“Your connections to all the things around you literally define who you are.” – Aaron D. O’Connell
“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
The Second Amendment and An Airport Converge
Milestones By Comparrison
- The Coupe is a low wing, the Cessna a high wing, thus visibility is quite different.
- Although my Coupe has rudder pedals (early models do not) they are less critical than in the Cessna, because….
- The Coupe’s engine is mounted to compensate for the “P” factor, pulling the aircraft to the left, where as one must use rudder to compensate in the Cessna
- The Coupe uses a hand brake, the Cessna, toe brakes integrated into the rudder pedals
- The Coupe is about 300 pounds lighter than the Cessna and has a much lighter touch in the controls
- The trim on the Coupe has less impact on how the aircraft flies than on the Cessna
“Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird, That cannot fly.” – Langston Hughes
This is the last of three installments of a short story about vision, an airport and flying.
I soloed January 10, 1992 and received my single engine land private pilot license in June.
On July 4, 1992, I flew the Aircoupe to the national Ercoupe convention being held in Newton, KS, just north of Wichita. My family was also there, and I flew Daddy as my first passenger, in the Aircoupe, and as a licensed pilot that day.
Daddy ‘s piloting days may have been over but his vision for an all-weather airport lingered. During the years I worked at Wichita, Daddy and I had several conversations about the FAA airport trust fund that was available for communities to develop local airports as a part of the national transportation system.
In 1995, My FAA career took me to Brussels Belgium during which time the coupe was tucked safely away, looked after by friends and family. Mom and Dad moved to Wichita where they cared for our home during our stay overseas and to help with their transition to retirement. I flew each time I was back for a visit. In 1999 I returned to the states. I was assigned to the air traffic safety office in Fort Worth Texas. Daddy’s health was failing.
I found a living situation at an airport near Fort Worth where I was able to acquire a hanger with an apartment. In this space I could keep the coupe, my car and have a home away from home for this last season of my career. I looked forward to having Daddy visit our hangar home, but that was not to be. In March of 2000, Daddy died from multiple melanoma cancer having only seen pictures of the Coupe in her newest home. As far as I know, He was not aware of the new plans underway for the airport he had envisioned. Yet the seeds of the vision and dream were growing. Continue reading Daddy – An Airport Story in Three Parts
“Worse than not realizing the dreams of your youth would be to have been young and never dreamed at all.” Jean Genet
This is a continuation of a previous post. Enjoy!
“The day arrived and on September 14, 1969, Daddy became a certified private pilot. He logged 1114.45 hours of flying time over the span of 19 years and one month, almost to the day. His first lesson was at the Phillipsburg, KS airport in a J-3 Cub on October 14, 1962 and his last logged flight was from the Plainville airpark on September 21, 1981. Most of the hours flown were in Aircoupe N3052G. In high school, I was a frequent flyer passengers.
The coupe became Daddy’s transport, companion and therapy; his place to dream and escape. It would be years before I understood the relationship he had with that little plane. The coupe remained at the Plainville Airpark until 1991.
In the late 1960s and into the early 70s, in addition to running his auto parts business, Dad became involved in local government, both as councilman and later as mayor. So as time progressed, the coupe’s time in the air began to dwindle. In the mid to late 70s, economic downturns and health issues, infringed further on Daddy’s ability to spend time in the air. There were rumors that Dad had offers to sell the plane, but he needed to keep her close, even if she had to sit quietly on the ground looking south from her open hangar.
Activity at the airpark came and went. The one major issue: water. The field was well drained and a perfectly fine grass strip but rain, snow, ice and other kinds of moisture hampered consistant use. In fact, there were no all weather airports in all of Rooks County. In 1978 he and several others began to work on a plan to correct this. The vision was modest: simply black top the airpark runway. Plans and proposals were made with rationale far beyond just a few guys with a hobby. As mayor, he could see it as an extension of main street for business, as well as providing access to medical flights, and other emergency needs. Perceptions, costs, and local politics got in the way and plans ended up on the shelf. The time was not yet.
In the meantime, I had left home, married and began a career with the FAA as an air traffic controller. When that career brought me to Wichita, KS in 1988, I decided to finally get my private pilot’s license. I had wanted to do this since I first flew with Daddy, and had even begun training at one point, but the right time had finally arrived.
In a phone conversation with Dad, I asked if the Coupe was flyable. His answer was evasive: “it was flying when I last parked her in the hangar”. I asked how long it had been. “A couple of years”. I asked if I could use it to build the hours I needed to get my license, his response after thinking it over, was “if you can fix it, you can fly it”. I had no idea what was involved. I later discovered it had been 11 years since her last airworthiness check. It was going to be work.
My flight instructor and I flew his plane to Plainville to assess the situation in the fall of 1991. She was in sad shape. It took two more trips with different assortments of mechanics before, on a cold March day in 1992 she departed Plainville Airpark on a ferry permit for her new home in Wichita.
In the meantime, I had continued my flight training and realized the Coupe would not be the plane I would build my flight hours in. The plan had shifted. Daddy was ready to share her with me, and so we took joint ownership. When I was not supervising a shift at the Wichita air traffic tower/TRACON or working on some aspect of my pilot training, I was assisting the team of mechanics bringing N3052G back to an airworthy condition.”
I know, this was more about an airplane than an airport, but one exists for the other! The final installment of this airport story and vision next time.
“Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it…” ― Wilferd Peterson
“I turned left onto a half-mile final for a south landing. There it was, five thousand feet of new concrete; an airport thirty years in the making, carved out of farmland in rural Kansas. My Kansas. My roots. My spirit welled up as I made my final traffic call, “Rooks County Regional Airport traffic, Aircoupe three zero five two golf, on short final for runway one-eight. “ The little red coupe seemed to perk up as I trimmed her to follow the visual glide path to a flawless, slightly cross-wind landing. I could almost hear Daddy smile from that great cloud of witnesses as we taxied off the runway onto the ramp toward the waiting crowd.
I had been following the progress of the new Rooks County Regional Airport (KRKS) since I learned, during a 23 year high school class reunion in 2006, that plans were back underway for an all weather airport near my hometown. So when I was invited to the dedication by a former classmate, I knew I had to fly the Aircoupe back “home”. Continue reading Dreamers – An Airport Story in Three Parts
“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” Paulo Coelho
- Move back to Kansas, my home state – We were living in California at the time
- Become a fighter pilot
- Work for the FAA in Europe
Or Could They?
Written Goals Work
Goal Setting – A Framework
Goals and Vision
Goals Nuts and Bolts
- Goals should be SMARTER
- They should include both habit goals and one-time goals
- Consider a PUSH goal – or a BHAG – a Big Hairy Audacious Goal. One that will get you us in the morning and (sometimes) awake at night.
- Set between 5-10 total goals for a year. More than ten and the likelihood of finishing any of them diminishes.
Seeds Work Without Much Awareness
Seeds Grow to Unexpected Harvests
Your Stonebridge Journey is formed by seeds planted in your life. You get to choose which seeds to water, cultivate, harvest or pluck up. Some should be discarded, but many are there waiting to be recognized and nurtured so they can come to fullness. There are seeds in your life that are waiting to become full harvests. Some of these are already for reaping, some have yet to sprout. With a bit of reflection, you will be amazed!
What one thing you are doing or have today that you recognize the seed from which it came? Please post your story in the comments below.
”May you live every day of your life. “ Jonathan Swift
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Jesus, in Matthew 6:24
A Year Contains Opportunity to Fly
- Sit down and cry
- Scream and holler
- Ask “why me?”