AviNation Magazine Winter 2020

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INSIDE Young Lady, Big Dreams “Every Student Flies” in Aspen My Aviation Mentor Retires His Wings

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Winter 2020

TABLE OF CONTENTS Guest Publisher Statement..................................................................................... 4

Supporter Index: Please support these fine organizations AB Flight, LLC...........................................................43 AIRBUS........................................................................ 23 Aviation Insurance Resources (AIR).................43

Welcome to Janet’s Planet..................................................................................... 6

Aviation Supplies & Academics, Inc..................46

Young Lady, Big Dreams......................................................................................... 9

California Baptist University................................48

Lift Academy: From High School to Flying High..........................................14

ByDanJohnson.com................................................43 Culver Props...............................................................43 Endeavor Airlines, Inc................................................2

Telling is Not Teaching............................................................................................16

Envoy............................................................................ 37

Seeing the World from an Unusual Attitude..................................................19

General Aviation News...........................................43

Pilot-to-Pilot Mentorship...................................................................................... 20 Questions Remain as a Teacher Becomes a Student PIlot......................24 Night Sky.....................................................................................................................28

Experimental Aircraft Channel............................ 22 Kievprop America....................................................46 LIFT Academy................................................ 14-15, 18 Lockwood Aviation................................................. 22 M-Squared Aircraft, Inc........................................... 13 MATCO mfg............................................................... 27

“Every Student Flies” in Aspen...........................................................................32

Piedmont Airlines........................................................5

My Aviation Mentor Retires His Wings............................................................38

Sebring Flight Academy....................................... 29

Airbus Flying Challenge Program Helps High School Students Build Experimental................................................................................................. 44

Schweiss Doors......................................................... 29 Sensenich Propeller Mfg. Co., Inc........................ 17 STEMPilot.......................................................................3 Stewart Systems....................................................... 22 The American Civil Wings Society..................... 31 Van Bortel Aircraft................................................... 47


Van’s Aircraft................................................................8


INSIDE Young Lady, Big Dreams “Every Student Flies” in Aspen My Aviation Mentor Retires His Wings

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Doug Adomatis Cover Photo Courtesy of Pilot pg. 24 cher Becomes Student Questions Remain as Tea

Zenith Aircraft Company....................................... 31


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 Editors: Vicky Rink Administrative & Circulation Coordinator: Jessica Peed Design & Production: Barb Betts & Sam Tusha, Lime Valley Advertising, Inc. Mankato, MN Correspondence Editorial submissions and other correspondence E-mail: jppeed@gmail.com Phone: (515) 408-3763 www.avinationusa.com Advertising Phone: (515) 408-3763 E-mail: jppeed@gmail.com www.avinationusa.com

Contributing Writers Airbus Douglas Adomatis Jill Meyers Kristopher Olson Lift Academy Matt Ferrari Mike Shelly Mike Thompson Mike Zidziunas Natalie Kelley Nicholas Poucher

Thank you to our Cornerstone Supporter

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Guest Commentary I remember in early 2017 having conversations with my friend Jacob who, was at a crossroads. He had been in publishing and aviation for some time. Those publications had been heavily involved in helping to tell the exciting stories coming out of the sport aviation industry for some time. I think he was beginning to feel a change in the wind and was looking for direction. In his role as a publisher, Jacob had always been willing to publish the stories coming out of Lakeland Aero Club and the cool things happening at the newly formed Aerospace Center for Excellence at SUN ‘n FUN. As we talked about what we were doing and what was a clear need for pilots, mechanics and aviation professionals growing in the aviation industry, an idea began to form… AviNation was launched in July of 2017, more pamphlet than magazine, but it was a start. And it started people talking, and stories came in from everywhere. People in the industry started to take notice of some of the youth programs out there and bit by bit AviNation grew and took-on its own life. It was a good idea whose time has come, and its growth has paralleled the growth of the youth programs it promotes. As the focal point of the “ Mentor Network”, AviNation is made possible by the people it supports and promotes, the students, mentors, their stories, their passion and the sponsors and advertisers putting their money where their mouths are by supporting youth aviation. These are key partners and industry stakeholders; whose financial support puts ink on paper and magazines out into the world. Jacob took a big chance on this idea, literally betting the house on it. So, I am glad to see this great idea blossom as a lot of heart and soul goes into it, and I’m excited for the future of AviNation and the young aviators it reaches. As we are fond of saying around here “The sky is…just the beginning”. Mike Z. President, Lakeland Aero Club

Connect WITH US! @AviNationUSA



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WELCOME TO by Matt Ferrari

Have you ever looked up into the night sky and wondered what’s out there? Gazed in awesome wonder at the Northern Lights or maybe followed a shooting star as it fades back into the blackness? If so, and you are searching for answers, this just might be what you’re looking for. Traveling at the speed of thought, Janet’s Planet will take you to the outermost reaches of our universe, and beyond, explaining things along the way! Airing on over 140 public television stations nationwide, Janet’s Planet television series is an educational, short form, video presentation that explores a multitude of topics, one topic at a time. The wide variety of topics include everything from the (former) planet Pluto to the important history of a heroic member of the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron of World War Two, often referred to as the WAFs, which later in the war expanded and evolved into the Women Airforce Service Pilots better known as the WASPs, to one of my personal favorites – the banana hammer! I also recommend watching Janet’s video on Micro Gravity where she flies in a modified Boeing 727 airliner and experiences zero ‘G’ flight. The video series can be found on the internet at YouTube, YouTube Kids, BatteryPop, Club Jelly Telly, and HighBrow. In addition to the television shows, Janet’s Planet Live is a traveling stage production consisting of “A Tour of the Solar System”, and coming soon, “The Great Solar System Scavenger

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Hunt!” and “Unsung Genius, Heroines of Science.” Janet’s Planet Live will enlighten, inspire and motivate students to explore deeper into some interesting, exciting and really important topics. Janet Ivey Duensing is the creator and force behind “Janet’s Planet”, and recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit with her. She has a magnetic personality and speaking with her is an exercise in excitement! Janet is very personable, easy to talk to and after only a couple of minutes into our conversation it felt as if I was chatting with an old friend, someone I’ve known all my life. And after just a few words, it became very apparent that this is a woman who lives her life at full throttle! Janet’s Planet focusses on the “STEAM” education initiative which is an approach to learning that emphasizes Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics. Using the metaphor of outer space, Janet’s Planet quite intuitively and very effectively presents examples of each of the STEAM areas highlighting the interrelationships between them and showing how they correlate. Guiding the students through dialog, Janet inspires critical thinking and problem solving by presenting scenario-based issues that require collaboration and creativity to solve. Searching the internet, I found a video of Janet’s “Tour of the Solar System” live stage presentation. Watching her, I noticed that there was something special in the way she interacts with her audience. She has a great stage presence and is an excellent communicator, keeping her audience totally engaged, all the time. The video lasted just about an hour and on the wide-angle shots where I could see the audience, not once did I notice a student, or an adult for that matter, whose attention was anywhere else other than on Janet and her crew. It seems that there is a mutual sense of discovery, ongoing throughout the show, where she is as excited as her students with their new revelations! A gift Janet shares with the world is that she educates, motivates and inspires, all at the same time. As she interacts with her audience, Janet praises the students’ participation by offering accolades and positive reinforcement, never shaming anyone if the answer wasn’t correct. Watching how she reacted to an incorrect answer, she actually made the student feel good about having the courage to try! That got me thinking about a quote accredited to one of the best ice hockey players of all time. Known as “The Great One”, hockey hall of famer Wayne Gretzky, while responding to a frustrated interviewer’s question about

Planet! his low scoring percentage in a critical game he said, “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you never take!” He is one hundred percent correct, and Janet provides the opportunity for these kids to take their shots. She is so entertaining and engaging that it’s easy to become absorbed and lose yourself in her presentation. And when I say lose yourself, I mean getting lost in a good way, lost in the JRR Tolkien way, the “Not all who wander are lost” kind of way. To allow your mind to wander along with her as she takes us for a ride through the cosmos is, well, out of this world! Using your imagination, you’ll ‘travel at the speed of thought’ through the vast universe, making stops along the way to learn all about what’s out there. Anyone who is fortunate enough to see one of her live shows is sure to walk away feeling good with a healthy dose of fresh curiosity, some new tools to explore those curiosities with and feeling very encouraged about our future. To see a fellow human being showing so much heartfelt and sincere caring is a joy to watch. The best part is the long-lasting affect Janet has on the young people she works with. The world is a much better place because of people like Janet Ivey Duensing. To learn more about Janet and Janet’s planet, check out the Janet’s Planet website at: www.janetsplanet.com Also check out Janet’s social media and YouTube channel here: Facebook: Janet’s Planet Twitter: JanetsPlanet YouTube: JanetsPlanetOfficial You can contact Janet Ivey Duensing via email at: janet@janetsplanet.com



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S M A RE e by Mik


Most people look to the sky and see nothing more than a sunrise on a beautiful day, yet others look to the sky and see a challenging oasis that beckons the call for adventure. Ava Shelly seeks the latter. Her very first time aboard any aircraft was at six months old on a cross country flight from South Florida to Hawaii. Most babies fuss and scream, but Ava was pleasant and enjoyable the entire ten hour flight. This would be the beginning of the many journeys and adventures to come her way.Â



YOUNG LADY, BIG DREAMS Ava’s paternal grandfather, after leaving the ARMY in the 1960’s, flew commercially for several major airlines until his eventual retirement. When Ava was born, her grandfather moved in with her parents and grew very close to his first grandchild. For her 10th birthday, his gift to her was a discovery flight at the local flight school. With no visible nerves, she took to the sky and thoroughly enjoyed her first flight. The smile on her face was imprinted so hard that before we left the parking lot, she had us sign her up for her next flight lesson! Twenty five flight hours later, we were convinced this was more than a hobby, but a passion. Her desire for adventure keeps our life exciting. We had plans to travel to Europe and Ava’s wish was to fly over the Eiffel Tower, so she did! The Paris Flight Academy took her under their wing and gave her an experience of a lifetime. She flew with Captain Michele from Air France and explored Versailles many wonders and beauties. Having that time logged in her flight book was just as precious to her as the flight itself. A memory not only imbedded in her mind, but on paper to show to all. Top Gun- the movie that speaks to all pilots out there. The famous “Because I was inverted” t-shirt caught the eye of this adventurous soul. Once purchased, we told Ava jokingly, “Ok, now you can’t wear it, till you earn it”. That short statement had stuck in this little girl’s mind and became not only a dream, but a mission. With

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some homework, we found a fantastic Pilot. Mike, who took Ava up in an Extra 330NG. They performed half Cuban 8’s, aileron rolls, and loops. Spiraling through the clouds and flying 500 feet over South Beach this girl was ecstatic. It’s official, our baby went inverted! She had earned that t-shirt and wears it proudly. We were able to witness one of the best moments, the pure joy on Ava’s face. Happy 11th birthday Ava! What would you like to do for your big day? “Fly a helicopter,’’ was her response. Say goodbye to princess parties and hello to rotorcraft. We love how unique her requests are and how she breaks our comfort zone. The EAA chapter we are apart of has opened opportunities and allows these birthday requests to be answered. Surrounding ourselves with people in the aviation community has opened doors we never dreamt of. Talk about being at the right place at the right time. Once after completing another flight lesson with her CFI, the hangar next to us was being visited by a magnificent woman, Katie. She was so taken by Ava and her brother Van, that after several conversations, Katie had awarded scholarships to our children for Glider training. No words can be expressed for our gratitude. Fixed wings, helicopters, gliders, aerobatic aircraft, simulators… and all she can think of is what else can she get her hands on? Not your typical middle school aged girl activity, flying airplanes has been an independent adventure. Not

many peers share the same desire to participate in this somewhat unique activity. When one of her girlfriends asked about her weekend, Ava told her, “I flew to the west coast of Florida for the day with my dad to meet some friends for lunch, then flew home.” Her friend replied, “you don’t have to brag.” At that moment as her parents we sought out a youth flight club or something similar for her to find peers that were interested in similar activities. It was during this search that we came across the United States Naval Sea Cadets (USNSCC). It is the only youth group chartered by Congress and sponsored by the Secretary of the Navy. The cadets range in ages from 10-18 and are authorized to wear the U.S. Navy uniforms with special insignia identifying them as Sea Cadets. The Sea Cadets offer several trainings in almost all military occupations, but aviation is what caught my eye. Earlier this year, she had an opportunity to attend the National Flight Academy (NFA) in Naval Air Station (NAS), Pensacola, FL for a one week immersion training camp. During this training, the Ambition Experimental Pilots (AXP) live aboard the Ambition Aircraft Carrier and carry out and perform all the duties and functions of a Naval Aviator. Some activities included were flight planning, briefing for contingencies, weather analysis, fuel conservation, diversion landing fields or blue water operations, weapons systems, rules of engagement (ROE) and so many more details that go into every sortie. Each student had a chance to be apart of a flight squadron and carry out real world missions.

Once each mission was completed, a full debrief and after action review was completed showing the pilots how each decision made in the cockpit affected real world outcomes. After graduation from this training we took the rest of the afternoon to walk around the museum in Pensacola. The amount of aviation history in this one building is remarkable. If anyone has the chance to visit, I would highly recommend it.



least once a month until she can qualify for her license. The FAA has strict guidelines about age minimums. For those of you that are unaware, I’ll break it down for you, age fourteen for glider solo flight, fifteen for the FAA written, sixteen for powered flight solo and seventeen for a private pilots license. Ava is twelve, with a long list of goals in her near future. I cannot describe the amount of work behind the scenes that go into learning to fly and the fact that this determined young woman has faced those challenges head on and tackles them day by day. The advanced weather theory alone is enough to make any amateur meteorologist blush.

The aviation community as a whole has been tremendously helpful and overall very kind to an inspired young lady who wants to pursue her passion as a career. The world needs more pilots. No the world needs more people who are passionate about their career choices and the ability to chase them down. After her first flight, I promised her she would fly at

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Although flying is her main passion, it is by no means her only hobby or extra-curricular activity. Ava has been studying piano for the last four years and takes weekly private lessons. She regularly performs with her music school and even with her music teacher at a locally owned and operated piano lounge. Self defense is also a big part of our routine. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing are two of her favorite activities. Over the summer she competed in her first Jiu Jitsu tournament and came in third for her weight class. Living in South Florida, the ocean is a big part of our culture. Ava is a certified scuba diver and just obtained her Nitrox certification. She is currently working on her advanced open water diver rating and will have all the necessary dives to meet the criteria to earn her card.

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Somewhere between the interest of aviation and the Navy sea cadets, Ava has decided that she will do everything in her power to attend the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. With a little bit of luck and the grace of God, she hopes to be selected for jets. Hopefully by then, she will be flying the world’s best aircraft, the 5th generation Fighter, F 35C Lightning II. The sky is the limit for this young aviator.







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FROM HIGH SCH TO FLYING HIGH Meet Lucas Harbison, a 2015 Fishers High School alum who is pursuing his dream to fly through LIFT Academy. From favorite high school traditions to his first flight, Lucas shares how he made his way from high school diploma to flying high as a pilot. Hometown: Fishers, IN High school graduation year: 2015 Favorite school subject: Economics Were you in any extra-curricular activities in high school? Football and rugby Favorite tradition at Fishers High School: That’s easily the annual Mudsock football game. Not many people get to experience playing high school football in front of 10,000+ fans. Since it’s against the other high school in our district, we’re playing against the same kids we played with growing up. It was really special. What made you want to become a pilot? I never wanted a typical 9-5 desk job and always liked going fast. Originally, I wanted to be a pilot in the military, and then some life circumstances shifted that desire over to becoming a commercial pilot. How old were you when you first remember wanting to become a pilot? I thought about it when I was younger since I had a family friend who was an airline pilot, but the first time I was really serious about it was in high school when I decided I wanted to fly jets in the military. What did you do after high school? After high school I went to college to play Division 1 rugby until I got injured. How did you decide to join LIFT? I had been planning on going to flight school shortly before LIFT Academy was announced, so everything just kind of fell into place at the right time. Why did you decide on LIFT for your flight training? I was talking to some family friends about going to flight school, and I got some inside information that a school would be opening close to home. When more details came out about the school and the opportunities with it, it was a pretty easy decision to start training at LIFT. What is one thing you learned in high school that is helping most in flight training right now? One thing I learned in school that really helps with training is when a certain lesson or topic doesn’t seem to click, if you keep looking at it from different angles it starts to make sense. What about becoming an airline pilot are you looking forward to the most? What I’m looking forward to the most is being able to move up to bigger and faster planes along with getting to fly in new and different areas of the country. Would you recommend high schoolers now to consider aviation as a career? Absolutely. The way the industry is going, there’s a massive demand for pilots that doesn’t seem to be slowing down. These days it’s hard for some people to find jobs after college or high school, so going into an industry with such a need is a good idea. What advice would you share about the training or the process of becoming a pilot? Obviously, the training is rigorous and fast-paced, but it’s not monotonous like the learning experience most people are used to. It’s mostly hands-on and a lot of fun, so it makes you want to keep progressing and developing your skills.


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TELLING IS NOT TEACHING by Mike Thompson What is the key to effective teaching? The key is a relationship between the learner and the teacher. A concerted conscious effort is required by the learner in order to deeply understand and apply any given content. Any learner engaged in this process will spend their time much more effectively and efficiently if they have a relationship with a trusted teacher guiding them. As humans we must consider the time and effort that it takes to really learn something in depth. Compared to a computer which is simply swipe, click, download, click again, and you’re done, all in a matter of seconds; deep learning for humans does not happen in an instant. The human brain does not function like a computer. To inform our human mind with a depth of knowledge takes time and effort. This effort is hard work. This time consuming and effortful process of learning is much

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more efficient when guided by someone the learner can respect and trust. A learner will respect and trust this person because the two of them have built a relationship. The ever increasing use of electronic media over the past few decades sometimes leads to the mistaken notion that learning should be just as instantaneous as the media that supports it. Because we use electronic media so often, we sometimes fool ourselves into thinking that learning can simply be an instant update. It is important to remind ourselves from time to time

that the human brain learns in much the same way that it has for centuries. Just because technology has made more information available instantaneously, it does not follow that the brain learns faster just because we use faster technology. Effective flight instructors are ones who build relationships with the learners and take the time to focus on where the learner is and what the learner needs in order to become a safe and competent pilot. A focus on the learner and what they already know combined with what they need yet to learn leads learning to a place where that pilot can meet or exceed expectations. If you would like to explore this idea of teaching as a relationship, and the idea that simply telling a student something does not constitute teaching; and if you would like to explore each of the 9 chapters of the Aviation Instructor’s Handbook from the perspective of teaching rather than from simply telling then you will be interested in the book Telling Is Not Teaching – The Flight Instructors’ Handbook. In Telling Is Not Teaching – The Flight Instructors’ Handbook, you will find a parallel to the nine chapters

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found in the Aviation Instructor’s Handbook. This parallel assists flight instructors in expanding upon the learning theory provided by the FAA and connects those theories to the importance of building relationships with learners to foster both effective teaching and effective learning. Telling Is Not Teaching – The Flight Instructors’ Handbook, can be found in hardcopy, on Audible or in Kindle. Simply go to amazon.com and type in “Telling Is Not Teaching – The Flight Instructors Handbook” and you’ll find this book that will take you on a thought provoking journey into the key to effective teaching and learning.

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Ready for a new view? Learn more and start the free application process at flywithlift.com. New classes start every month. Explorers wanted.

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Seeing the World from an

Unusual Attitude

by Nicholas Poucher Back in October the Lakeland Aero Club took a trip up to the Sky Country Lodge in Alabama to receive upset and spin recovery training from Greg Koontz. Five of our members along with the President of the Aero Club made the ten-hour drive from Florida. We were planning to camp on Greg’s property, but ended up sleeping in the hangar due to weather. Each day for us started with a ground lesson from Greg on things such as how to “Tame a Taildragger”, spin recovery, and overviews of aerobatic maneuvers. After ground school in the morning we ate breakfast, then pushed the Super Decathlon out of the hangar. Our flights started with implementing the spin recovery training we went through on the ground, except this time we were in a fully developed spin looking straight at the ground with the VSI pegged to the bottom. This was the moment I realized how important this training actually was and how underprepared a pilot is for recovering from a spin, since most private pilots never actually have to experience one. After we demonstrated that we could effectively recover from spins, we once again went straight into implementing what we learned on the ground and started flying aerobatic maneuvers. He quickly handed the controls over and let us fly aileron rolls, loops, and half Cuban eights. After we learned those maneuvers, Greg performed some of his more advanced aerobatics and let us enjoy the ride. Once back on the ground Mrs. Koontz had lunch waiting for us while the next

person prepared for their flight. One of the perks of staying on a private strip is to be able to push the Cub out at the end of the day after we finished our training and do some low and slow flying over Alabama while dinner was being prepared. While the weather unfortunately deteriorated throughout the week we still helped set up for a fly-in and fundraiser that Greg was hosting to benefit the Lakeland Aero Club. Even though the fly-in got rained out we had the event as a drive-in and still had a remarkable turnout considering the weather. After getting to fly with Greg throughout the week and experience firsthand how great of a pilot Greg is, there was no better way to end the trip than being able to witness the FAA present Greg Koontz with the 50-year Master Pilot Award! On behalf of the Lakeland Aero Club, thank you Greg for opening your home to us and sharing some of your knowledge and expertise with us.



Pilot-to-Pilot Mentorship by Kristopher Olson Every single day 100,00 airliners takeoff and land around the world. One of the most exciting aspects of my life is that I get to pilot one of those 100,000 flights. What is even more exciting is those airliners need pilots now more than ever. Over the next 20 years over 790,000 jobs will appear globally, with 212,000 in the United States alone. The shortage of pilots in the world is not due to the shortage of smart, talented people, it’s a shortage of self-confidence. The journey to the flight deck is long, costly and challenging but for the hundreds of thousands of individuals who decide to pursue the career, the reward is well worth the risk. Over eight years ago I sat down to take my first (of many) CATS tests at Ocala Aviation Services in Ocala, Florida. I didn’t believe I could actually make it all the way to the “big” airlines, but I studied hard and I was as ready for the test as ever. After a two-hour multiple-choice test which resulted in a passing score, my parents paid for a “discovery flight”, a half hour introductory to aviation flight around the local area. That was the beginning of my aviation journey. I was fifteen years old and I had no clue how fast things would change. In less than a decade I would go from zero hours to sitting in an Airbus A-320. What I thought was impossible is my current reality. It could be yours too. That test was 2011. Fast forward five years (to 2016), and three regional airline pilots coalesce around the idea of a pilot-to-pilot mentorship organization. Marc Cervantes, John Hackworth and Vesselin Slaveykov formed Professional Pilots of Tomorrow (PPOT), and

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registered it as a 501(c)3 in New York State. The reason they formulated PPOT was to help individuals like me. You see, the airline industry has a “problem”. There are hundreds of thousand piloting jobs – airline pilots, charter pilots, flight instructors and test pilots - opening up around the world. The “solution” is the millions of qualified people who could be airline pilots if they pursued it. The question then becomes how do you let pilots know what jobs exist and connect those pilots to the jobs? From the get-go, PPOT was geared to helping aspiring pilots through confidential, insightful and unbiased mentorship. While PPOT doesn’t offer any jobs or favors with for-profit organizations, PPOT does offer free resources, most significantly in the form of your own personal pilot-mentor. Every mentor is a pilot, who has stood in your shoes at some point, and can guide you through the certification process, offer advice on career moves or just share in the joys of flying. Just because learning to fly is a long road doesn’t mean it has to be a lonely one. To start the process, individuals would register as either a ‘mentee’ (aspiring pilots) or ‘mentors’ (current professional pilots) at https://www.theppot.org. If registered as a mentee, a mentor will be assigned, with the goal to reach out in a handful of days. Mentors are typically assigned based off of long-term aspirations. These mentors are always just a phone call or text message away. Beyond receiving your own mentor, mentees have access to a variety of useful resources, such as an airline comparison chart, through PPOT’s website.

The website lists PPOT’s Low-Time-Networking Program partners and an outline of the program. This program, along with others facilitated by the organization are designed to help pilots connect and network, with the ultimate goal of finding employment in the industry that works best for every pilots’ individual circumstance. The website also acts as a repository for jobs that “low time” pilots can apply for, helping pilots make the tough transition from student to professional pilot. This resource is especially useful for individuals who do not want to pursue the flight instructor route.

to pose questions directly to the entire PPOT network. With hundreds of mentors, representing nearly every regional, major and many charter organizations in the U.S., this is a powerful tool for those looking for career guidance. As the organization continues to grow more resources are being provided to members. If you look to the sky and dream of being a pilot, sign up as a mentee. Mentees come from many backgrounds; some are high school students, some own businesses and currently fly for fun, but regardless of your experience our mentors can help guide you through the process, set expectations and help you takeoff on your journey.

Regarding social media, PPOT currently utilizes Facebook (via two pages, one public and one member-only group), Instagram and LinkedIn. Historically, social media has been used to disseminate information about the University Mentorship Program (UMP), scholarships, career fairs and airline hiring information. The Facebook members-only group is a way for individuals



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Questions Remain as a Teacher Becomes Student Pilot by Douglas Adomatis

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aking flying lessons this summer challenged me as a learner. This admission comes from someone who is usually doing the teaching. After nine hours of dual instruction, I learned how to maneuver the airplane. But, the most important lesson I learned was that my teaching could improve by adopting the ways of a professional flight school. During orientation, I was put firmly in my place as a student. The owner of the flight school sat me down, gave me the policy manual, a course syllabus, and a preemptive pep talk. He was brutally honest with me. He said, “I know you want to progress quickly, but it may take you longer than others.” He continued, “that does not mean you will be any less proficient than those who get their license ahead of you.” This lesson was the first of many I learned.

ENCOURAGE A GROWTH MINDSET. On the first day of school, students come to the classroom with a variety of backgrounds and abilities. When I first started teaching high school, I treated every course as a race. Every student began at the starting line, the finish line was the final exam, and success meant passing the final exam. Over the years, I’ve realized that students can quickly become discouraged and give up if I strictly adhere to this you-either-get-it-or-you-don’t philosophy. That is not satisfying for them or me. I don’t want students to walk away from my class saying, I can’t do science. I want them to walk away with a sense of accomplishment. What the flight school owner told me on that first day makes me more empathetic towards struggling students. As I plan for the next school year, I am asking myself:

more interesting than what is going on inside. And, classroom interruptions such as announcements, fire drills, and unexpected visitors often disrupt the flow of instruction. It’s a wonder students can focus on the lesson with all these distractions. You cannot eliminate distractions, but you can structure lessons that minimize their impact. My flight school helped students make the best use of their time in the airplane by requiring them to do homework before lessons. This instructional model is similar to what educators call the “flipped classroom.” In a traditional high school or college class, direct instruction is presented in the form of a lecture, and then students are assigned problems to work at home. In the flipped classroom, students work individually at home to take notes on a video or reading assignment, while classroom time is used for problem-solving. It makes so much more sense. Students work individually at their own pace at home on tasks that do not require interaction with the teacher. Back in class, students come prepared to apply what they have learned. The teacher is available when students need the most help: working on problems.

How can my grading system award the highest grades to students who master the learning objectives, while also rewarding students for making progress?

MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS. As the saying goes: An airplane is a terrible classroom. There are many distractions in the cockpit. You have to continually monitor radio communications that may have nothing to do with you. You are always looking outside the aircraft for other airplanes and weather conditions. And, turbulence can wreck your train of thought. Similarly, a classroom has a lot of distractions. Students monitor the conversations of other students. What’s going on outside the windows may be



I have successfully flipped several physics lessons, but there are always a few students who come to class without doing their homework. They have not received the instruction necessary to participate in group activities. If I separate them from the group, requiring them to complete their individual work during class time, then they miss out on important learning activities.

I have read where there are different types of learners: visual learners, auditory learners, kinesthetic learners, and read/write learners. I can say from experience that the more ways that students interact with the content, the better the chances that everyone will understand it. However, planning activities for all different types of learners can be a challenge when you have a lot of students.

How do I manage students who come to class unprepared?

Without increasing the time it takes to teach a lesson, how do I include activities for all different types of learners?

USE MULTIPLE MODALITIES. The subject of aerodynamics includes some challenging topics. I struggled with understanding how induced drag is caused by generating lift and why you have to use reverse control on the backside of the power curve. Getting my head around these concepts required me to pour over several books, binge on YouTube videos, and post questions on discussion forums. Of course, asking my flight instructor to demonstrate these concepts helped also. Reading, writing, talking about and feeling the forces of lift and drag helped me understand difficult concepts.

CHECK FOR UNDERSTANDING. One of the most challenging tasks I had to do was communicate on the radio with the air traffic controllers (ATC). Although the words they use are English, it sounded like a foreign language. My flight instructor initially handled the radio while I got up to speed on phraseology. After a few lessons, I felt confident to initiate communications with the tower, but I often fumbled the readback. Readback is the aviation communication protocol requiring pilots to repeat back critical instructions

from ATC. Readback is a check for understanding and a cause of anxiety for many student pilots, including myself. I remember now what it’s like being called out in class to answer a question from the teacher. I’m sure there are times when my physics students have no idea what I’m saying. Some students may have difficulty paying attention. Some students are reluctant to ask for clarification. And some students may think they understand, but they don’t.

How can I check for understanding without calling students out?

TEACH SKILLS. I learned a lot about coordinated and uncoordinated flight. Most of the time, you want coordinated flight, which means that the tail of the airplane is following in line with the nose. Then, there are times when you want to be uncoordinated, like side-slip landing in a crosswind. Forcing the airplane to be uncoordinated is like holding a medicine ball out in your right hand while balancing on the left foot, or rubbing your tummy while patting your head. My instructor says that side slip landing requires muscle memory that you learn through repetition. Crosswind landing aside, repetitious skill-building exercises can be boring. Physics students start complaining about boring, repetitive tasks when they are required to master mathematical operations involving scientific notation and significant figures.

How do I address students complaints about boring, repetitive exercises?

DEBRIEF. My instructor always made time at the end of the lesson to review the learning objectives. He checked-off the objectives I completed, and we talked about what I still needed to work on. The lesson debriefing was a reckoning of my achievement. Some days I left with a sense of accomplishment, and some days, I left disappointed. Regardless of the outcome, the debriefing provided closure.

Which lesson closure activities are useful in the physics classroom? Learning is hard, and students struggle. I’d forgotten that. Applying physics to understand the theory of flight was easy for me, but actually flying the airplane was much more difficult. My struggles with learning to fly this summer will benefit my teaching for a long time to come. And as far as those nagging questions that remain, I welcome your advice. I want to thank my ground instructors at USAeroFlight, Cecil Tune and Dave Pelicano, for taking me under their wings. I especially want to thank my flight instructor, Josh Hamby, for keeping us safe. Josh helped me locate traffic, steered me away from developing weather, and added a little extra pressure on the controls when I needed it. Author: Douglas (Doug) Adomatis teaches physics and aviation at Greenville Technical Charter High School in Greenville, South Carolina.



Night Sky BY MATT FERRARI I get to see a lot of the world in my “day” job. Oddly enough, most of the places look the same after a while. I see two rows of blue lights and if I keep the plane in the blackness between them they will lead me to two rows of white lights. I know that if I keep the plane in the blackness between the two rows of white lights and if I add enough power and gain enough speed that eventually I’ll feel the last clunk of the runway being left behind as we climb into the blackness. I do a lot of night flying…. On this night the winds were out of the north at 12 knots with 3 miles visibility in light drizzle and mist. The first layer of clouds was at 300 feet with a broken layer at 500 feet and overcast at 1,100 feet. On takeoff, it was just an instant of watching the last of the white lights fall away from the nose when I transitioned inside and onto the gages, or more accurately, eyes onto the “glass”. In about as much time as it took for you to read those words we had slipped into the inky murk of the low hanging clouds. Other than the thump of the landing gear retracting into the wheel wells and the slight rumble felt with the retracting of the flaps, there was almost no sense of motion. The numbers on my altitude tape continued to get bigger, so that was good, the heading bug was where it was supposed to be, the attitude indicator showed blue on top and brown on the bottom, and the airspeed numbers got bigger and then settled where they belonged at our climb speed. All was right with the world because the instruments say it’s so, at least in my little world anyway. Once all was confirmed to be behaving properly, I peeked over the instrument panel and was greeted with two greyish white javelins from our landing lights spearing into the layers of broken clouds. I knew that if

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we kept climbing eventually I’d see the stars. And then like a fish jumping out of the lake, we popped out. The difference, though, is that the fish falls back down to the water, I fall up into the night sky! We’re leaving New York’s JFK airport headed to Europe, to the old Hahn Air Base just outside of Frankfurt, Germany. Tonight’s flight will be taking us 3,359 nautical miles across mostly water and is planned for six hours and twenty three minutes, takeoff to touchdown. Looking at the flight plan I convert the fuel burn that is listed in kilos, first to pounds and then to gallons. It’s my own check as to the madness in the world when I then convert the gallons figure into how much flying I could do in my Piper Cherokee back home. We’ll burn just over 22,500 gallons of jet fuel tonight, converting that to avgas, that’s enough to fly well over two thousand hours in the Cherokee, even if I push it hard, and if I still had the Champ…… well, that’s an awful lot of flying! Taxiing a Boeing 747 at a big, busy airport is probably the greatest challenge of the night. There’s a lot of airplanes moving around, rapid fire instructions from the controllers and many different taxiways with a lot of intersections that allow for plenty of opportunities to mess up. Eventually, we find our way and join the conga line, patiently inching ahead for our turn to takeoff. Finally, we depart runway 31L with an immediate left turn toward the Canarsie VOR. We’re handed off to departure control and crossing Canarsie, we turn left again and head outbound on the 176 degree

radial. We then receive vectors for the climb to keep us out of the arriving traffic flow. The airspace is very busy with JFK, LaGuardia, Newark and Teterboro all sharing the same neighborhood. We level at our initial altitude of 5,000 feet followed shortly with step climbs, being cleared higher just as we approach the next assigned level off. We continue southbound just long enough to begin to wonder when or if we’ll start heading toward Europe. We’re then handed off to New York Center, level at 17,000 feet we get a turn to the northeast with a heading to join our assigned route and we climb to our initial cruise altitude of FL330. We’re handed off to Boston Center and continue northeast bound up the coast of the U.S. We cross into Canada’s airspace splitting New Brunswick and Nova Scotia then over Gander on the Island of Newfoundland. We do one last navigation system check to make sure the airplane is where it thinks it is and coast out of Newfoundland joining our assigned route for the ocean crossing. “Feet wet” to “feet dry” is about three hours or so. We’re filed for one of the North Atlantic Tracks, NAT track Tango tonight. This routing will take us across the North Atlantic, passing various points in space identified only with Lat/Long coordinates, finding land again over Ireland. Our assigned altitude for tonight’s crossing is FL340 and we begin our climb to be level before our first fix on the NAT track. As we start the crossing the weather offered generally smooth air with an occasional light bump. Not much moon tonight but the sky above is clear with almost unlimited visibility. Dancing in the heavens are brilliant stars and constellations to keep us company as we make our way. I’m always amazed with what goes on in the night sky. It’s funny, Orion seems to follow me wherever I go. Tonight I can see Betelgeuse and Rigel and the stars Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka shining brightly on his belt. Way up to the north I can see Cassiopeia. I start humming that old Bobby Vee tune, “The Night Has a Thousand Eyes.” In the song, the chorus trails off with “So remember when you tell those little white lies that the night has a thousand eyes.” How true! The sky is the most honest place I know of on this earth. There are a just few basic rules to the sky and if you follow them the sky rewards you with good flying and a long

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wonder-filled life. Violate those rules and you’re in for much wailing and gnashing of teeth. You can’t fool the sky, and although it will challenge you from time to time, the sky doesn’t lie. For instance, if there is a thunderstorm ahead it is considered best practice to fly around it, giving it a wide berth, wishing it well and letting it be on its way as you pass by. However, there is nothing to say that you couldn’t play the matador and wave your aeronautical cape at it, taunting it. You may even decide to make like an NFL running back, tuck the ball in close, lower your head and charge straight up the middle. This technique is generally frowned upon though, and you could find yourself transitioning from an airplane pilot into an experimental lawn dart driver in rather quick fashion. If I happen to find a supercell thunder-boomer staring me down, my technique is to take what I see through the front window and, depending upon which way the wind is blowing, put it in one of the side windows and keep it there until I’m well on the other side. Then, with a tip of my hat, I bid the storm farewell, and I continue on my way. Wimpy? Maybe. But, I have danced with many thunderstorms and I am still very much alive! Tonight, with no present threat of storms, I assume my late night cruising position, lights down low in the cockpit, forearm resting on top of the instrument panel, chin resting on forearm, face as close to the windshield as I can get without leaving a smudge. I’m struck with an intimidating thought, the only thing between my forehead and a 470 mile per hour -54C breeze is about one and a half inches of glass. I slide my chin back just a little and whisper a word of thanks to the Boeing engineer who designed the windshield, hoping he had a good math day while he was doing his figuring. Mind drifting back to the sky, every once in a while, a shooting star. I look to the heavens and thank the maker of all this, I can’t explain it, it is a mystery to me, and in awesome wonder I sit back and enjoy its magnificent beauty, I am very thankful! As we cross 30 degrees west longitude, which is generally considered the middle of nowhere, I think of Charles Lindbergh and how he found himself out over this same ocean, flying much lower, battling all the North Atlantic had to throw at him, on one engine, and all alone. With that thought, I excuse myself from the flight deck, walk back to the galley, have a stretch and fix myself a nice cup of hot coffee. Heading back to the cockpit I pass the lav, again my thoughts are with Charles Lindbergh, thirty three and a half hours without a galley for coffee or a bathroom, that poor guy! “God

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bless progress” I say to myself and I silently thank all those who have gone before me, advancing aviation to the point where I find myself tonight, nested in a reasonably comfortable - multi positioned -electronically operated - high back chair with adjustable arm rests inside a pressurized cabin environmentally controlled with heating and air conditioning that’s adjustable to my liking, a coffee pot, a bathroom, and four engines. Life is good! Coasting in over Ireland, we pass just north of Shannon and then pass a little south of Dublin. We cross England, flying over London and then across the English Channel. Crossing the channel, my thoughts move to the many WWII 8th Air Force bomber crews who crossed here, many never to return. I can almost feel the energy in the air, the British night raids followed by the U.S. day raids, airplanes everywhere, fighters twisting, turning, shooting and some falling. Their cargo, bombs to stop oppression and to keep the world free. My cargo tonight is military supplies for a new generation of warriors. Warriors who find themselves trying to solve the same problems, just in a different geographical location. It always seems that the burden is laid on our military’s back, when the politicians fail. My hope is that some of what I’m carrying tonight will bring comfort to those protecting us in a land far from home. I think of my wife and our daughters and know there are a lot of mothers and fathers thinking of their sons and daughters just now too. I pray for their safety and look forward to the day when my plane is full of troops returning home. We’ll have a crew change in Germany, where I’ll get my rest and then head down range tomorrow. But for now, we begin our descent over Brussels, into the dawn of a new day.


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by Jill Meyers





The Aspen/Pitkin County Airport, also known as Sardy Field, is one of the most challenging airports in the U.S. to fly in and out of for reasons of geography. It sits at 7,820 feet of elevation and is closely surrounded by mountains. A visit to the airport’s listing on the Airnav website provides the following warnings in the Additional Remarks section: “Airport located in high mountain valley with mountainous terrain from 12,500 – 14,000 feet MSL in near proximity to airport. Terrain will not allow for normal traffic patterns. High rates of descent may be required due to terrain and local procedures. All adverse weather situations magnified in the mountains. Operations during periods of reduced visibility discouraged for pilots unfamiliar with area.” Quite the challenge, even for experienced pilots. But this type of airport can be the perfect place for students to learn to fly. If you can fly in and out of Aspen, you can probably handle almost any airport! And this is the exact place where every student at the Aspen Public High School will get the opportunity to experience their first flight. The Aspen Flight Academy, located at Sardy Field, is a non-profit flight training school that provides youth and adults with classroom and flight training to obtain Private, Instrument and Commercial flight ratings. They partnered with the Aspen School District and recently

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launched a youth aviation education program which is the first of its kind in the nation.

The “Every Student Flies” program provides a free dual instruction flight lesson to every student at the Aspen Public High School, with enrollment this semester being just over 550 students. Each student will be offered a free flight lesson with an FAA Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) in a Diamond DA40 aircraft. After the flight, students will be given a private tour of the airport’s Air Traffic Control tower, along with tours of local aviation companies on the airfield. A takeaway package will be provided to each student containing information on colleges, universities and technical schools with aviation programs, along with information on career opportunities in all fields of aviation including piloting, air traffic control, aircraft maintenance, airport management, and more. This new program was created by Captain Michael Pearce, a Boeing 777 international pilot for American Airlines and President of the Aspen Flight Academy’s

Board of Directors. “We are excited to launch this one-of-a-kind program to offer every Aspen High School student the chance to experience flight and learn about careers in aviation,” said Captain Pearce. The program is managed by Ms. Kate Short, Director of Aviation for the Aspen School District. Ms. Short is a K-12 educator and pilot, holding ratings through multi-engine instrument. “This program is unique in that we are able to offer these experiences to public high school students at no cost to their families,” said Ms. Short. In addition to leading the program and taking many of the students on their flights (there are two other CFIs supporting the program), Ms. Short also teaches four aviation courses at the high school: Aviation Exploration (the AOPA curriculum for 9th graders), Private Pilot Ground School, Introduction to Instrument, and Mountain Flying. The school also has a Redbird FMX simulator available to the students for additional training, especially during inclement weather, along with seven desktop Redbird Jay simulators. The aviation community has been extremely supportive of this program, with several organizations providing donations to the students to support their entry into aviation careers. The Experimental Aircraft Association

(EAA) is providing each student a “Young Eagles Kit”, which contains many items including a logbook, EAA student membership, free access to Sporty’s “Learn to Fly” course, one written test reimbursement, and one additional free flight lesson. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) also donated student memberships. Women in Aviation International (WAI) is giving every student a copy of the Aviation for Women magazine, and Ms. Short plans to start a WAI Aspen chapter later this year, which will provide educational, networking and mentorship opportunities to the female students. The program’s leaders hope that some of the students will love flying so much that they will enroll in the flight training program at the Aspen Flight Academy to pursue a Private Pilot Certificate. In order for students to have the highest quality experience for their introductory and subsequent flights, the Diamond Aircraft Company agreed to a long-term purchase agreement to provide two DA40-NG model aircraft to the Aspen Flight Academy every year for the next 10 years. This will ensure the high school students are flying the newest aircraft with the latest technology onboard.



Two other nonprofit organizations in the Roaring Fork Valley of Aspen provided significant support to this program through financial contributions - the Aspen Education Foundation and The BettyFlies Foundation. The Aspen Education Foundation champions public education, raising money to fund programs and positions of distinction in the community. Their vision is that every child in Aspen has access to an extraordinary public education, believing that all students deserve “rigorous academics and a multitude of beyond classroom educational experiences that inspire curiosity and a love of learning.” The BettyFlies Foundation funds aviation-related programs that encourage personal development and create Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education opportunities for young people, inspiring and empowering our next generations. It is also dedicated to sustaining the legacy of female aviation hero Betty Haas Pfister. Betty’s daughter, Suzanne Pfister, Founder and President of the BettyFlies Foundation, believes

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the Every Student Flies program could make a real difference in the lives of young people.

“ Betty was a trailblazer in the true sense of the word,” said Ms. Pfister. “She was a flight enthusiast who thought ‘outside the box’ in all her endeavors.” The ultimate goal of the “Every Student Flies” program is to introduce students to the world of aviation, hoping to light a spark in some to ignite their futures. The program’s leaders also hope that other public high schools across the country will be excited about this program and look into doing something similar in their communities. Jill Meyers, Owner of Meyers AeroConsulting, is an aviation management consultant and professional public speaker. She managed the media and public relations effort for the launch of the Every Student Flies program.

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My Aviation Mentor Retires His Wings by Natalie Kelley I’M DEVASTATED. MY AVIATION MENTOR RETIRES HIS WINGS It’s been no secret that my uncle has played a huge role in my love of aviation. After over 50 years of flying, my uncle Robert has officially declared the end of his flying “career.” Flying hasn’t been his career but it’s been his passion and hobby since he was in his twenties. He is 78. He’s had several friends perish in flying accidents over the years and he has recently come to realize his own aging and mortality. He has stated that he needs to quit flying before it’s too late, before he makes a deadly mistake. Many older pilots error by continuing flight when their decision-making skills and reflexes have slowed to an unsafe level. It’s a very difficult crossroads.

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He and I have had lengthy conversations lately about his aviation life and family. It is a foreign, sad departure. He has no desire to piddle around flying in a Cessna 172. His love is with the warbird community and has always been driven by his love of formation flying and aerobatics. Anything other than that is of no interest to him. His airplane is officially for sale. He’s owned an airplane of some make and model for over 40 years. His hangar is full of tools, oil barrels, and rare airplane parts that he’s collected over his lifetime. To say this is sad for me as well, is an understatement. After our most recent and probably our last flight together, I decided to write about him, his journey, our relationship, and our shared love of aviation.

HOW IT BEGAN My uncle and mother grew up very poor in rural middle Tennessee. They were from a family of nine children. Their father was a no-good, abusive, alcoholic, who was often incarcerated. Their mother died suddenly of a heart attack when she was in her 30’s. My mother was four. Robert was ten. They were in and out of family homes and orphanages. Alcohol wreaked havoc on their lives and wound up being responsible for several deaths in their family. Robert joined the Army at age 17. He served time in Okinawa. He was a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne. Maybe this is where my adrenaline junkie side comes from?? While he was in the Army, he earned his GED. After serving his time, he used the G.I. Bill to fund his flight training. Shortly after earning his private pilots license, Robert took my father, who had recently joined the Navy, on a general aviation flight in a rental airplane from Tennessee to northern Ohio. My dad’s recollection of

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the journey told the story of a naive passenger and bold, fresh pilot. Robert was not instrument rated at the time and they found themselves in deteriorating weather. Apparently, Robert requested a Special VFR clearance as they were nearing their destination to the shock of the controller, who said they were probably well below Special VFR operations minimums. They landed quite shaken and both took commercial flights home, leaving the rental aircraft there. My dad recalled with a laugh how bold, young and foolish they were. They vowed to never get into that position again. From the very beginning of Robert’s passion for flight, he had an interest in aerobatics. Robert is a very smart, driven individual. He was determined to live a life better than his father did. Who really knows what makes one person successful over another?? Or more driven? There are many who cannot overcome obstacles, their past, or their upbringing. Robert is not a victim. He taught himself almost everything. He’s an avid reader and soaks up information. His

own aerobatic skills were self-taught. He read book after book on performing various maneuvers and then got in his plane and tested them! I can’t imagine trusting myself and doing that! To this day, he doesn’t have cable television, as he prefers to read. He’s an encyclopedia of knowledge, although not always politically correct…I have to occasionally chastise him for being too outspoken or opinionated. However, he’s now at the age where he really doesn’t give a damn. I just roll my eyes and say “Oh, Lordy! Did you really just say that out loud?!?”

OUR CONNECTION It’s hard to say why some people or family members connect. He is stubborn as a mule (as am I) and strong as an ox. He is not easily deterred. These are similarities we share. However, when two people are very similar, there is often friction, as well. My father was in the Navy. After some time moving from base to base, my mother decided to settle my sister and I in the small town where she spent much of her life, Charlotte, Tennessee. Population: 2,000. Robert, and several of my mother’s siblings lived in the area. Robert was more involved in my life than other extended family members. I’m not exactly sure why. Maybe because he felt he needed to fill in because my father was often gone. He had two sons of his own but he had interest in me and we got along quite well. He was my softball coach for many seasons. When he wasn’t my coach, he traveled to watch me play. He came to watch my basketball games and attended the football games, when I was cheerleading. It was during these years that he and I began our flying together. I loved it from the very first time! His sons didn’t seem too interested in it, which was

probably disappointing. I was always happy to be his companion. We would fly over the local landscape. He would send me laughing and squealing with delight while he practiced his aerial routines. He would run out of fuel before I’d ever get tired of the loops and rolls. He often performed in airshows with his buddies and developed a great love and skill in formation flying. The first airplane we flew in together was a Chipmunk. He had that plane for years. He later became a Yak owner and aficionado. He developed a name for himself with his capability of working on Yaks. He’s had his share of forced landings while ferrying several Yaks; five, to be exact. He could certainly tell a story about each of his flights and forced landings! Thankfully, none of them kept him out of the air for long. Our families vacationed together often. He and my dad got along very well and had similar interests. Unfortunately, my parents eventually divorced and I went off to college. Our time together became less and less. Nevertheless, when I’d come back to town, he always made sure there was money in my pocket. Several times he would cover unexpected and embarrassing expenses from traffic violations or insurance deductibles from careless fender-benders. Come to think of it, I probably owe him a few thousand dollars due to recklessness and stupidity. Yikes. He still gave and gave unconditionally to me. My college graduation gift from him was a skydiving experience. We are both thrill-seekers, obviously. Once I had mentioned that skydiving was on my list of “things to do,” he arranged such an outing. Of course he did. It was one of my top ten life experiences! My oldest son has expressed a desire to jump and doing that with him would be incredible. It’s also a desire of



mine to someday join my new friend, Kat Healey, on the aerial demonstration team as a paratrooper to reenact historical jumps at air shows (I hope I have a long life because my list never ends!!!).

FAMILY RIFT COMES TO A HEAD AT MY WEDDING RECEPTION There was a period when he and I weren’t speaking. It’s almost hard to fathom now but we had a confrontation. His first wife died of cancer. She was a huge part of my life for many years. When she became ill and eventually passed after years of battling cancer, we found ourselves in new territory. Without going into huge detail, we were dealing with unresolved issues and it came to a head. We didn’t speak for months until he asked for forgiveness. This took place, center stage, microphone in hand, during my wedding reception. My family and friends stared silently at each of us. You could have heard a pin drop. That’s what I remember most about my wedding reception. It was a difficult time and it took several more weeks and conversations to mend our relationship. Maybe it takes going through such ups and downs to form a deep bond? As life continued, he became my confidante and cheerleader once again. He knew becoming a pilot was something important to me. After many years and three children later, he continued to prod and encourage me to go after that dream. I’d like to believe it was aviation that healed our rift once and for all. Aviation has actually allowed us a much deeper, honest bond. He has often included me in air



show trips and introduced me to his air show family. He has been to Sun ’n Fun for 30 years straight except for one year when one of his sons was born! He taught me many things about aviation before I even began flying. We would walk around the airshows and he would feed me information on certain airplanes and educate me on their ties with history. Slowly but surely, my desire grew to a level where I was confident and ready to learn to fly myself. My personal life suffered greatly during this time. He heard it all. We would sit in his truck and I would pour my heart out. He’d listen and never judge. He’s seen it all. This was a period of great growth for me but also heartache, confusion, and struggles. He listened and continued to love me and support me. Many times, after pouring my heart out, we would talk airplanes and maintenance. He would advise me on career paths or opportunities and continued to expose me to his aviation friends and family. Even when it became more and more obvious that getting around was becoming more challenging, he would walk from end to end of Sun ’n Fun or Oshkosh with me until I had my fill. He’s hard of hearing (at selective times). That’s probably from years of flying without the proper ear protection. He’s not afraid to work and he’ll put me to work as well (with my not-so-subtle moaning and groaning), especially if it saves him a few dollars. It’s hard to imagine that he won’t be meeting me at airshows anymore. Hopefully, I’ll do him proud by continuing the Langford aviation legacy.

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Airbus Flying Challenge Program Helps High For the 3rd consecutive year, Wichita, Kansas-area high school students have successfully built a Van’s RV-12 experimental light sport aircraft as part of an educational program sponsored by the Airbus Foundation. The aircraft has been displayed as part of the Airbus exhibit at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The program, the Airbus Flying Challenge, is one of the Airbus Foundation’s flagship youth development efforts. Since 2011, the program has been inspiring at-risk youths to continue their education, find their professional vocation and realize their dreams through mentorship with Airbus employees and hands-on experience with aircraft. The Airbus Foundation provides funding for the Flying Challenge program through the educational non-profit Tango Flight, of Georgetown, Texas. Students built the aircraft under the supervision of volunteer mentors from Airbus Americas’ Engineering Center in Wichita and the Wichita State University Campus of Applied Sciences and Technology (WSU Tech). Students that were involved in the program for the 2018-2019 school-year completed a second RV-12 to raise funds for the 2019-2020 program.

“Airbus believes in investing in the future of aviation and aerospace” said Jeff Knittel Chairman of Airbus Americas. “We are proud to play a role in attracting talent by stimulating the interest of young people in flying and undertaking aerospace careers in this exciting and rewarding industry.” “The Airbus Flying Challenge is a global project. We’ve launched similar educational efforts in conjunction with the Airbus commercial aircraft plants in Mobile, Alabama and in Mirabel, Quebec, Canada as well as the Airbus Aerial subsidiary in Atlanta.” The Airbus Foundation launched the Flying Challenge program in Wichita in 2017 with a grant to Tango Flight, which contracts with the Maize (a suburb of Wichita) School District. WSU Tech provides a project leader to oversee the program and direct the students’ work, while 35 mentors from the Airbus facility in Wichita donated their time over the last year to work with the students, spending over 1,400 hours on the program. Tango Flight has retained the aircraft on display in Oshkosh (N266TF) for the Wichita program. It is based in nearby Benton, Kansas, for use by mentors and students as a learning and motivational tool.

The Airbus Foundation Flying Challenge for North America has expanded from the Wichita effort to now include: Mobile, Alabama (pictured); Atlanta, Georgia; Mexico City and Sao Paulo; Brazil and Mirabel, Canada

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School Students Build Experimental Aircraft The Flying Challenge program has been operating in Brazil since 2018 and in Mexico since 2019. With more than 60 employee-volunteers from sites in Mexico City and Itajuba, Brazil, the STEM-based mentoring program has already reached 200 primary school students in those countries. The Flying Challenge has involved more than 5,000 students worldwide and over 2,000 Airbus employee-volunteers. The program is now operating at 18 locations in eight countries.

To learn more about the Airbus Flying Challenge and other youth development initiatives at Airbus, go to: https://www.airbus.com/company/airbus-foundation/ youth-development-initiatives/americas.html

MORE ABOUT AIRBUS Airbus is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2018 it generated revenues of $83 billion and employed a workforce of around 134,000. Airbus offers the most comprehensive range of passenger airliners. Airbus is also a leader providing tanker, combat, transport and mission aircraft, as well as one of the world’s leading space companies. In helicopters, Airbus provides the most efficient civil and military rotorcraft solutions worldwide.

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In 1940, ASA began its journey into flight training and aviation education. We can’t wait to see what the next 80 years bring!

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