Making the connection

June 26, 2009 by Craig Fuller

If you’ve been following our General Aviation Serves America campaign, you’ve heard me talk about GA’s remarkable power to connect people despite distances, and sometimes even across time. Well just this week, I experienced those connections first hand, thanks to a serendipitous fuel stop.


Returning to AOPA’s Frederick, Md., headquarters after a series of meetings in Arizona, I decided to make a stop for food and fuel in Ponca City, Okla. The service at Greenwood’s Oklahoma Jet was friendly and efficient. And when the alert staff recognized the 4GA N-number of AOPA’s jet, they asked if Ponca City Mayor Homer Nicholson—an active AOPA member—could stop by and say hello.


From left, Mayor Homer Nicholson, reporter Louise Abercrombie, AOPA President Craig Fuller, and Chuck Greenwood of Greenwood's Oklahoma Jet.
From left, Mayor Homer Nicholson, reporter Louise Abercrombie, myself, and Chuck Greenwood of Greenwood’s Oklahoma Jet

Naturally I was delighted to meet both Mayor Nicholson and reporter Louise Abercrombie of the Ponca City News, who wanted to know why I had chosen Ponca City as a stop.


The answer was twofold. First, it offered a GA airport with fuel and great food right along my route. Second, it was my mother’s hometown, and the place my aunt and uncle spent most of their lives.


But the connection, it turned out, went further. I soon learned that Mayor Nicholson knew my family and was familiar with my uncle’s industrial welding business. Abercrombie had been working at the local newspaper when I visited Ponca City with my parents as a young boy in the 1960s. 


What began as a convenient fuel stop in a familiar locale from my distant past turned into a wonderful opportunity to connect not only with that past, but also with the wonderful people who make up that community today. You can’t do that on the airlines!



  • G. Scott Fagan

    This communication is a suggestion concerning the most excellent AOPA Flight Training magazine. I do and will continue to retain each magazine. I view each issue as a research resource and refer back to them when necessary. As I was reading for the fourth time the article “Summer’s Challenge” by Jack Williams in the July 2009 issue the obvious occured to me that I am gleaning potentially life and death information. A previous article dealing with lift left me lacking. Why? The application was obscured by the theory. I, and perhaps others, could benefit from a mechanism that would highlight and isolate the most important points. One suggestion might be to highlight the main points in bold type. Another might be to have a box at the end of the article containing the main points. A bonus benefit would be to the writers who would not deviate from their initial objective to impart valuable information to the reader. The most important information can become easily lost in the text. To be entertained is great,. To be informed is absolutely essential! I don’t want to miss a single thing!

    Most appreciatively,

    G. Scott Fagan

  • Myron Mitchell

    How cool is that?

  • Homer Nicholson

    Thanks for the very nice article and it was great to meet Craig Fuller. My question is why is Ponca City Oklahoma an UNLIKELY airport for Craig or any pilot to visit. The airspace is uncongested, a 7201′ runway with all of the modern landing and navigation systems, a great FBO, Oklahoma Jet, a great well known mexican restaurant Enrique’s by the parking ramp and great friendly people. Everyone that visits Ponca City has a great experience and we look forward to hosting everyone that visits Ponca City, Oklahoma.

    Homer Nicholson
    Ponca City, OK

  • Dave Wilson

    Thsnk you Mr. Nicholson for the information concerning the Ponca City Airport and Oklahoma Jet. I will make it a priority to stop at Ponca City during my next trip to Oklahoma. Good mexican food is favorite of mine.

  • Marty Coddington

    For the life of me I could not understand why a fuel stop in Ponca City would be “unlikely” or “serendipitous”. I have stopped there for fuel and to empty the human bladders. It never occurred to me that I might be doing something unusual. To the contrary, we have always been treated professionally, promptly, and were provided with everything we asked for.

    I agree with Mayor Nicholson.