National Wind Turbine Map: A new Pilot Resource

As one of the fastest growing forms of renewable energy, wind turbines are sprouting up all over the country.  On a recent airline flight across the country, I was blown away to see areas in northern Texas with rows of wind-turbines that went on for miles—some of which included well over of a hundred turbines. Now I know why they call them wind farms!  This technology is increasingly popular in rural Alaska, where the cost of fuel to generate electricity is through the roof expensive.  As with all good things, they come with potential impacts.  As pilots, wind turbines provide several challenges: initially as obstructions we have to avoid during flight.  If located too close to airports, they interfere with instrument approaches resulting in higher minimums and reduced access.  Finally, when the wind  blows they represent a source of turbulence, which we still have much to learn about (more on that later).

Interface to the Interactive Wind Farm Map, starts with an overview of where towers are found around the country.

Interface to the Interactive Wind Farm Map, starts with an overview of where towers are found around the country.

Locating individual wind turbines
Recently the US Geological Survey has given us a new tool to locate wind turbines, on a nation-wide basis.  A new interactive mapping application, provides access to a database that not only shows us where wind turbines are found, but records their height, blade length, and other information on a tower-by-tower basis. Prior to this, while some states captured the locations of individual wind turbines, there was no uniform database that provided this information across the country.  Starting with the FAA’s Digital Obstruction File (through July 22, 2013), a USGS team led by Dr. Jay Diffendorfer located over 47,000 turbine sites, verifying individual tower locations with high-resolution satellite imagery. This data base gives us a much better way to find individual tower locations, with a location accuracy estimated to be within 10 meters.

While fewer in number, wind turbines are sprouting up across Alaska.

While still few in number, wind turbines are sprouting up across Alaska.

A row of wind turbines just outside Unalalkeet, on the west coast of Alaska. According to the USGS interactive map, they have a total height of 156 ft. tall

A row of wind turbines just outside Unalalkeet, on the west coast of Alaska. According to the USGS interactive map, they have a total height of 156 ft. tall

Understanding impacts
This database is designed to support research into environmental effects on both critters that fly, and wildlife habitat.  But these data may also be useful in the future to project the impact of down-wind effects on general aviation airports, which is still an evolving research topic.  A recent study at the University of Kansas has shown that the turbulence from a wind turbine extends further as wind speed increases, up to 3 miles in some cases.  This and the potential increase in cross winds could be a significant impact for small aircraft at GA airports.  Hopefully, more work will be done to quantify these conditions, leading to improvements in the FAA’s obstruction review process, which today only takes into account the height of an obstruction above ground when air space reviews are conducted.

Provide feedback
All maps are only as current as the date used to make them.  This data set incorporated information from FAA’s obstruction file as of last July.  And if you come across wind turbines that aren’t in the database, please capture what information you can and send an email with the location to

Thanks to this effort, we have a better way to learn where wind turbines are located in the areas where we fly!

I had a dream!

A lot of people (I would even venture to say “most people”) have dreams… some reachable, some unreachable. I could tell you that my ultimate dream would be to fly to the moon but, unfortunately, that is not a realistic dream for more reasons than one. Instead, I rather think of dreams as big goals and desires – things that you can achieve if you work hard at it, stay on task, and persevere.

Some people dream of their wedding, owning a big house and a nice car, or maybe buying a boat. Others dream of what they want to be or do. As a kid, I always remember thinking of one dream… to fly one day. It took all of those things that I mentioned earlier and more but, boy, was it worth it!

General aviation flying is something special that I wish more people could experience. The Oxford Dictionary defines “takeoff” as “the action of becoming airborne.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it as “the moment when an airplane, helicopter, etc., leaves the ground and begins to fly.” Those are very factual and physics-based definitions. There is so much more to it… taking off (especially during the first solo) is something magical; it’s a feeling of enjoyment, adventure, freedom, power, empowerment, majesty, and departure from depressing world news among others.

Flying itself is also more than the physical part of it. It’s also about the wonderful people you meet, the events (fly-ins, airshow, air races, air routes…) you can participate in and attend, the destinations you visit, the 3D views you enjoy, the experiences you live and so forth. It brings some cool options and opportunities that you wouldn’t otherwise enjoy it.

On a day when we remember MLK’s dream of equality, today is a good day to review and celebrate our own dreams. And, for me, today is a good day to celebrate the achievement of my dream with its main enablers – my parents. I could not think of a better way to celebrate it than to take them up flying for the weekend so I could share my dream and passion with them.

So… I had a dream that one day I would fly and it feels amazing to have achieved it. Now I’m working on my next dream because I believe in bettering yourself… looking further and challenging yourself within your limits and reach.

What’s your dream? Whatever it is, I encourage you to keep going through the fun times and the hard times. I especially encourage those of you who wish to fly and join the PIC ranks.

Listing of Aviation Programs at Middle and High Schools

Interested in a career in aviation? Your kid is the one who is interested? Your grandkid, friend, or neighbor is interested but don’t know where to start? Looking for a middle or high school to get her/him started? Live in the Central Southwest Region (NM, TX, LA, OK, AR, KS, MO, NE, IA)? Well, you came to the right place.

AOPA’s Flight Training magazine publishes an annual College Aviation Directory with a list of colleges and universities with aviation programs. Here is next year’s (2014′s): Flight Training’s College Aviation Directory is the largest, most comprehensive database available anywhere.

You can also search the interactive College Aviation Directory by state and type of program (pilot training, maintenance, ATC… and associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s) here:

By the time a teenager gets to college, he/she usually knows what he/she wants to do as a career and the path to follow. Therefore, I believe it is far more important to attract students to aviation from a younger age. Realizing that a similar listing of schools does not exist for programs below college level, I have started to compile a listing of pre-college aviation programs at schools in the AOPA Central Southwest Region.

I have been wanting to compile this list for quite some time. I am a graduate of Sterling H.S.’s aviation program in Houston, TX. I think I mentioned this in my “10 year flying anniversary” blog last year. I’ve wanted to be a pilot since I was a toddler. Therefore, during my junior year in High School, in preparation for college, I started researching how I could start flying and what it would take since no one around me knew anything about it or knew how to help me. Google and the AOPA website were my best friends. They were highly used and abused :) However, one day, I ended up in Houston Independent School District’s (HISD) website because my sister was looking for a school with an arts program she had heard about (what we now know as the High School for the Performing and Visual arts or HSPVA, which she attended) and, under the list of “vanguard” or “magnet” programs, I saw “aviation.” Uh huh, magic word! I was very lucky to find it and, after having graduated from the program years ago, I still find it amusing that most pilots or people in aviation in the Houston area have not even heard about it.

Anyway, that’s my long story for wanting to create this list. I want to make it a little easier for kids and parents to find schools with aviation programs in their areas, especially for those with no ties to aviation. Hope it is helpful.

Listing of Pre-College Aviation Programs

This list might not be inclusive of all such programs so, if you know of any missing, or if you have more information about any of the programs currently listed, please e-mail me ( or reply to this blog.

Aviation History at Glenwood Cemetery

Today was a grey and cold day in Houston so my husband Jared and I decided it would be nice to visit the Glenwood and Washington Cementeries and visit the graves of some famous people, especially those with ties to aviation.

The first grave we were most excited about was Howard Hughes, Jr’s. I know all of you know who Mr. Hughes was but here is a brief bio from the cemetery’s website as a refresher:

Hughes, Jr., Howard R. (1905-1976)
Billionaire and man of legendary accomplishments in business, aviation and film making. He assumed control of the Hughes Tool Company at the age of 19, following his father’s death. In the late 1920s he moved to Hollywood. His best-remembered films are the epic Hell’s Angels (1930) and The Outlaw (1941). During WWII and the decade that followed, he pursued his fascination with aviation, forming Hughes Aviation and receiving government contracts for development and manufacture of aircraft (including the wooden flying boat dubbed “The Spruce Goose”). In 1956 he acquired TWA and pushed it into the jet age. By the late 1960s, he was becoming increasingly reclusive, eventually running his business empire from a penthouse atop the Dessert Inn in Las Vegas. He died on a flight from Acapulco to Houston.”

Most non-aviation enthusiasts know about Howard from the 2004 movie “The Aviator,” played by Leonardo DiCaprio (

According to the cemetery’s website, the Howard Hughes family plot is one of the most frequently visited sites at Glenwood. I’m very happy to hear that; I’m happy to hear that some people care about aviation history. Even though his eccentric behavior and reclusive lifestyle became very apparent later in life, caused in part by a worsening obsessive–compulsive disorder and chronic pain, Mr. Hughes should be remembered by his aviation entrepreneurship as well as his piloting and engineering skills.

Grave of the Hughes Family

Grave of the Hughes Family

Grave of Howard Hughes, Jr and his two parents

Grave of Howard Hughes, Jr and his two parents

We were also interested in seeing William P. Hobby’s grave. He was Governor of Texas for a few years but, most importantly (for us, anyway), Houston’s second commercial airport (KHOU – William P. Hobby Airport) is named after him. I may be wrong here, but it is my understanding that this is the timeline of the airport’s name over the years:

- W.T. Carter Field in 1927 when it was a private landing field in a 600-acre (240 ha) pasture

- When the City of Houston acquired it in 1937, they changed the name to Houston Municipal Airport

- In July, 1938, after setting a new speed record flying his Lockheed 14 Super Electra around the world, Howard Hughes visited Houston for a 3 day celebration. During a banquet at the Rice Hotel, the City announced that Houston Municipal Airport was to be renamed Howard Hughes Municipal Airport. A few months later (about 4 months), the City learned that the airport will be disqualified for Federal grant money if it is named after a living person and the name was changed back to Houston Municipal Airport. (source: 1940 Air Terminal)

- Renamed Houston International Airport in 1954

- And renamed to its current name (William P. Hobby Airport) in 1967

Grave of William P. Hobby and his two wives

Grave of William P. Hobby and his two wives

Grave of William P. Hobby

Grave of William P. Hobby

I am not exactly sure what William P. Hobby’s involvement with the airport was, but Howard Hughes was responsible for several improvements to the airport, including its first control tower in 1938, in addition to being the era’s most influential aviator and a user of the airfield. If any of you know what Mr. Hobby’s involvement with the airport was, I’d like to know; please e-mail me or post a reply to this blog. I do not want to ignore Mr. Hobby’s accomplishments; however, I think I would prefer the airport to be named after Howard Hughes once again. Mr. Hobby has a local school named after him (William P. Hobby Elementary School – Mr. Hughes only has a restaurant/bar named after him – Hughes Hangar ( - and, as a private enterprise, it could close and we could lose it. Hobby Airport is also the place where my husband and I met so it definetely has a special place in our hearts. =)

If you are interested in learning more about KHOU’s history, the 1940 Air Terminal Museum does a fabulous job of capturing it. I would suggest that you visit them sometime. It is pretty impressive. Here is their website:

For more information about the cemetery, visit their website at If you click on “About Glenwood,” you can learn more about the cemetery and the significant and important people buried there. By clicking on “Visiting,” you can find a map of the cemetery.

We will be back to take a guided walking tour when my husband recovers from his running injury. I’ll update this if we learn some more interesting information.

Social Media in Central Southwest Region

In addition to several “friendly airports,” there are also quite a few airports, museums, and organizations in the Central Southwest Region (NM, TX, LA, OK, AR, KS, MO, NE, and IA) that are active in social media. Click on the link below to see the list I have compiled to date but I welcome any additional ones I may have missed.

Twitter and Facebook Accounts in Central Southwest Region

If you have a Twitter account, you can quickly follow all the “listings or Twitter accounts” (sorry, I don’t know the appropriate Twitter nomenclature) in your state by going to the regional Twitter profile ( and clicking on “Lists.” Once you log in with your account information (if you are not logged in already), you will see a list for each of the state, titled “Aviation in New Mexico,” “Aviation in Texas,” and so forth. Rather than typing each one of the Twitter names from this blog, you can view them all very quickly on each of the lists and follow who you want.

Thanks to Jim Rivere from (and AOPA Airport Support Network Volunteer for St. John the Baptist Parish Airport (1L0)), we now also have a list of Facebook pages for airports and aviation businesses in Louisiana. I have also been able to find a couple in Iowa.

Friendly Airports in the Central Southwest Region

Looking for an airport to grab a $100 hamburger? Want to visit an aviation museum? How about camping by your airplane? Just simply want to visit an airport to watch airplanes take off and land? We may consider these “friendly airports” and I have started to compile a list of them within our Central Southwest Region (NM, TX, LA, OK, AR, KS, MO, NE, and IA).

List of friendly airports in the Central Southwest Region

Note: The information above is only as good as the sources provided. Please confirm before using.

You can always find more information for fly-in restaurant locations on “The $100 Hamburger” book and website:

For more on-airport camping or nearby camping facilities, you might find the American Air Campers Association helpful:

Additional feature destinations, weekend getaways, romantic getaways, and escapes can be found at:

I want to thank the state aviation offices in the nine states for their help identifying some of these airports. However, please send me any suggestions and/or items that should be added to this list… an airport close to you or one that you have visited that provides access for both the flying community and surrounding community by way of picnic tables, a viewing area, a seating area, a restaurant, a park, etc as a way to show to the community the value of the airport, the types of operations that go on, spark kids’ interest in aviation, and so on. The more robust the list is, the better.

Still need or want more reasons to fly and visit different community airports? Read to learn about incentive programs to encourage pilots to explore different airports around them while getting prizes.

Now go out and fly! Enjoy your community airports!!

Flying Vacation to the Florida Keys

Have you ever taken a long cross country (say, a two or more leg cross country trip)? Maybe to go to Oshkosh or on a business trip? What about taking a flying vacation? If you have not, I encourage you to. I’ll share a trip my husband and I just came back from. As I mentioned in at least one other blog entry, my husband and I enjoy including some form of general aviation in our vacations. It’s just “plane fun.” Sometimes it is by renting an airplane for a local flight around a city, others involve skydiving or taking a glider ride… but this time, we decided to take a complete “flying vacation.”

My husband Jared and I flew to the Florida Keys from our home base in Houston, Texas, and it was a great trip. We flew low and slow a total of 20.1 hours roundtrip in a C172N and we absolutely loved every minute of it. My husband is an airline pilot so he is certainly used to long cross-country trips but this was essentially his first one in a general aviation aircraft.

We really could not have made it to all the areas we visited if it wasn’t for general aviation aircraft and we did it at our own pace and schedule, stopping where we wanted to and when we wanted to, and the best of all… all in 3D and mostly with good weather. We visited beautiful parts of the country during our week off. Although the terrain was mostly flat given the states we visited (TX, LA, MS, AL, and FL), it was interesting to see the different types of agriculture, land, swamps, islands, rivers, sunsets (no, we did not fly early enough to see sunrises… we were on vacation after all…), water colors, sand colors, etc. not to mention the weather patterns, too. We also enjoyed spotting and identifying airports along the way.

The 172 we flew burned about 10 gallons an hour. With a 40 gallon tank, we calculated we were comfortable flying it a maximum of three hours a leg. That being said and given the winds aloft, our route there was EFD – PNS (our longest leg), PNS – LAL, and LAL – FD51. This alone accounted for 9.3 hours of flying.

We left Saturday, October 19, after I participated in Conroe, TX’s Challenge Air event, an event designed to build self-esteem and confidence in children and youth with special needs through the experience of flight. I really enjoyed my time with the kids at the event… it is just great to see the “before and after” taking the flight. Challenge Air was recently the recipient of one of AOPA’s Giving Back grants, too: Because we left Houston quite late in the afternoon, we decided to fly just one leg and spend the night in Pensacola, FL. By the way… Pensacola Aviation Center gives $0.25 fuel discounts to AOPA members. It felt great to be an AOPA member!

The next day, we flew the rest of the way to our destination airport by way of Lakeland, home of Sun ‘n fun, where were stopped for lunch at the on-site restaurant. The flight down from Lakeland was quite spectacular: over the Everglades and down the Keys. Our destination airport, FD51 – Summerland Key Cove, is a private airport between Marathon and Key West… the only airport in the world where airplanes are on one side of the house and boats are on the other. Pretty sweet, right? I loved that little (literally) airport! The runway is 2,550 ft long but only 26 ft wide. Making the numbers was rather important here! Also important was to watch for the balloon in R-2916.

FD51 – Summerland Key Cove Airport

FD51 – Summerland Key Cove Airport

Runway 30 at FD51 and the high altitude balloon in the distance

Runway 30 at FD51 and the high altitude balloon in the distance

A friend of ours let us use his beautiful house at the airport and the experience of flying into the house was phenomenal. One day… we’ll live on an airport community.

Friend’s house at FD51

Friend’s house at FD51

Here are a few pictures from our flights there:

Acadiana Regional Airport (ARA) in Louisiana with its runway and sealane

Acadiana Regional Airport (ARA) in Louisiana with its runway and sealane

Sunset over Mississippi

Sunset over Mississippi

Flying north of Destin

Flying north of Destin

The fairly new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport in Panama City, FL

The fairly new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport in Panama City, FL

And the old, now closed, Panama City airport

And the old, now closed, Panama City airport





Florida Keys

Florida Keys

The rest of the week, between our arrival and our departure, was your typical Florida vacation. My husband also took me to the Sugarloaf airport where they conduct skydiving operations and the Conch Flyer restaurant at the Key West International Airport (EYW) to watch airplanes. And, the day prior to our departure, we were walking around downtown Key West when we hear a fast moving airplane… we look up (what else would pilots do, right?) and it was no one else than Skip Stewart’s airplane! Alright! =) I contacted Skip via Facebook and he told us his ferry pilot Raymond Cabanas was just having a little fun. Awesome!

Conch Flyer restaurant at KEYW

Conch Flyer restaurant at KEYW

Aviation décor inside the Conch Flyer restaurant

Aviation décor inside the Conch Flyer restaurant

The only regret I have from our trip to the Keys was not flying a seaplane but the winds picked up tremendously towards the end of our stay.

Our route back was FD51 – MTH – BKV – DTW – LFT – EFD. That amounted to 10.8 flying hours. FD51 does not have fuel onsite so we had to relocate to MTH – Marathon to fill up. While we were there, we went to lunch, quickly visited the EAA Air Museum, and then headed to BKV – Hernando County Airport.

The controller at BKV was the sweetest controller. Upon departure, we asked if we could overfly the approach end of runway 3 to take a picture of a corn maze. He asked how it looked from the air and we joked with him that we had the exit plan. He called us cheaters, ha! =) He also asked us how long the flight to Destin was and we told him “two hours.” He is going to make that flight himself soon, he added. It beats the almost six hour drive and I do not believe there is a direct flight from Tampa (closest commercial airport to Hernando County) and Destin (and, even if there is, that is not to DTS but rather to VPS which is quite far from downtown Destin and the beach).

Corn maze at BKV

Corn maze at BKV

Oh, by the way, did you know that Zephyrhills, FL makes its own natural spring water?

2013-10-26 22.17.11

We arrived in Destin right after sunset, just in time for dinner with one of our pilot friends there. A nice walk on the beach the next morning and we head to LFT – Lafayette, LA for one of the best Cajun restaurants – Prejean’s.

Our destination airport, Ellington Field (EFD), was having the Wings over Houston airshow that day so we waited in LFT long enough to ensure that we would arrive in EFD past 5 pm when the airport opened. Well, that was not a problem. We had such terrible headwinds on the last leg that we barely hit 100 kts of groundspeed on descent! Ouch!

Here are a few pictures from our trip back:

Florida Keys

Florida Keys

Florida Keys

Florida Keys

Florida Keys

Florida Keys

Orange trees in Florida

Orange trees in Florida

Sunset approaching Destin

Sunset approaching Destin


Amazing Florida water and the airplane’s shadow


Coast of Florida


Difference in water color and depth


Arrow close to the LA and TX border


Approaching Houston

We truly had a great trip and general aviation and flying was really what made it all worth it and fun.

I will also tell you that, through Twitter, I tried to show the value of our trip to the local community where we stopped because, as you can imagine, we spent quite a bit of money on fuel, lodging, food, ground transportation, etc and that has a great impact to the local economy. Here is an example of that work after the completion of our trip. I sent tweets to the governors of TX, LA and FL as well as Florida’s Office of Tourism, Lafayette’s (Louisiana) official source for tourism, and Lafeyette’s City-Parish President. If nothing else, my intention was to bring general aviation to their attention and what an airplane flying in brings to their community besides noise.


NOAA’s Organizational Structure

I had been confused about the structure of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for quite some time so I decided to research it and write a blog about it for everybody’s benefit.

Here is a summary organizational chart I created to help visualize NOAA’s structure and then I summarize what each aviation-related division’s mission is below.

NOAA's Organizational Chart

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

NOAA is an Operating Unit of the U.S. Department of Commerce along with several other agencies, such as the Economics and Statistics Administration or the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for example ( NOAA has seven divisions:

  • Ocean Service
  • National Weather Service (NWS)
  • Fisheries
  • Satellites and Information
  • Research
  • Office of Marine and Aviation Operations
  • Office of Program Planning and Integration

As pilots, some of us obtain aviation weather services directly from the National Weather Service (NWS) while others get it through flight planning tools, such as AOPA’s FlyQ.

NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS)

The NWS’ mission is to provide weather, water, and climate data, forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy.

NWS is divided into three areas: 1) Leadership and headquarter staff in Silver Spring, Maryland, 2) six regional offices, and 3) nine national centers.

NWS Regional Offices

The AOPA Central Southwest Region (NM, TX, LA, OK, AR, KS, MO, NE, and IA) aligns with NWS’ Central (IA, KS, MO, NE among others) and Southern (AR, LA, NM, OK, TX among others) Regions.

The NWS Central Region office is located in Kansas City, MO. For more information, visit The NWS Southern Region office is located in Fort Worth, TX. This region is the most weather-active region in the nation and its nearly 1,000 employees are dedicated to the effective 24/7 delivery of weather, water and climatological forecasts, services and warnings. For more information, visit

In addition, there are Center Weather Service Units (CWSUs) which were formed as a direct response to the Southern Airways flight 242 crash. The aircraft crashed near Atlanta, Georgia in 1978 due to a thunderstorm. Since that crash, 84 National Weather Service meteorologists directly support the aviation customer by providing detailed weather information 16 hours a day, 7 days a week from 21 Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCCs) ( in several large metropolitan areas, such as Albuquerque (, Fort Worth (, Houston (, and Kansas City ( in the AOPA Central Southwest Region. CWSU meteorologists perform several functions, but none more important than the face-to-face on the spot briefings to air traffic controllers. These face-to-face briefings let the meteorologist convey a variety of weather information to air traffic controllers using science, past experiences and local knowledge. This is vital in helping FAA personnel safely and efficiently route traffic. Other functions of CWSU meteorologist’s include producing and disseminating Center Weather Advisories (CWAs) and Meteorological Impact Statements (MISs). For more information about CWSUs, visit

NWS National Centers

One of the nine NWS National Centers is the Aviation Weather Center (AWC), which delivers consistent, timely and accurate aviation weather information. The AWC is housed in the Kansas City, MO Central Region office. As a pilot, this might be the site you are most familiar with when it comes to aviation weather and the National Weather Service: It provides written and visual information regarding weather observations (METARs, radar, satellite, etc.), advisories (SIGMETs, AIRMETs, etc.), and forecasts (TAFs, convection, turbulence, icing, winds and temperatures aloft, etc).

For more general information about NWS, visit:

NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO)

NOAA ships and aircraft play a critical role in the collection of oceanographic, atmospheric, hydrographic, and fisheries data. The NOAA fleet is managed and operated by the Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO), an office composed of civilians and officers of the NOAA Commissioned Corps.

OMAO’s aircraft operate throughout the world providing a wide range of capabilities including hurricane reconnaissance and research, marine mammal and fisheries assessment, and coastal mapping. NOAA aircraft carry scientists and specialized instrument packages to conduct research for NOAA’s missions.

In addition to research and monitoring activities critical to NOAA’s mission, OMAO ships and aircraft provide immediate response capabilities for unpredictable events. For example, aerial images of disaster-torn areas—taken by NOAA aircraft—enabled residents and emergency workers to verify the condition of houses, bridges, and roads.

For more information about OMAO, visit:

The following are a couple of summary pages about what I’ve been explaining from the National Weather Service’s Aviation Weather Services brochure.



BTW, since we are talking about services – Did you know that AWOS systems are limited to reporting cloud ceilings up to 12,000 feet?? Well, if you didn’t, now you do! =)

History of Eureka Springs, Arkansas


I just came back from the Arkansas Airport Operations Association (AAOA) conference, held between September 15 and 17 in Eureka Springs. On the 16th, June Westphal, a very sweet local and historian, talked about the history of the town of Eureka Springs and its aviation story. I wanted to share a summary of it with you, especially for those who live in or close to this beautiful little town. I would also like to encourage you to study the history of your own airport and aviation. I am personally trying to find out more about a small general aviation (GA) airport who used to be in Texas City, TX, where my husband’s family used to run the Airport Drive-in and Grill.

June Westphal

June Westphal

Eureka Springs was not named as such until July 4, 1879, where “Eureka” means “I’ve found it!” It was named that because Eureka Springs is known as the “city that water built” after finding the “healing springs” in town (where Basin Springs is today). The name was chosen by Buck Saunders, a young man who encouraged and brought his dad (Judge Saunders) to town to receive the special healing treatment to cure his illness.

The aviation history in Eureka Springs goes back to 1919 when the first sighting of an aircraft was recorded in Carroll County (this is only 16 years after the Wright Brothers invented, built, and flew the first successful controlled, powered aircraft).

Then 66 year old Buck Saunders asked to be flown over town in 1929 to take pictures of the old “road” he used to bring his dad to town for treatment 50 years earlier. A pilot took him flying in a Curtiss Jenny biplane. Those pictures created the first aerials of Eureka Springs. It appears Buck Saunders was quite a travel and airplane buff, too.

In 1930, the City of Eureka Springs purchased land for a landing strip. This is now the Carroll County Airport (4M1). On July 4 of that same year, a huge fly-in was held at the Airport where dozens of aircraft participated and celebrated Independence Day.

Another airport, the Lake Lucerne Airport, was built in 1930 but, unfortunately, it closed about 30 years later for housing.

Just a couple of years later, in 1932, a pilot flew into town and his airplane broke down. The best car mechanic in town (given the lack of A&Ps) fixed the airplane and, rather than charging the pilot for his services, he asked him to take local kids up flying. One of those kids was the mechanic’s niece, Anna Frankman. The then 10 year old loved the experience and, when the opportunity came up to apply to serve the military during World War II, she applied. Ms. Frankman was one of about 1,100 Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) who ferried and tested airplanes so male pilots could head to combat duty.

It is quite interesting to see how history repeats itself (closing an airport to build housing, for example) and how attracting people to aviation is still quite similar to how it used to be years ago (pilots taking kids up). Therefore, I encourage you to continue supporting and fighting for your airport and showing its value to your local community and elected officials as well as continue to share the great joy of flying with non-aviators and kids.

Aviation Vocabulary and Phrases in Spanish



General aviation – Aviación civil/privada

Airline – Aerolínea

Airplane – Avión

Passenger – Pasajero


Flight Information

Reservation – Reserva

Ticket – Billete/Pasaje

Flight – Vuelo

Number – Número

Roundtrip – Ida y vuelta

One-way (leaving) – Ida

One-way (coming back) – Vuelta

Roundtrip ticket – Billete de ida y vuelta

Boarding pass – Pasaje de abordo

Delayed – Retrasado

Cancelled – Cancelado

Cancellation – Cancelación


Around the Airport

Airport – Aeropuerto

Terminal – Terminal

Departure – Salida

Arrival – Llegada

Runway – Pista de despegue/aterrizaje (takeoff/landing)

Hallway – Pasillo

Hold room – Sala de embarque (literally “sala de espera”)

Restroom – Baño‎ (also known as “servicio”)

Store – Tienda

Coffee Shop – Cafetería

Restaurant – Restaurante

Hangar – Hangar

Control tower – Torre de control

Waiter/waitress – Camarero/a

Controller – Controlador/a (male/female)

Mechanic – mecánico



To fly – Volar

Flying – Volando

Domestic – Nacional

International – Internacional

Takeoff – Despegue

Landing – Aterrizaje

North – Norte

South – Sur

East – Este

West – Oeste

Good weather – Buen tiempo (o buena meteorología)

Bad weather – Mal tiempo (o mala meteorología)



Luggage – Equipaje

Baggage – Maletas

Carry-on – Maleta/Bolsa de mano

Checked luggage – Equipage facturado (o maletas facturadas)

Luggage trolley – Carro (de equipaje)



Security checkpoint – Control de seguridad

Security guard – Guardia (de seguridad)

Police – Policía

Metal detector – Detector de metal


In the Aircraft

Pilot – Piloto (for both genders)

Flight attendant – Azafata/o

Take-off – Despegue

Landing – Aterrizaje

Seat number – Número de asiento

Seat belt – Cinturón de seguridad

Aisle – Pasillo

Luggage compartment – Guarda maletas/equipaje

Maintenance problem – Problema de mantenimiento


International Flights

Immigration – Inmigración

Foreign country – País extranjero

Duty free – Libre de impuestos

Passport – Pasaporte

Visa – Visado

Dollar/s – Dólar/es

U.S. – Estados Unidos (EEUU)



Ground transportation – Transporte terrestre (also known as “transporte de tierra”)

Public transit – Transporte público

Train – Tren

Bus – Autobús (also known as “bus”)

Taxi – Taxi



Hotel – Hotel

Water – Agua

Food – Comida

Wheelchair – Silla de ruedas

Public telephone – Teléfono público

Cell phone – Móvil (also known as “teléfono celular”)




¿Cómo se/te llama? (“Se” is more formal than “te” but they both mean the same)

What is your name?


¿Cómo le puedo ayudar?

How can I help you?


¿Qué necesita?

What do you need?


Trabajo para el aeropuerto.

I work for the airport.


¿Trabaja para el aeropuerto/aerolínea?

Do you work for the airport/airline?


Soy piloto. He venido/volado en ese avión.

I’m a pilot. I came/flew in that airplane.


¿Donde están los baños?

Where are the restrooms?


Sígame. Yo le enseño.

Follow me. I’ll show you.








Estoy aquí de vacaciones.

I’m here on vacation.


Estoy aquí de negocios.

I’m here on a business trip.


¿Cúanto tiempo va a estar aquí?

How long will you be here for?


Voy a estar aquí una semana (unas semanas).

I will be here for one week (a few weeks).


Necesito ver su/tu pasaporte, por favor. (“Su” is more formal than “tu” but they both mean the same)

I need to see your passport, please.


¿Tiene algo que declarar?

Do you have anything to declare?


No, no tengo nada que declarar.

No, I don’t have anything to declare.


Sí, tengo que declarar…

Yes, I have to declare… (whatever it is)


Usted tiene que pagar impuestos.

You have to pay a tax.


¿Cual es su ocupación? o ¿A qué se dedica?

What is your occupation? or What do you do?


¿Dónde se va a quedar usted?

Where will you be staying?


¿Qué contiene esta bolsa/maleta?

What’s in this bag?


¿Dónde está su maleta? (maleta = equipage = bolsas)

Where is your luggage?


¿Qué hora es?

What time is it?


¿Cuánto cuesta?

How much is it?


¿Quién le viene a recoger?

How is coming to pick you up?


Por favor, entre, siéntese.

Please, come in, sit down.