFT and the application process at flywithlift.com. Before you know it, you could be on your way to a rewarding, exciting career. Get ready to reach for the skies!

LAKELAND AERO CLUB TRIP TO OSHKOSH...PART DEUX By Mike Zidziunas Oil dripping out of the cowling onto the grass was proof positive that our problem with the engine on our PA-11, “Miss Bonnie” was not fixed. Repeated attempts to find and solve the leak had not been successful. It was Saturday morning in Oshkosh and the club was trying to leave for Florida ahead of approaching bad weather. A half a dozen teen members of the Lakeland Aero Club pushed the 1946 Cub to the emergency repair area in vintage aircraft parking and began removing the cowling while I signed in with the volunteers of EAA chapter 75 who staff the tool crib. Closer inspection with the cowling removed, revealed that one of the cylinder base studs on the number 4 cylinder had broken and others were beginning to work loose. Earlier in the week I had the opportunity to meet Don Wade of C&D Aviation. Don’s company built the EAA sweepstakes Cub and had recently bought Don’s Dream Machines engine shop. We had spoken about the possibility of working together with our members to build an engine for one of our projects. I called Don to see if he was still on campus, fortunately he was and came straight over to us. Don told me what I already knew… the engine needed overhaul. Don had his truck at Airventure and said if we could get the engine off the plane, he would take it to his shop in Alabama for overhaul and upgrade.

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Six teenagers set about disconnecting and removing the engine while I fetched tools and supervised. The work would occasionally be interrupted by a favorite airshow act or performer as the Saturday airshow roared overhead. EAA sent a film crew over to videotape the engine coming off the Cub. After about 3 hours the engine was loaded carefully into Don’s truck and the Cub secured. Our friends at EAA assured us that the Cub would be towed to a hangar for safekeeping until we could return with the new engine. Lakeland Aero Club had missed the weather window for an easy trip home. At first glance, having your airplane needing major repair, at Oshkosh, 1100 nautical miles from home, with no money for the repair, would be the worst thing in the world. Lakeland Aero Club immediately reached out to the aviation community through social media and Go Fund Me to start raising money to bring “Miss Bonnie” home. It took our little fleet a week to get back home to Lakeland due to very challenging weather conditions. We all felt greatly honored to see the outpouring of support from the community. So many people stepped up to help us that we were so overwhelmed that we decided to put the names of all the people who helped us on the side of the plane as a token of our gratitude. By early October all the parts and pieces came together to get the engine. I drove with Cole Harris, (21) the first A&P to come out of our program and

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apprentice mechanic Sebastian Piedra, (16) with me to Bessemer, Alabama to finish the engine then on to Oshkosh to install it. Don Wade met us in Oshkosh to help us along with the volunteers at EAA to get the little Cub back in the air. I flew the Cub to Don’s place in Alabama where, at the time of this writing, Don and his team are generously taking care of some other things on the plane. On behalf of the Lakeland Aero Club, I cannot thank all the people who helped us out on this journey. The best and most important thing that came out of this saga is that these young people have gotten to experience firsthand the true spirit of aviation.

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By Casey Putsch How many smart young people dream of doing great things with their career and life only to one day realize that it takes more than dreams and drive? Luck isn’t good enough for pilots and it isn’t good enough for young people who don’t get a choice what circle they are born into. Even a young creative prodigy needs caring mentors to invest time and needs the right environment to grow. This is exactly why the Genius Garage Racing, Aerospace, and Design Programs were created. More and more over recent years we see a growing criticism on our American educational system to prepare young people for careers and industry. As is often the case many people try to simply solve the problem with “more”. More school, more degrees, and more programs with catchy acronyms to help get the attention of state and federal funding for said schools. There always seem to be hands out, but no real solution given in return. Whenever I have conversations with industry leaders and hiring managers a common theme arises. They don’t have a problem finding the best students on the academic level to hire. The missing component however, is the “behavioral side”. Put simply, it has become difficult to find driven young people with real world hands-on abilities. Those who can problem solve, think critically, work with a team, and hands on fabricate without detailed instructions are hard to find. Young talent that are driven to succeed, can do complex engineering in their minds, fly by the seat of their pants, or become real leaders have become the exception today. These valuable traits flat-out cannot be cultivated in a classroom and industry doesn’t have the time to train and groom young people. I have heard it noted that young engineers need a year or two once hired just to break even for companies. This is a quantifiable loss for our industry and a stumbling block to the future.

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The question arises. How do you create the engineering leaders of tomorrow when the heads of young people today all but explode when you point that the SR-71 Blackbird was laid out on drafting tables and designed in the minds of engineers who used slide rulers? THIS at a time when average Americans drove carbureted automotive “battleships” (with seat belts as an option) to watch Ann Margret singing and dancing with Elvis Presley at the drive-in theater! It’s time to bridge the gap that is more than generational and academic, but cultural. When I was a young person in college I knew what my peers and I were capable of, but we were never given an opportunity to show it or to grow and there was always a ceiling. Finding a caring mentor or genuine leadership was just as rare and without that, too much of life is left to chance. We received our degrees, but might have preferred a road map instead.

al250 That burr under my saddle turned into a vision while standing alone in my shop 6 years ago. “I have a facility to create and engineer, the proverbial Rolodex full of amazing people with a lifetime of wisdom to share, and am involved with professional level racing cars and airplanes. Why don’t I put that together in a way to give young people the chances I never had and in a structure that will kick start their careers?” Genius Garage was born!


Even then I knew that the formula would work in the aerospace industry and aviation world, but professional level racing cars and automotive design was my professional wheelhouse and a place to start. The first Genius Garage started with reengineering an actual Indy Car for competition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard Invitational. No small feat for college kids indeed. The Genius Garage Racing Program’s successes set the stage to launch our Aerospace and Automotive Design programs in 2018. If you happened to see a full scale Sopwith Camel painted in the one off Egyptian paint scheme in the WWI area at AirVenture in Oshkosh this year, you saw what young people can do if given a chance and a little mentorship. Already our Aerospace students are gearing up see that Camel fly in 2019, to build a BD5 for static display, restore a Long Ez, and start designing a Formula One Reno Air Race plane that will initially be tested in 1/3 scale. These kids aren’t playing around and they are hungry for the future and an opportunity to shine. Can you say “talent pool”? The formula worked from the first year and proved to be both repeatable and scalable. When our racing program students regularly find employment in the most competitive engineering jobs at places like General Motors, Tesla, Fiat Chrysler, Goodyear, and Honda you’re on to something. When the students say that the interviewer focussed on their growth experiences at Genius Garage, you know you’ve got something. When managers from car companies fly in to our shop in the middle of “Cornfield Ohio” to meet students to hire, it’s rewarding! Many of our racing program students (engineers aged 18-22 typically) had never changed their own oil or could even drive stick when we met them. With opportunity, inspiration, and mentorship these students are able in a few short months to come together as a team and accomplish what was previously impossible to college kids while still in school. They completely rebuild or reengineer professional level racing cars and regularly stand on the winner’s circle at tracks like Mid-Ohio or Indy (yeah, the big one). College students having the foresight and confidence to bring cookies and glasses to the podium at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway may verge on being cocky, but it’s pretty awesome to see a bunch of kids dip their cookies in well earned victory milk. This all while blossoming as people, young engineers, and the industry leaders of tomorrow.







you learned that you can do as an individual? Heavy stuff, but you would be amazed by the results from students who originally came together to build a race car or airplane!

Genius Garage mentors are the key! They range from global level manufacturing CEOs, a Cold War and Vietnam era military pilot, various professional engineers, designers, and yours truly. Career field trips range from NASA facilities, Pratt and Miller, and the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Let us not forget the value of real world “out of their league” competition for the students. Birds must be able to fly when they leave the nest. Teaching them to think is another component. Traditional academia teaches information, but rarely how to think for themselves. As an example; each year I have them write the paper of their life like they never had to in school. One year, students had to take an impartial look at world history as it related to aviation. There they had to think on new levels. Micro focused engineering and business logistics to create an airplane such as a B1 Bomber are one thing, but changing to a relating macro focused look at how global cultural and political relations and climate gave rise to a need for such an engineering feat is an important ability for any leader. I ask them; what was the effect and now that you understand the chess game, what is your personal perspective, values, and opinion? What would you do as a global leader today with this perspective and finally what have

Genius Garage believes that young people are capable of great things and being great individuals. That is at the heart of our structure. Young people today get a bad rap and “Millenial” is usually used as an insulting descriptor. People at the core don’t change from generation to generation, but cultures and environments do. Only by understanding the values and mechanics of different generational cultures can we hope to pass on and cultivate the best in the future while upholding the strengths of the past. These kids are driven to overcome adversity, to create, and to win. While that may not be normal for our modern pop culture, it is for Genius Garage. Our students who come from different backgrounds thrive here. By nature young people aren’t driven to get a grade and we don’t give those out. A large wall of previous team successes and awards help set a standard. We do though give exciting educational experiences as rewards for students who have been truly exceptional. Our most driven students have gotten to ride in performance cars on race tracks, fly in a B-17 bomber and Boeing Stearmans from a grass strip, drive a priceless pre-war car to exhibit in the Concours d’Elegance of America, and have even been flown to Germany to crew a car in an endurance race at the infamous Nurburgring Nordschleife track. An incredible side effect of this is that our students find a meaningful connection to history and the interest to learn and experience more. The Genius Garage 501(c)3 public educational charity is quickly growing and is focused at building a flagship location to set the standard. There all of our projects may also exist to inspire the public. High-school level and lower programs are already lined up and we are gearing up to start a YouTube channel to share valuable learning lessons with young people around the world. We hope that you will become a fan of Genius Garage and we are always looking to form new relationships in industry for the betterment of our program, our students, and the future of industry. If you are one of those people with a lifetime of incredible wisdom to share, we want our students to meet you! Together we can create the aerospace leaders of tomorrow with Genius Garage. To find out more, go to: http://geniusgarageracing.com.

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Aviation changes

the lives of youth WITH A DIFFERENT


By Ali Cortes Aviation is a world that is larger than life, and A Different Point Of View, a nonprofit leadership development organization serving youth, ages 14-19 throughout Santa Barbara County, is determined to show youth their potential using aviation and mentoring as a launching pad. “We show them how to become captains of their own ship and that their decisions are important for their future.” Inspired by the impact aviation has and opportunities available to flourish in a setting that provides leadership development, Lynn Houston (founder) visualized a program that improved the chances of at risk youth successfully transitioning into adulthood. In 2012 she took the leap of faith and launched A Different Point OF View. The mission is to engage, inspire and transform youth using flight lessons as a launching pad. Through their programs: Aviation Career Program, Aviation Exploration Day, and Discovery Days the students engage back to academic success, responsible independence, job readiness, and overall motivation to participate in positive lifestyles. Since 2012, ADPOV has served over 500 youth, many of whom have remained a part of the organization, graduated high school, gone onto college and stepped into leadership roles in their community. Take the word of Soraya, a student who participated in ADPOV: “My name is Soraya. There was a time in my life I struggled believing in myself. At 13 I was already incarcerated for some serious charges. One day my probation officer brought me and four other girls to ADPOV’s Aviation Career Program in 2012. They taught me a different side of the world I didn’t know about. That world was a better life with hope and joy. They taught me that I could have a life that was good. Before that time I didn’t believe in myself because everyone would tell me I wouldn’t amount to anything. The program taught me skills, careers, and many other things. I was the first person in my family to graduate high school and when I did they came to the

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ceremony. I have now started my own journey to success. I have a job, a car and am enrolled full time in college. A Different Point of View changed my life.” She is an example of what all our youth have experienced. “Through aviation education and mentoring, we show them a world they’ve never seen before. Many of our youth come from low-income households or the juvenile justice system and lack a belief in their ability to succeed in this world.” ADPOV is fueled by passionate adults who care about supporting young people by helping to develop them to reach their full potential. Volunteers and partnerships with community allies are crucial in providing the mentors that these young adults need to cultivate a safe setting to be led and to become leaders. The award winning Aviation Career Program’s curriculum includes leadership and self awareness training, air traffic control and aircraft maintenance workshops, simulator training and professional flight lessons. Students are introduced to professionals and job opportunities both in

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and out of the aviation field. Students are taught the mechanics and inner workings of an airplane and are taken to the Santa Barbara Airport to meet airline captains, air traffic controllers, flight attendants, and other aviation-industry personnel. Currently Lynn Houston has handed the baton to Ali Cortes who has stepped in as Executive Director. She is just as passionate and driven to continue providing the impactful programs. She was introduced to ADPOV by a youth she was mentoring.� I was so impressed by her confidence and milestones because she had a very challenging upbringing. She introduced me to the organization and I fell in love. I was a volunteer for three years and a board member for one before I took the leadership position. ADPOV gave me the honor to witness major life changes and transformations. I witnessed young women become adults. In a matter of minutes they learned the importance of active listening, communicating, taking proper action, and managing their emotions. This is a unique program that is worth investing time, donations, and innovative ideas to keep it thriving. As the world of aviation grows, the concepts of ADPOV grows with it. Recently they have


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taken students into the classrooms and then to the fields to learn about drones. The use of drones is increasing with its innovative technology. They are being implemented in many job fields, and it is an opportunity to use STEM curriculum to educate youth about something that is very relevant to their generation. Students have partnered with professionals who donate their time and equipment to teach them the correct ways to use drones. There is more to drones than opening the box and using them. Just like the Aviation Career Program, the students take a ground course safety and regulations of usage before they are taught to fly them. They expand their knowledge as they expand their view on careers for their future. The partnership with Santa Barbara Drone Club is an example of how a community can thrive and support the sustainability of it. The nonprofit is a group effort. ADPOV finds support with the Santa Barbara County Probation Department, Santa Barbara Airport, International Organization of Women Pilots, Police Activity League, Signature FBO, ACI Jets, private donors and other organizations. Due to these groups we have been able to stay on course with our mission. Our students have been able to take tours, use equipment, learn the history they can connect with, find mentors, fly, and even fly on their own. Together we give back to what gave us so much. For more information go to: http://www.adifferentpointofview.org/ Photographs by A Different Point of View © 2017 & 2018 Jessany Rodenas

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By Brock Hoops

Throughout my education, I always thought that I was going to be an engineer. When it came around to college, I was disappointed to find out that it lacked the challenge which in turn made me question if this was the right career for me. Because of all of the time and money I put into going to this college, I knew I needed to add to my resume and make sure that I stood out. I decided I would look for some extracurriculars to dedicate myself to while I was in college. One day I got an email about an internship, called Genius Garage, that was going to have the great opportunity to build a full-scale replica of a Sopwith Camel. The internship was only going to last for a few months and the build was going to be done by students. Because of my fascination with aircraft, I knew that I had to be part of the process. I sent in my resume and was accepted to get an interview. It was the longest interview I ever had, and I was asked intense questions about me and my interests, goals, and future. I was amazed that it was more about me as a person, because in most of my experiences, interviewers only

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cared about the paper and what was on it. I knew that after that, this was not going to be a typical internship. I was told to think about the time commitment that it would take and call after I knew with certainty if I wanted to be part of it or not. The next day I called back and informed the founder that I wanted to commit to the project and see it through to the end. He accepted me on that very phone call. I yelled out with joy, despite the number of odd glances from other students around me at the time. I felt highly enthusiastic about Genius Garage and knew what it could mean for me and my future. The early stages of the Sopwith Camel, or better known as “The Jackal�, were filled with fun and intimidation. The blueprints for the plane were not as detailed or direct as we hoped, but that made it perfect for an educational internship. The program truly was going to teach young students, like me, the finer details of engineering and fabrication. It was amazing being able to create such a huge project with very little knowledge about the subject because of the mentors that Genius Garage offered. Between the work and the stress of schoolwork and building the airplane, all of us were making jokes and laughing and bonding. We all agreed that this project was beyond our academic experience because it required fabrication

tools such as cordless drills, metal shears, and manual rivet guns. Roughly midway through the build of our plane, we were told that if we could complete this plane by AirVenture (one of the largest aviation events held in Oshkosh, Wisconsin), we could take the plane and have it on display on the flight line, front and center. This meant that we had to complete the construction of the wings, get the fabric on the entire plane, and paint the entire plane in five weeks.



This was no easy task for five full time college students. Our next few weeks were filled with late nights and early mornings as we prepared for midterms in college and worked on a plane that we grew to love. We knew how much this plane meant to us and we knew it needed to stand out, so we choose the wildest paint scheme that was ever on an airplane in WWI. The 1000th Sopwith Camel made at the Ruston and Lincoln Co. had a special paint job that was styled after an Egyptian Sun god and we decided we would duplicate that paint scheme on our plane. We finished the paint and the plane looked great. We were able to trailer the plane to Oshkosh. We were front and center at AirVenture with some amazing other WWI Replica planes and the week we spent in Oshkosh was definitely worth all the hard work that all of us put in. The number of planes, fantastic people, and events to take part in at AirVenture was something none of us expected and we found the whole experience intoxicating and exhilarating! We spent time getting to know other aviation enthusiasts, watched as planes constantly went up and down the runways, and spent late nights experiencing all the events that went on.

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I was the only student that never had the opportunity to fly on any kind of commercial jet or any other plane. As part of the event, people are able to fly on a 1929 Ford Tri-Motor, so of course my team pushed me to get my first flight in a “rickety� old plane. It was the most amazing experience that I will never forget. This was the exact moment that sparked my passion to one day own a plane of my own. Since I knew that my favorite plane (an SR-71), was a bit more than a long shot for a plane of my own, I talked to different pilots at AirVenture and learned about a beautiful plane that I knew I could afford one

go with composite airplanes in my new leadership role. This is an opportunity I never would have got in college and one I am incredibly grateful for. The future at Genius Garage is bright for me. As a leader I will have the opportunity to take part in mentoring younger students in projects like a static model of a BD-5 Micro Jet, work on modeling a Formula One Reno Air Race plane, and help grow a YouTube channel to provide educational videos to students around the world.

day and would love to learn to fly. I had my heart set on a Long-EZ. My mentor at Genius Garage knew of my newfound love of the Long-EZ. By astonishing coincidence he was approached by a generous connection a few states away that wanted to donate his Long-EZ to our program. After a long weekend road trip, we got our new plane back to our garage where I now have the opportunity to restore a Long-EZ! This year, I was appointed the new student leader of the Genius Garage Aerospace Program. I am looking forward to learn all the techniques and knowledge that

I initially wanted to join Genius Garage because I needed something that college was not giving me. I ended up getting opportunities I never thought someone in my position could have. These great things that I have done and will do are the stories that I will tell in job interviews. It is my goal to land my dream job at a company like Scaled Composites, SpaceX, or NASA and I think my time at Genius Garage is why I will not be just another resume in the pile. The aerospace industry is always on the leading edge of innovation and Genius Garage has provided me with the most innovative way to approach education that I have ever seen. This is why I think Genius Garage will continue into the future and continue to provide the most amazing opportunities for students to shine a little brighter.

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PILOT REPORT ON THE EKOLOT TOPAZ By Ron McElroy If you are looking for a truly innovative, fun, and efficient airplane, the Ekolot Topaz deserves to be at the top of your list. Ekolot has risen above the many attempts by airplane manufacturers to create the KR-030 Topaz with great looks, great fuel efficiency and performance, plus the added safety features of a modern cockpit and airframe emergency parachute. The Topaz LSA is simple to fly and is fueled by the same gasoline as your car which results in lower costs to fly than other LSAs in this category. Fuel and fixed operating costs for the KR-030 Topaz is one-third that of the Cessna 172. For those on a budget, it’s an airplane that can’t be beat. COCKPIT AND CABIN EVALUATION Access to the Topaz cockpit is simple with the standard door opening on each side. First, sit on the bottom part of the door rim and edge of the seat and then swing the legs into the cockpit for a comfortable recumbent profile during the flight. The cabin has plenty of head room, shoulder room, and leg room to reach the rudder pedals. Although it is rather snug with two occupants, there is a small storage area just aft of each occupants’ head for small bags. The cockpit layout is very efficient and logical for a LSA, with easy access to all the displays, switches, and levers. The safety feature of blocking the starter push-button with the fuel cutoff valve is a feature I would like to see on more aircraft. The fuel cutoff valve is readily visible on the forward center console and must be selected to the ON position to allow access to the starter button. Although different from most aircraft, the Topaz has two throttle levers. One for the pilot and one for the passenger which are positioned on each side of the cabin, just under the door frame next to the pilot and passenger seats. Despite the unusual location, it is easy to use, is not an obstacle to normal movement, and are in a logical location for use by the outboard

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hand (left hand for the pilot) with the inboard hand using the center console location of the control stick (right hand for the pilot). With this configuration, the Topaz is easily flown from the right seat. The fuel tank quantity is visually inspected from behind the right hand seat padding as a direct indication of the fuel available in addition to the fuel quantity displays on the instrument panel. The expansive instrument panel easily facilitates state of the art flight, navigation, and engine displays. The Topaz ballistic recovery system (BRS) is installed just above the cockpit and has a safety pin and release handle within easy reach of either occupant centered aft on the ceiling panel. In flight, the cockpit visibility is great with the strutless high wing configuration to facilitate looking at the countryside and scanning for other airplanes. In fact, it makes a great camera platform for documenting special sights or memorable trips with friends. GROUND OPERATIONS The preflight inspection of the Topaz requires a screw driver for access to the oil dipstick and a key for the fuel filler cap, but is otherwise simple. The fuselage fuel tank behind the seats can be filled either from a traditional filler nozzle at airport gas pumps, or using a self-contained electric pump to suction fuel from a storage gas can. Both of these filler locations are on

The remainder of the exterior inspection is very familiar and as easy as most small fixed-gear aircraft. The fit and finish of the entire aircraft shows a great deal of experience and precision in the manufacturing by Ekelot from their many years of sailplane production and use of composites. The Topaz is very comfortable in the cockpit, has great visibility for ground operations, and is very easy to brake and steer. A unique configuration for the brakes, that I liked, was the bicycle-like braking lever attached to the control stick that applies equal brake pressure to each wheel. This is not the differential brake steering that many airplanes have incorporated. Rather, the Topaz nose steering is linked directly to the rudder pedals and is very easy to learn and use. After a few turns, the brakes and steering are as familiar “as riding a bike.” FLYING QUALITIES The Topaz flight control system forces are very light and the flying qualities are smooth and predictable. Responsive to aileron and elevator inputs, the Topaz is quite stable in a trimmed condition, with only minor deviations in turbulence. As is normal with most LSAs, the Topaz requires active use of the rudder during the turns to offset adverse yaw. In addition, with the rudder connected to the nose wheel steering both on the ground and in flight, the rudder requires deliberate pushing of the rudder pedals to displace and return the rudder to/from neutral because of the added influence of the nose wheel fairing that resists a return to neutral with the feet off the rudder pedals. This is only a minor rudder pedal movement that is easy to monitor and correct. The stall characteristics of the Topaz require a little more attention than some aircraft because of the efficient laminar flow wing design. There is only a brief buffet warning accompanied by an expected drop of the nose upon stall entry. With normal monitoring of the yaw, there was no tendency to spin, and the stall recovery is quick with increased power and elevator inputs to reduce the angle of attack and return to level flight. I recommend stall training with an instructor that focuses on slow flight, stall prevention, recognition, and recovery. The elevator forces during takeoff and landing are very light with use of the elevator trim that is adjusted with a button on the control stick. The initial climb after takeoff when using flaps requires only small trim inputs to maintain the desired pitch attitude as the flaps are retracted for cruise climb. PERFORMANCE This Topaz uses a Rotax 912 engine (with either 80 or 100 horsepower options) with a three-bladed

propeller. The takeoff, climb, and cruise performance is remarkable and noteworthy. In my opinion, the Topaz can operate comfortably with a 1,000 feet long runway or shorter. The POH takeoff performance chart with the 80 horsepower Rotax 912UL that I flew shows a 295 foot takeoff distance on hard surfaces and 725 feet total distance to clear a 50 foot obstacle. The published liftoff speed is 38 KIAS with takeoff flaps while accelerating to 51 KIAS to clear the obstacle. After takeoff, with approximately 5200 rpm at full power, pilot and 40 pounds of baggage, the climb rate at 80 KIAS was greater than 1000 feet per minute.


the left side of the fuselage behind the pilot’s door. The Topaz uses either 100LL or auto gasoline with the Rotax engine.

On the two cross country flights I flew, at cruise using 4800 rpm, the Topaz cruises at 90 KIAS at 3,500 feet MSL (approx. 97 KTAS) using only 3.5 gallons per hour. With the 20 gallon fuselage tank, the Topaz should be able to fly over 350 NM with VFR reserves. Published landing distance from the POH is only 660 feet from a 50 foot obstacle with an approach speed of 55 KIAS. SUMMARY The Topaz flying qualities and performance exceeded my expectations. It is easy to fly, very stable, and efficiently operates with the Rotax 912UL 80-hp engine. Certified as a Light Sport Aircraft, I believe it is a very fun aircraft for anyone to fly. As the aviation industry is aggressively looking for new pilots to fill the ranks of professional pilot jobs for the next 20 years, the Topaz has all the features I like as an instructor for teaching new pilots. Too many of the current LSAs have unique flying characteristics that are difficult to compensate for and not transferable to the traditional and expected qualities of a certified aircraft required for commercial operations. However, the Topaz design allows for both the low cost, performance and traditional flying qualities for flight instruction that builds the skills, habit patterns, and experience needed to advance to the professional jobs in aviation. I believe it’s also important to note that the unique low-profile cockpit configuration, displays, controls, and accessibility of the Topaz makes it a great candidate for pilots and passengers with special physical requirements or disabilities. In addition, with its stable flying qualities and efficient operation, the Topaz would also be a good platform for special missions requiring dedicated equipment installation (under Experimental or Restricted category FAA approval). Ron McElroy is an experimental test pilot, trained at the Edwards AFB, CA USAF Test Pilot School. He has flown over 11,000 hours in over 180 types of aircraft during a 42 year career as a military and commercial pilot, instructor, test pilot and consultant.




POP GOES YOUR YOUNG PILOT CANDIDATES By David Newill It is a great day at your Young Eagles flying event – lots of teenagers – several planes – and good weather, but there is clearly a restlessness among some of the parents and even a few of the waiting teens! What are they going to do while plane after plane takes one or two teens or a teen and his adult up for 30 minute rides? Having a POP might help the waiting crowd and capture a few “not so sure” younger pre-pilots. What is POP? It is a Plane-On-a-Post trainer. An ultralight type airframe, sans engine, balanced on a simple, steel pipe frame allowing the young pilot of this craft to “fly” as they pivot about in all axis when the breezes encounter control surfaces. Quickly, teens take to “Windjamming”, turning the airframe from one heading to another, pitching up and down, rolling left and right. A POP is very easy to build and, as it is not an “airplane”, could be owned by one or more EAA chapters or flying clubs. Since it is always “grounded”, it is a perfect club or school project; a build-and-notfly trainer, allowing for mistakes and corrections during construction and assembly, as well as learning some of the arts of airframes. It could provide the needed activity for the yet-to fly students at your youth event. So onto our story of our POP. When the American GEM [Ground Effect Machine] Youth Flight Training System project started in December 2017, we discovered we needed a pre-flight step before putting teens into an actual aviating machine – solo! – as has been done in Europe and Russia for over 20 years. Simultaneously we discovered that, while the local airport was positive to our ground tow line and short tether system to propel the GEM machine, and a “nearby” high school wanted the program as well, the simple act of getting teens to-from school and airport was incredibly challenging! We needed a solution to overcome the economics of transport and bureaucracy of schools and it had to be portable. Hence, Plane-on-a-Post or POP was invented. This non-flyer is easily transportable and offers initial stick-and-rudder experiences at an incredibly low cost! It is something that nearly any EAA Chapter, or group of

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small Chapters, flying clubs or schools, could quickly assemble and use at their various events and programs. From study of the European systems, the American GEM team had a good working definition of what was needed: current production, established company, cage enclosed pilot frame, robust, ultralight glider. The Kolb Aircraft Company, LLC’s Firefly looked promising! In addition to our baseline GEM requirements list, it has a simple folding wing configuration – meaning we could quickly “hangar” in an enclosed trailer or shipping container, no flying wires to rig, was USA built and well supported! Even better, for the POP, the design has a main structural element – a 2" steel tube – at the top of the fuselage cage –from the wing mount structure back to where the engine would go on a powered Firefly. We were blessed to discover an older Kolb Firefly for sale that was within our budget and driving range so off we went to acquire it. Being big boys with a new (to us) toy, we soon had the little bird’s skeleton re-assembled and began a few needed repairs. Bending aluminum tubes, drilling out rivets, and building to Kolb plans convinced us that this is a project nearly any High School AeroSTEM class could attempt. And our choice of Kolb was a good one as we got excellent parts support from their Kentucky factory. EAA Chapter # 67, Noblesville, IN took our American GEM team under their wings and taught us how to cover – sharing a wonderful spray booth and equipment as we worked a Stewart Systems and water-based paint finish onto our bird. [EAA Chapters are great helpers!] Water based covering is pretty easy (latex house paint!) and has no fumes to worry about. You can even do it with foam rollers! This is a real advantage for a school program with no spray booth. Now for the POP! We did several experiments with ball-pivot mounts, height of mount, width, bases, etc. The current configuration is made from 1" black steel threaded pipe supporting a 1-7/8" trailer ball on top, fitted into a 2" ball receiver – inverted mount – on the main structure tube of the Firefly. The fixed position – indoor use – bases are 4' long, 2"X 10"s with pipe flange fittings. For our school based outdoor location, we are fortunate to have a permanent pole base position (former basketball post mount).

Wheels on the POP machine do not have to be flight type – in fact we move from 10" to 8" tires for some events to get a bit more left –right – roll allowance. There is a bit of a compromise as to wheel size and ease of getting students in and out of the plane – the larger wheels do limit pitch and roll, but make it easier to get teens seated as the larger tires touch the ground earlier in the mounting maneuver. With our American GEM assembled (worst case, pivot and pin wings/struts, unfold elevators, insert landing gear legs), we assemble one POP upright and the cross bar with the ball. This inverted “L” is slipped up under the wing at a 45° angle to line of flight and through the open – uncovered - cockpit frame. The opposite side upright is then threaded into the open 90° fitting. With two adults on opposite sides of the cockpit frame, the craft is lifted and moved backwards so that the ball is seated into the airframe mounted fitting and the uprights are tilted to vertical. If done indoors – and our American GEM regularly goes in and out of school building doors – such as in a gymnasium, we do a pitch, roll and yaw test, moving the little bird in all axis to make sure we are not going to pivot into bleachers or cafeteria tables. As for a breeze, two large portable warehouse 48" “drum” fans, usually available at the school for ventilating gymnasiums or drying floors, are sufficient to make the American GEM POP work well indoors, and three are better! With such fans, a POP could be “flown” in a hanger on inclement days! This makes a POP great for CAP, SSA chapters, Aviation Explorers or similar aero-STEM organized youth groups. Fold the wings and store out of the way of other aircraft – (needs 20'X4' footprint) and bring it out for youth meetings! Our American GEM can go from trailer to wings-out and on top of POP post in about 15 minutes with two adults working the assembly. We make special efforts to ensure that the pipe fitting joints are secure and that the ball fitting is not going to unexpectedly rotate with a teen in the seat. Once at the school or student site, if outdoors, the POP is oriented into the expected prevailing breezes – turbulence from trees or buildings is usually easily handled. A pivot mount on the base allows for full 360o motion. Our practice is to have the student stand on a scale – Never announce the weight of a teen student! – and using an airframe specific table, appropriate balance weights are added or removed from a threaded rod inserted where the tail wheel normally fits. This puts the CG right on the center of the ball and only inches from center of flight GC as well. It is amazing how little weight (5 – 10 lbs) is needed to offset a typical, fully clothed pilot’s weight. An adult raises the empennage by lifting on the tail boom, until the landing gear are solidly on the ground. A student can leg-over the center stick and set their rear on the seat, getting into the craft. If the student is especially small – a second back cushion will properly position them for full rudder contact and a natural stick motion. The full four-point glider type harness is latched, and the boom returned to level flight position. Now the student is free to experiment with one control at a time. Elevator is manipulated first to understand pitch and to get the machine to stay level. Next comes Rudder only – although breezes make this happen pretty quickly



as the student works to keep the centerline of the craft aimed at the adult instructor standing in front of the American GEM. A bit of Aileron work follows. Once these controls are understood, the adult moves left or right and the student uses all controls to turn the nose toward the “target” adult. Don’t be surprised to hear “Hey Mom, I am Flying! – I can Fly!” That happens pretty quickly.

American GEM puts:

Now you have to get the current teen out and the next one in! Personnel management skills and cooperative parents come in handy at this point.

The American GEM POP initial flight-experience instruction commands are easily taught to non-pilot adults. This frees up your pilots for Young Eagles or Orientation flights. Even older teens with some practice can run this system – although an adult supervisor is always on hand. So, for a great EAA Chapter Flying Club or School Aero project; find a good used ultralight that has a sufficient pilot cage, and – if necessary – rebuild it into your own non-flying POP. (With nearly 3,000 Kolbs out there you may find a used one at very low cost.) If possible, do so with the teenagers riveting and covering. With administration permission, take it to a school and set up in the parking lot or gym. Let students experience some stick and rudder as you hand out leaflets for your next Youth Flying or recruiting event. Encourage future flyers! Create pilots, advocates for aviation, aero-mechanics and a future for Aviation - - - - or there will not be one.

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Teens in seat solo

Stick in their hands

Wind in her hair

Smile on his face Eyes upward on their future – and not on electrons.

The American GEM POP is NOT a flight simulator – it is a FLIGHT STIMULATOR! For more information Cupertino Aviation Clubs Indiana Non-Profit 501c3 cac@cupertinoclubs.org Kolb Aircraft Co. LLC – www.kolbaircraft.com

What is the American GEM Youth Training System? The American GEM [Ground Effect Machine] is a modified Kolb Firefly – no engine – designed to replicate and improve upon the European and Russian Primary Glider type training system for teenagers. This program is being developed in Indiana under a Not-for-Profit organization. The goal is to have a fully configured and thoroughly tested system by summer 2019, complete with curriculum, available to any youth Aero STEM organization or school – targeted at teen age pre-pilots. A basic GEM glider is attached to a ground tow line via a tether to a weighted “sled”. At all times the student is SOLO! The Machine is never out of Ground Effect – hence “G E M”. The goal is a Safe, VERY LOW COST, Repeatable, Transportable, REAL Aviation experience. An American GEM Youth Training System consists of two GEM’s (one for Plane-on-a Post), an 800' – 1,000' smooth grass field – longer is better, the ground tow line system pulleys and tension device, 1,700 – 2,200 ‘of high strength tow line, a ground “sled” and the tow machine. The entire package can fit into a standard shipping container – “hangar” – or a 22' enclosed trailer. Students first learn to “taxi” as the ground tow line loop is powered at slow – 5 to 10 mph – speeds and the GEM attached with a 5' tether. Following a very prescribed flight card syllabus, once the student has demonstrated elevator and rudder control during taxi, usually about 20 sorties, the tether is lengthened to 10' and speed is increased so that some bit of daylight appears under the wheels, then it is immediately shut off. This “hopping” practice is continued until it is clear that the student understands all axis of motion. Now with about 40-50 sorties complete, the speed is moved up to ~22 mph, tether set at 15' -20' and grass-skimming begins! Here the intent is smooth GEM control and landings. This is a longer set of missions gradually moving to aviating at some 8-10 feet AGL with controlled climbs and descents – and landing left and right of centerline. Successful completion of these flight cards allows the most experienced students to go “off the end of the line” experiencing a bit of free-flight before landing in a defined area. More advanced students can learn to land off-angle in marked areas either side of centerline. In Europe – schools compete annually for landing accuracy with last minute calls for left or right! The American GEM is in prototype phase currently. Taxi testing is underway, and by the time you read this, initial low level skimming should be fully demonstrated. Refinements to the airframe have already been made. A final “production” configuration is expected by summer 2019. The American GEM Ground Tow Line operations plan

GIVE THE GIFT OF FLIGHT “Aviation touches nearly everyone’s lives. OPEN AIR was written as a family-friendly guide to inspire anyone with an interest in aviation. It includes ‘pilot hacks’ to save time and money and compliments programs that give rides to share aviation by answering the ‘20 FAQ’s’ I’ve dubbed the ‘two hour conversation.’ It is the most compehensive tool to promote aviation as an ideal STEM learning platform.” A dynamic, inspirational aviation speaker, Jeff helps organizations navigate the aviation revolution with strategic solutions. A portion of the proceeds of book sales at speaking events go to the organization to help cover his modest speaking fee.

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Taylor: Young Girl, Big Dreams By Natalie “flyGIRL” Kelly How many people, at age 10, know what they want to be when they grow up? I sure didn’t! My dream job changed from week to week as a young girl. My path recently crossed with a young girl, Taylor Peeff, who has focus and big dreams to become the youngest, female airplane captain at UPS. This young girl from Louisville, Kentucky, was recently granted a wish to go on a personal flight and be co-pilot for a day through the UPS “Wishes Delivered” program. Anyone can watch Taylors’ dream-come-true-experience on YouTube. Grab tissues! This video pulls at my heart strings every time. Meeting Taylor was special for me. She reminds me a lot of myself at that age. She is full of life and is a happy, personable young lady. Taylor enjoys all kinds of sports activities, as well as using her creative talents to make candy, draw and create jewelry. Taylor says, “I like to stay busy. I don’t like to be bored.” She also uses some of her free time to practice flying with her personal, home computer flight simulator. She has a lofty goal of taking the FAA Private Pilot written exam as soon as she turns 15. She already has the study materials for her preparation. She and her family visited EAA AirVenture for the first time this past July. She relished meeting new people who share her love of all things aviation. It’s hard for her to name one particular favorite part of the full week at Oshkosh, Wisconsin. She appreciates the warbirds and loves to see what the professional show pilots and

planes can do during the air show performances. Taylor has shared her enthusiasm for airplanes with others each chance she’s gotten. She’s had several opportunities to share her passion with girl scout troops, EAA chapters, friends, and any other person or airport bum that will listen. Her eagerness to learn about flying hasn’t gone unnoticed. There have been several aircraft owners and pilots that have offered flights to Taylor in order to give her learning opportunities and keep her dream alive. Taylor doesn’t just talk the talk, she takes action. When she has downtime between her homeschool lessons, she’s making candy and creating her one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry. She has a Square Up page and Facebook page where she sells her handmade candy and jewelry in order to raise money for flight training. For me, hearing about Taylor’s excitement for aviation and her dreams of being a pilot, simply reignites my own appreciation of flight. It reminds me of this unique opportunity we have and the freedom we enjoy in the United States to be able to pursue whatever dreams we have. She lives a short 30 minute flight from my home and we have plans to fly together soon. Nothing would please me more than to feed that fire in her to one day be the captain of her own airplane. Help Taylor fundraise for her flight training by visiting her Square Up page: http://squareup.com/store/ taylors-trinkets-and-treats OR her Facebook page: https://facebook.com/TaylorsTrinketsandTreats/ See her UPS “Wishes Delivered” video here: https://youtu.be/I2LfuVa94uE



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FUN FOR KIDS WITH AIRPLANES AND HELICOPTERS AT LEESBURG AIRPORT By Ted Luebbers Twenty Youngsters had a chance to fly in both a helicopter and a general aviation fixed wing aircraft at the Leesburg International Airport in Leesburg, Florida on Saturday December 8, 2018. The Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 534 held a Young Eagles flying event at the airport for these young people and for most of them it was the first time they had flown in an airplane. These children and their parents convened at the EAA Chapter 534 hangar at 9:00 AM to fill out their Young Eagles paperwork and have an orientation given to them by Joel Hargis, President of Chapter 534. They were told what to expect during the flight and to meet their EAA pilots. What made this orientation a bit different was when Hargis asked who wanted to fly in a helicopter, all the kids raised their hand. On this day five fixed wing aircraft and one helicopter were provided by EAA volunteer pilots so it was decided to treat these young folks with rides in both types of aircraft. What made this opportunity possible was that Hans- Gunter Vosseler, a Chapter 534 pilot, brought his large Eurocopter to the party and was able to fly five kids at a time. Hans generously pitched in and made four separate flights so that all the Young Eagles would get a chance to fly in a helicopter. In between helicopter flights each child also flew in a single engine general aviation fixed wing aircraft. The Young Eagles Flight program is designed to give young people an opportunity to fly in

a general aviation aircraft with the hope that this exposure will spark an interest in aviation so when they come of age, they will seek out careers in aviation and/or go on to earn a private pilot’s license. On a national basis, EAA has been offering this free flight program for kids for twenty-five years and have flown over two million children. The program is open to kids ages 8 to 17. Upon completion of their flights, each student receives an EAA Flight Commemoration Certificate and a flight log book signed by their EAA pilot. In addition, each person receives a free online “Learn to Fly Course” that will help them prepare for a Federal Aviation Administration written exam if they wish to go on to secure a private pilot’s license. Among several other free things, they also get one hour of dual flight instruction at a flight school of their choice. Chapter 534 provided six volunteer pilots and their personal aircraft as well as nine additional chapter volunteers helping with the paperwork and escorting kids safely to and from airplanes. Kids were also treated to a tour by the crew of a medical air care helicopter belonging to Orlando Health. This aircraft is based at the Leesburg International Airport and is on standby for medical emergencies on a 24/7 basis. If you would like more information about EAA Chapter 534 or the Young Eagles Flight program, go to the following web sites. www.youngeagles.org/join www.eaachapter534.org Permission granted to use any or all photos. The crew of the Orlando Health emergency medical helicopter show off their aircraft and explain their mission to the EAA Chapter 534 Young Eagles at the Leesburg International Airport. (photo by Ted Luebbers )



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