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Spark the Wonder of Flight

As 2018 quickly becomes an entry in the logbook, I look forward to the New Year. For me 2019 will be a year of connection, growth and change. It is fairly easy to attend aviation events, fill up our tanks with the latest information, technology, and dream of that PC24 in our hangar. Yet it is much harder to actually roll up your sleeves and volunteer at one of these events. I came across this quote on the Internet and it piqued my interest.

As I look back at my calendar I am very encouraged by the countless men and women who gave of themselves, who were available for opportunity to spark the wonder of flight in others. Here is a sampling of the opportunities for fun and volunteerism that I was fortunate to be a part of. Hopefully you will be inspired to take part in events in your part of the country.

In February I flew in formation with a few other Mooneys to Yuma Arizona to attend the 7th annual Gunfighter’s Formation Clinic. 35 airplanes enjoyed the three-day event co-sponsored by the Red Star Pilots Association and the Mooney Caravan both of which are 501(c)3 non-profits.

Gunfighter’s Formation Clinic

This event brings together aviators of all sorts whose goal is to gain the skill and proficiency to fly mere feet away from one another. We were lucky to have my Mooney sister, Pia Bergqvist, the Executive Editor of Flying Magazine join us for the fun, and she wrote a fabulous article on the joys and challenges of formation flight.

The month of April means that things are shaking in Lakeland Florida for Sun ‘n Fun. I was thrilled to be able to present Exiting the Hold: Reaching your Life Goals in the forums and for AOPA. We all know the fabulous events on the schedule at Sun ‘n Fun, but as a credentialed part of the media I was able to see the inner workings of this week-long annual event. I tend to have a bunch of stuff to carry at shows. I was also lucky enough to have rides in a golf cart to and from the parking lot to the event site.

SNF Volunteers Rock

It was during those rides that I got to know many of the dedicated volunteers. It can be easy to overlook the volunteers, but they really are the ones who make the events so special.

The second Saturday of May is Oceano Airport Celebration: Salute to Veterans. This annual event not only highlights the gratitude for those who have served our country, but as well collects needed items for military care packages. Friends of Oceano Airport [FOA] is a 501(c)3 non-profit as well as a proud member of the California Pilots Association. I am happy to serve as the President of FOA.

Oceano Airport Celebration: Military Care Package Donations

Volunteers are the backbone of this community fly-in. Year after year we transform our campground into the event site. The goal is to share our beach-side airport, highlight its benefits, and inspire the love of flight to our community.

The month of June brings Father’s Day and every June for the past 52 years Columbia Airport [O22] in the gold country of California, hosts hundreds of attendees for the Father’s Day Fly-In. Columbia Airport has an airplane-only campground and is within walking distance of the historic downtown [state park, gold mining, pedestrian only]. I have volunteered at the fly-in for about nine years. It is so fun to see the tremendous community involvement. My Mooney Ambassador booth is popular, not only for having an awesome airplane or two on display, but also for the Moo Pool.

Moo Pool at Columbia Father’s Day Fly-In

It is not uncommon to have over 100-degree weather. Taking a dip in the pool is fun for the kids, and I have known a volunteer or two to put their feet in.

It is hard to think about July without plugging in KOSH in our flight planner. This year I made the trip solo in my Mooney with a very newly overhauled engine and a fairly new IFR rating. Wittman Regional Airport becomes home away from home for over 600,000 aviation lovers and 10,000 aircraft. There are upwards of 5000 of volunteers working to ensure that the event is as fun and safe as possible. I have volunteered at OSH in a couple of capacities as a presenter but probably even more fun as a member of the EAA Airventure Concert Band for 8 years.

EAA Airventure Concert Band

The band is made up of members from all across the country and sometimes world, who practice our music independently over the spring and summer. We come together and practice a few times, then perform at the airshow opener and have a concert. Elton Eisele who is also an EAA Departure Briefing Chairman directs the all-volunteer band.

The first ever VNY Prop Park airport event was held in September. California Pilots Association also held their annual meeting at the event.

Van Nuys Airport Prop Park Fly-In

Historic 16-right provided a great backdrop for renowned speakers Rod Machado and Barry Schiff, a movie night featuring 16R and Living in the Age of Airplanes , 99s scholarship pancake breakfast and aircraft displays. The team of volunteers worked tirelessly to make the new event a success.

Later in September I was happy to be able to present Exiting the Hold at the California Capital Airshow. Established in 2004, the California Capital Airshow 501(c)3 plans and operates the exciting, family-friendly annual event designed to honor the Sacramento region’s rich aviation heritage and veterans while using the power and magic of flight to inspire young people. CCA gives back to the community through scholarships charitable group donations and exciting educational youth programming throughout the year.

California Capital Airshow

The steering committee of the airshow works to involve the military GA, and Sacramento communities. The schedule offers something for everyone. There was a night airshow, a dance under the stars; educational forums and the daytime show featured the Blue Angels.

In October the inaugural Central Coast AirFest took place in Santa Maria, CA featuring the Canadian Snow Birds. This event was willed into existence by a dedicated group of volunteers. There was a tremendous amount of community integration and involvement in the two-day event.

Central Coast Airfest featuring the Canadian Snowbirds

The first Saturday in December is always a busy one for us at Oceano Airport. For the past ten years we have held a Toys for Tots event in cooperation with the US Marine Corp Reserves. The satisfaction of knowing that the children in our local area are receiving gifts underneath the tree is fantastic. In addition to toy collection we also had a burger fry that supported our local San Luis Obispo 99s scholarship fund.

Oceano Airport Toys for Tots

The first event for my 2019 calendar is an evening at ACI Jet Center in San Luis Obispo, CA.  I am working with King Schools to present Exiting the Hold: Reaching your Life Goals. We will gather on Thursday February 21st at ACI. Come enjoy this free community event with FAAST team credit, refreshments, as well as cool door prizes. The face-paced multimedia presentation will help you learn the six elements for getting unstuck in life and reaching your goals.

Spark Wonder

As you look toward 2019 I will give you some advice; get involved. Spark the wonder of flight in your community. Volunteer your talents in local, regional or national events. I guarantee two things; you will be tired, and it will be a happy-tired. See you in San Luis.

Jolie Lucas is a Mooney owner, licensed psychotherapist, and instrument rated pilot. Jolie presents aviation seminars around the country including Sun n Fun, EAA Oshkosh and AOPA. Jolie is the Vice President of the California Pilots Association. She is the 2010 AOPA Joseph Crotti Award recipient for GA Advocacy. Email: [email protected] Web: www.JolieLucas.com Twitter: Mooney4Me

Gary meets his airplane

We surprised Gary Walters pretty good last week when Mark Baker told him he is the winner of our Sweepstakes 172.

Unlike previous years, we didn’t have an airplane to show him. The 172 was tucked away in a hangar at Oshkosh, waiting for the start of AirVenture. There wasn’t time to fly the airplane from Tennessee (where it had its autopilot installation) to Las Vegas and then to Oshkosh.

So we didn’t give Gary an airplane, but we gave him a set of keys, a nice blown-up photo of the Sweepstakes 172 (exterior and panel), and two sets of Bose A20 headsets.

Gary was able to come to Oshkosh, and on Tuesday he finally got to set eyes on his airplane. If you thought he was excited in our AOPA Live video, you should have seen him at the show.

He says he’s still on cloud nine. And I believe him.

After AirVenture, the 172 goes to  Yingling Aviation so we can check out a newly released service bulletin on the engine. Gary plans to come to Wichita to get checked out in his airplane and fly it home to Henderson, Nevada.

This has been a fantastic sweepstakes project thanks to the hard work of Yingling Aviation and the generosity of our donors, who provided upgrades that make this one of the very best Cessna 172s around. I hope you’ve enjoyed following along. Remember that we’ve got another great sweepstakes project ahead–a Super Cub with floats, skis, and tundra tires.

Sweepstakes 172: Last stop before Oshkosh

Sailing along at 8,500 feet on Sunday, I had the benefit of not one but two Garmin G5s in the panel of the Sweepstakes 172.

The second G5, installed just last month, is configured as a horizontal situation indicator. Since both G5s run off the electrical system and include a back-up battery, Smart Avionics was able to remove the 172’s vacuum system. (The Sweepstakes 172 gained three pounds in its useful load!)

That hole in the instrument panel won’t remain empty for long. On Sunday I flew the Sweepstakes 172 from Frederick, Maryland, to Jackson, Tennessee’s McKellar-Sipes Regional Airport (MKL).

Here, at Tennessee Aircraft Services, the 172 is getting its final fantastic upgrade. Jeff Ley of The STC Group has flown in from California and is installing a Trio autopilot.

The STC Group announced at Sun ‘n Fun that it had obtained an STC for the kit to install theTrio Pro Pilot autopilot in Cessna 172s and 182s. The company hopes to announce at AirVenture complete STC and Parts Manufacturer Approval (PMA) to build and sell the entire system. The Pro Pilot was developed for the Experimental market.

The Sweepstakes 172 will be at AirVenture all week, so please stop by and see this wonderful airplane for yourself. From its humble beginnings as a trainer, trusted family aircraft, and hangar queen to its spinner-to-tail transformation at Yingling Aviation to its eye-catching paint schemes, the 172 is a special bird.

Flying the Diamond Lane:Mass formation arrivals at OSH bring connection and camaraderie

Flying the Diamond Lane

Flying the Diamond Lane

After meeting and talking with participants from the mass arivals to Oshkosh, one thing is certain, the impetus for flying formation is connection and camaraderie. Whether Cessna, Bonanza, Cherokee, or Mooney, the goal is the same, to be able to train, fly and camp together. To celebrate general aviation and our ability to attend this iconic event as an aviation family.

Mooney Caravan Training, Jolie Lucas Wing

Mooney Caravan Training, Jolie Lucas, Wing

For those unaware, the process to fly the mass arrival to Oshkosh isn’t as daunting as you might think.

Last year I flew the Fisk arrival into OSH and happily landed on the yellow dot.  But  I was intrigued by the formation arrivals and wanted to be a part of it.  I was grateful to have attended a training in Chino, California. I wasn’t sure if I would have the skill set to fly so close to another airplane, let alone landing fast with no flaps while looking only at my Lead. I was so pleased when everything jelled on the second day and I was actually enjoying the formation flying. I hope you enjoy this bit of history about the various aircraft types who fly the mass arrival, and also consider flying the diamond lane into OSH17.

Bonanzas to Oshkosh

B2OSH en route to OSHTheir website https://www.b2osh.org/Web/B2OSH/default.asp

Each year in late July about 100 Beechcraft Bonanzas and Barons assemble in Rockford, Illinois and fly in the world’s largest formation of civilian aircraft, to the world’s greatest celebration of aviation – EAA AirVenture, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Bonanzas to Oshkosh began in 1990 when Wayne Collins and a few friends decided the only way to ensure camping together was to arrive together in formation. Wayne Collins led Bonanzas to Oshkosh until 2001 when Elliott Schiffman took over the reins. During Elliott’s tenure B2OSH established a nation-wide network of regional training sessions. Organized practices led to ever improving B2OSH flights and added a wonderful layer to the social fabric. In 2007 Larry Gaines slid into the left seat.

Bonanza Mass Arrival OSH

Bonanza Mass Arrival OSH

Today their focus remains firmly fixed: pilots flying the best general aviation airplane camping together in friendship and camaraderie. The formation arrival is their means of accomplishment. The requirements are membership in EAA and a demonstration of basic formation competence in the preceding six months. They cannot stress too strongly that this event focuses on friendship, camaraderie and a grass-roots structure.

According to Larry Gaines there were 115 airplanes on the ramp at Rockford.  98 Bonanzas and 17 Barons.  They sent 1 Bonanza out ahead of the group as a weather scout to verify that thunderstorm movement from the west would not accelerate and affect the flight. 2  Bonanzas had maintenance issues after engine start (out of ordinary CHTs and alternator failure).  Both flew to Oshkosh later.
So, there were 113 airplanes in our flight this year,  counting the weather scout.

B2O Party

 

 

Mooney Caravan

Vita nimis brevis est tarde volo  [Life is too short to fly slowly.]

Their website  http://www.mooneycaravan.com/home

IMG_4705

Mooney Caravan line up Madison, WI

The Mooney Caravan’s roots originate in a message posted on February 21, 1998 to a Mooney email list started by Doug Fields. Following is the text of the message from Akmal Khan (who flew a 252 and enjoyed taking goodhearted jabs at his normally aspirated brethren):

“I am taking my family over to Oshkosh this year. I know a number of you Northwest Mooniacs were planning on flying over this year. I thought it might be fun to organize a caravan of Mooneys to fly in together. I will have my speed brakes on so you can keep up :-). We could arrange for a couple of stops along the way and maybe do a formation flight into Oshkosh. What do you think?”

Through the efforts of a core group of volunteers led by Jonathan Paul, the first Mooney Caravan of 42 aircraft took off from Madison Dane County Regional airport on July 27, 1998 with Jonathan as lead and Dave Piehler as tail. During the months prior to the flight, the organizers including a Letter of Agreement with the FAA and the flight procedures, which were developed following consultation with Bonanzas to Oshkosh, worked out the Caravan logistics. Bonanzas to Oshkosh had been conducting formation Bonanza arrivals into Oshkosh since 1990 when the organizers recognized that the only way to camp together in the North 40 was to arrive together!

“I had not been into AirVenture and so many people commented on the madness of the Fisk arrival and the relative ease of the Caravan that formation seemed like a better option. Additional considerations were the opportunity to get an introduction to formation flying techniques and skills. Third, I was aware that the Caravan planes would park together and there would be opportunities for meeting Mooniacs.” –Robert C. (Bob) Belville. Based at Morganton, NC.

MOONEY MASS ARRIVAL

Mooney Caravan 2016

41 Mooneys arrived OSH in 2 plane elements (instead of 3 due to surface wind) every 15 seconds. There was a little congestion on the taxiways – arrivals to the airport had been backed up by the weather and by the next morning the field would be closed temporarily – no more parking space!

 “Friends don’t let friends fly the Fisk arrival” … overheard in the North 40

Cessnas to Oshkosh

http://www.cessnas2oshkosh.com/920home.aspx

Cessnas to OSH Pilot Brief

Cessnas to OSH Pilot Brief

As has been the case with other events in aviation history, the origin of the Cessnas 2 Oshkosh mass arrival can be traced back to a group of pilots searching for a way to fly and spend time together. In the summer of 2005 a small group of Cessna owners led by Fred Johnson and Rodney Swanson met in the North 40 during the celebration of EAA AirVenture – Oshkosh to figure out a way to fly in, camp and hang out together as a group under the wings of their airplanes in the North 40. The ultimate goal was to share their mutual passion for aviation and have a good time together during the week of Oshkosh.

C20 Landing 36L

C20 Landing 36L

C2O reports that eighty-five aircraft, arranged in thirty  elements, participated in the 2016 Cessnas 2 Oshkosh Mass Arrival Flight. This number represents an unprecedented eighteen percent increase in participation compared to the seventy-two aircraft in 2015 and even higher compared to the previous three mass arrivals: 54 in 2014, 42 in 2013 and 41 in 2012.

 

C20 group_2016

C20 Group 2016

 

Cherokees to Oshkosh

http://www.cherokees2osh.com/index.asp

image

Cherokees to Oshkosh on Final 36L

Cherokees to Oshkosh began a tradition in 2010 which we are confident will continue to grow and promulgate. The enthusiasm that effervesced from the founding group will be the base, which stands the test of time, and encourage future Cherokees to Oshkosh members to make the choice to join us. If you decide to join us in 2017, be prepared to attend a mini-clinic of your choice, as well as coming in early to Waupaca to enjoy the family of aviators that are the essence of Cherokees to Oshkosh. Both venues will require effort on your part. However, if you take the time to speak with any of the pilots that flew with us in previous years, we are confident they will tell you the hard work paid off. That belief was evidenced upon landing at Oshkosh, as we did not observe one pilot exit their aircraft in the North 40 without a smile!

“2016 was the third time flying my airplane into Oshkosh for EAA AirVenture and it’s been an adventure each time. The first time I flew in was as a single arrival. To me the single arrival was more challenging and I believe more dangerous because you have no idea who is lining up with you over Ripon and It can be hectic The past two years I have flown in to AirVenture with the Cherokees to Oshkosh group. This group is very organized and there are minimum qualifications for the pilots. Cherokees to OshkoshOne of the requirements is all pilots must attend a mini clinic on formation flying that are offered around the country during the year. We all arrive in Waupaca, Wi about three or four days prior to the day we plan to fly the mass arrival. During those few days we fly training sorties in formation and practice different scenarios of arrival in case we are assigned a different runway or some other change. When we fly in you know who is on your wing and what to expect. It is much easier and safer way to arrive not to mention it is a lot of fun and looks really cool.”John Bova Based at KSBP, San Luis Obispo, CA

No matter the make or model everyone I talked to in the mass arrivals was happy to have completed the task.  Do consider a formation clinic in your region in 2017.  Most clinics welcome all brands of aircraft.  The skills you will learn will serve you well and formation flying has a strangely addictive quality.  It is not too early to start making plans for OSH17.  The fun, fellowship, and flying are hard to beat.  Plus you might get a super cool call sign to memorialize your participation.

Buttercup, out.

 

Jolie Lucas Bio

Jolie Lucas is a Mooney owner, licensed psychotherapist, and instrument rated pilot. Jolie presents aviation seminars around the country including Sun n Fun, EAA Oshkosh and AOPA. Jolie is the Vice President of the California Pilots Association. She is the 2010 AOPA Joseph Crotti Award recipient for GA Advocacy. Email: [email protected] Web: www.JolieLucas.com Twitter: Mooney4Me

The Sweepstakes 172 is at AirVenture

The AOPA Sweepstakes 172 will get a new paint job after spending the week in Oshkosh. Photo by Jim Moore.

The AOPA Sweepstakes 172 will get a new paint job after spending the week in Oshkosh. Photo by Jim Moore.

And boy, is it getting some attention!

From the outside, the 1978-vintage paint job and the mismatched doors are causing a lot of people to do double-takes. Once they come up to the airplane, I invite them to take a look at the gorgeous panel.

The avionics suite is all Garmin, all the time, with a GTN 650 taking center stage on the stack. But the standout is the G5 electronic flight instrument, which now resides where the attitude indicator once sat. We’ve got the first G5 approved for installation since Garmin announced on July 24 that it had received an STC to install the instrument in certified aircraft. You can read more about it in the September 2016 issue of AOPA Pilot. 

AOPA’s Yingling Ascend 172 is also on display so that folks can get a kind of before-and-after look at these remanufactured aircraft. Yingling Aviation brought a third Ascend 172 to AirVenture, and it is on display in  front of the Garmin exhibit,

If you’re at the show, stop by and check out the Sweepstakes 172 for yourself.

 

 

 

Oshkosh or bust

I’m forever spoiled. Everyone talks about flying an airplane to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, but arriving in a helicopter is a far better experience. I’m burdened with knowing this now, thanks to Sporty’s Pilot Shop’s John Zimmerman, my ride to the show this year.

 

John owns a beautiful R44 he flies for fun and the occasional work purpose. Being a gadget geek, his is kitted out with a Garmin 430, a handheld Garmin 496, and that day we were carrying two iPads, and Sporty’s new Iridium Go! satellite hotspot. It also has air conditioning, which is a luxury well worth having. So while many would scoff at the suggestion that a helicopter is a cross-country aircraft, with some nice instrumentation and create comforts, it turns out to be well suited to the task.

 

The trip started with an early morning airline flight to Cincinnati, where I met John. The first two miles were over the eerily quiet Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport. The helicopter proved to be a good vantage point to see the juxtaposition of miles upon miles of runways for the dozen or so regional jets parked at the various terminals.

 

From there it was another 348 miles on to Oshkosh, including two stops. Since helicopters and their pilots are most comfortable at lower altitudes, trips like this are a joy. The world isn’t going by very fast, which leaves that much more time for taking it all in. Lounging around at 75 knots groundspeed, the trip took more than four hours, but it felt like much less.

 

The best part of the trip, and what airplane pilots miss out on, is the arrival to the show. In an airplane there is a mass convergence on one spot southwest of the airport as everyone forms a line and heads in. You have to listen closely to air traffic control, respond quickly, and follow the controller’s directions precisely. The arrival procedures in a helicopter are much more civilized. Simply listen to ATIS, monitor the tower, maintain 1,800 feet, and land. Transients can park at Pioneer field, outside the main show site. From the time we shut down to the time our ride arrived was 10 minutes. There’s no walking, no humping heavy bags. They pulled off the main road and we jumped in and left. Clearly the folks at EAA know helicopter pilots, and the arrival suits them perfectly.

 

With the R44’s fuel-burn rate, and lackluster groundspeed in headwinds, it might not be the most efficient cross-country machine. It is, however, a lot of fun, which is all that matters when you are on your way to Oshkosh.

Coming to AirVenture? Come see us!

The AOPA tent in 2006. This year's campus will have a main tent and an activities tent.

The AOPA tent in 2006. This year’s campus will have a main tent and an activities tent.

Will you be hanging out with 500,000 of your closest friends next week?

Of course I’m talking about EAA AirVenture, which takes place July 28 through Aug. 3 in Oshkosh, Wis. I’ve written before about why you need to come to Oshkosh (assuming you haven’t made it in the past). And I’ve shared my own tips for first-timers, which you can read here.

For this post, I’ll concentrate on letting you know that AOPA will be there and we sure hope you’ll fit us into your Oshkosh plans. We have a new, expanded exhibit area in a brand-new location—across from the Brown Arch.

At our main tent, you can duck into some air-conditioned shade, renew or check the status of your membership, or bring your questions to any of our knowledgeable staff.

In addition to our main tent, we have a new activities tent, where you can meet airshow champion Patty Wagstaff, talk about current issues with AOPA President Mark Baker, and your kids can play with a Disney’s Planes: Fire and Rescue interactive display. The activities tent is where we’ll be holding educational seminars, including a Rusty Pilots seminar at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 30. (We’ll have coffee and a light breakfast for those who want to know more about how to get back into flying. RSVPs appreciated!)

Don’t miss the chance to take a good look at our Sweepstakes Beech Debonair, which will be on display. This is one special airplane!

Click here for a full schedule of seminars, guest speakers, and more.

Flight Training Editor Ian Twombly and I will be on the grounds. Please say hi; we’d love to meet you, and we want to hear all your flight training stories. Follow me on Twitter (@jtallman1959) and let me know where you are!—Jill W. Tallman

Photo of the Day: Artistic Husky

AirVenture 2012 is in the books, but we couldn’t resist the opportunity to post one more photo from this year’s show. Al Marsh shot the AOPA 2012 Tougher than a Tornado Sweepstakes Husky using his iPhone and an app called Pro HDR. Then he played with the image in Adobe Lightroom to create the illustrator effect. What do you think?—Jill W. Tallman

Photo of the Day: Two friends at AirVenture

 

As AirVenture 2012 draws to a close, here’s a photo of a Waco and a DC-3 sharing space on the grass. Luckily, there’s room for everyone at the world’s biggest airshow. Photo by Al Marsh.–Jill W. Tallman

Photo of the Day: Boomerang at AirVenture

 

It’s not just the warbirds or the classic and antique aircraft we love to scope out at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It’s the cutting-edge, unusual designs you aren’t likely to see in person anywhere else. Burt Rutan’s Model 202 Boomerang, photographed by Al Marsh, is a twin-engine five-place aircraft with an asymmetrical shape. Rutan unveiled it in 1996.—Jill W. Tallman

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