Tag Archives: flying

Thanksgiving Thoughts From Maison Steinbuchel

Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often. – Johnny Carson

The day before Thanksgiving is the heaviest travel day of the year.  This true of all modes of transportation, but none more filled with tension than air travel.  During my years in air traffic I worked many of these days.  From the inside, it was serious business.  I arrived to take my position at the radar in the Los Angeles Center with coffee at hand, my mind focused and with a bit of apprehension for the task at hand.  It was fun and awesome at the same time.

Those days were also days of honor, where I could serve the travelers of this nation, even the world, so they could get home to be with family and loved ones.  I was aware of what was at stake:

  • hugs and tears of welcome
  • reminiscence with family and friends
  • reminders of those no longer with us
  • grandparents seeing grandchildren, perhaps for the first time
  •  And even some reluctant endurance of bad memories

Whatever awaited at the end of each passenger’s voyage, we did our best (really) to not add to the stress of the travel.

Sending Thanksgiving Peace

Today, I have to admit, I don’t miss the tension and stress.  Yet, neither do I regret having served in this way.  As I said, it was and honor.

The video above is sent to provide you a moment of peace, respite or even escape, if needed.   The Music is from David Cullen – not the one I am married to.

So from Maison Steinbuchel we sent our warmest prayers for a day filled with peace, good food, and fellowship, wherever you may be.  For those serving our country in the military,  public safety, air traffic or any other civil service, we send our thanks.  thanksgiving

If you are serving in some way away from friends and family, please let me know in the comments below.  I want to thank you personally.   If not, where will you spend your Thanksgiving this year?

The Adventure And Risk of Transitions

Times of transition are strenuous, but I love them. They are an opportunity to purge, rethink priorities, and be intentional about new habits. We can make our new normal any way we want. – Kristin Armstrong

transitions

We just had the first hard freeze of the season.  Although summer ended and autumn officially began September 21, October is the time of year the seasonal change starts to show in my part of the world.

External changes appear as:

  • a burst of growth in the annual potato vines and other bedding plants in the garden
  • the kitchen garden also has its last burst of production
  • a subtle tinge of yellow appears in the ash tree on the property
  • daylight hours slowly beginning to wane

The latter triggers some internal changes for me:

  • my energy level starts to wane with the daylight and adjustments are made in my diet to compensate
  • attention is given to getting things in order for the holiday and winter season.  I guess it is a sort of fall sorting and cleaning.
  • I begin to think about the closing out of one year and beginning a new – yes, already.
Routine Transitions

All  of this in response to a seasonal transition.  But what about the broader scope of transitions?  In some ways we are always in transition.  We:

  • arise in the morning, live out a day, then head back to sleep
  • go to work, move from one activity to another, then back to our nests at home
  • get in our cars, drive somewhere, take care of business then return

Most transitions are routine, efficient, even mindless with little risk.  However, what about transitions:

  • from a familiar routine to a new one?
  • that involve more than just you?
  • that involve some or a lot of risk?
  • that a moving into an unknown situation?
Transition Risks

Continue reading The Adventure And Risk of Transitions

A Return to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)

This will re-publish as I make a return trip to Mission Aviation Fellowship -MAF.  This time I am staying for  a few days to volunteer in the fabrication shop.  I am excited.  Following is the background for this trip from a previous post.
Many of the things that form our lives rest in the background.  They crisscross our paths making significant deposits in quiet ways.   On a trip to the northwest last year, we took time to visit the headquarters of Mission Aviation Fellowship in Nampa, ID.  We have been supporters of MAF for over 20 years, but my connection to this organization goes back much further.
After our visit, I began to reflect exactly how far back this connection does go.  It, in fact, it goes back to my father. As I wrote about my father’s interaction with short-term mission trips in Costa Rica, I recalled something.  When daddy first became a pilot, he looked into becoming a missionary pilot.  He loved flying and wanted to serve using this passion and his piloting skills.
He was also a skilled mechanic and had an instinct for getting things to work.  It seemed a perfect fit.  He made inquiries thinking there might be a way to do short-term flying missions.  MAF mission did not have a provision for short term pilots.  In addition, he was not a certified air-frame and power-plant aircraft mechanic, nor a certified flight instructor nor did he possess a license for instrument flying.  These are all requirements to serve on the MAF piloting team.  Daddy found another way to serve in short-term missions but, as a result of our conversations about this, the seed of aviation as a mission tool was planted inside me.

Continue reading A Return to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)

second amendment

Old Airports and Second Amendment Rights

“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
Over the years as I drove to and from the east side of Wichita on 13th street, I passed an odd building on the north side of the street next to the Ken-Mar shopping center.  For a while it was something called Sky Bowl, a bowling alley, but has since morphed into a furniture store.  At some point I discovered the building had begun its’ life as an airplane hangar on the now closed Wilson/ Ken-Mar airport. This made sense of the building itself and of the name “Sky Bowl”.  I was fascinated yet sad that a little airport was no more.
Lost Airports

second amendment

There are, in fact, dozens of these stories in an around the Wichita area and well beyond.  I am in possession of a copy of the 1949-1950 Kansas Airport Directory listing the Kansas airports of that time.  The Ken-Mar Airport’s last listing is in this edition, as it was closed around 1950.  What is known of its history, and the history of many other lost airports, can be found at a site:  Abandoned & Little Known Airfields.  The site is maintained by Paul Freeman and a group of other “aviation archaeologists” , on a donation basis.  A true labor of love.
The Second Amendment and An Airport Converge
My husband and I go to the Ken-Mar area for two reasons:  first, one branch of one of our bank is located there and second, it is also the location of the shooting range we are members of:  The Bullseye.
The latter reason is directly related to the Ken-Mar airport since The Bullseye is located in one of the other former airplane hangars.  In 2016 we fulfilled a long-time desire to exercise our second amendment rights.  We acquired concealed and carry permits for handguns.  We gifted each other the class, handguns and the necessary equipment for Christmas. Periodically, we dutifully clean our guns and head to the former airport now shooting range to stay proficient.
When one drives into the residential area, behind the shopping area, the cluster of 1940’s concrete structures makes sense once you realize you are at the southwest corner of what was once the 2600′ north south runway of the old Ken-Mar airport.  I can’t help but look up as we enter hesecond amendment structure and imagine Piper Cubs landing or taking off.  As a private pilot and an American citizen, who cherishes both our freedom to fly and right to bear arms, I find a comforting connection between the two at the Ken-Mar location.
At Risk
I also find it interesting that these two freedoms, rights and privileges are constantly at risk.  They are unique to this nation with roots as deep as her birth and inspired from a profound place.  Exercising these privileges by taking to the sky and through target practice is my personal stand for these privileged freedoms.
Now please excuse me while I go clean my gun and head to the old airport.
Take time today to reflect on one or two freedoms you cherish.  What will you do today to exercise those freedoms?  Please comment below. 

A Solo Flight – Celebrating Milestones

milestones

I enjoy being a pilot, aircraft and hanger owner, but these joys are accompanied by a fair amount of responsibility.  Even as a private pilot, periodic flight reviews (BFR) and medicals come with the privilege.  This was the month for both of those activities.  Since I inherited my Dad’s 1961 Forney Aircoupe, I have flown my BFRs in that craft, but this year I decided to have it done in a Cessna 150, the airplane in which I learned to fly, solo and certify in as a pilot in 1992.
I was able to find one to rent at Westport Airport, a wonderful place in the heart of Wichita, KS.  I have a long history with 71K, aka Dead Cow International, where the Jayhawk Wing of the Commemorative Air Force is based, so I was pleased for this occasion.  Westport should be on your list of places to visit if you come to Wichita.  A quaint oasis of the past meets the present if there ever was a place.  If you are really fortunate  you will meet Earl Long and many other aviators that make up the back-drop of the aviation fabric of the Air Capitol.
Milestones By Comparrison
The Forney Aircoupe  and Cessna 150 are very close in performance, but after flying, almost exclusively, my Coupe for 20+ years, I felt quite out of place.  There are differences that change how one interacts with the plane:
  • 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
The best comparison I can give is the difference you feel when getting into a rental car versus your own, it just feels foreign – times ten!
My BFR instructor gave me ample time with the Cessna to get reacquainted, going over checklists, locations of various instruments and gages, etc.  on my own.  I  was as ready as I would be, but still felt a fish out of water for most of the flight.  On top of that, it was less than smooth and I had to fight thermals the entire flight.  It was less than a stellar performance, but my instructor was kind and decided I was not a hazard to myself or others, signing me off for two more years.

Continue reading A Solo Flight – Celebrating Milestones

Daddy – An Airport Story in Three Parts

“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.

daddy
Rooks County Airport DedicationVision and Dreams

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.

Moving Away

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

Dreams – An Airport Story in Three Parts – II

“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 lePaul Hancock Pilot Certifcationsson 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.

Dreams Fade

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.

Dreams Transition

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 invdreamsolved.  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.”

Comments Please!

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.

Dreamers – An Airport Story in Three Parts

“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.

dreamersI 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

Goals: Write Them Down. It Works!

goals“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”  Paulo Coelho
 Each year since the early 1980s I have set goals.  I always had goals, lists, “to-dos” in my head, but actual written goals came later.  When I first started, it was primarily in the context of my job/career.  In fact, it was forced upon me as a part of the air traffic community as one of the cures for the 1981 air traffic strike.  The air traffic world was told we needed a culture change, and one of the expressions of that became the Individual Development Plan (IDP).  We were strongly urged to create one of these as a part of our annual performance review.  At the time, I just wanted to be an air traffic controller and separate air planes, but to comply with the “suggestion” I did a rather tongue in cheek” IDP.  In other words, I did not take it seriously.  Or so it seemed.
In that first IDP.  I put down three “goals”.  They actually fell more into the desire, dreaming or wish list category:
  1. Move back to Kansas, my home state – We were living in California at the time
  2. Become a fighter pilot
  3. Work for the FAA in Europe
There was no way these could happen from where I sat at the time and my supervisor told me so.  He basically smirked and gave me that “you’re kidding, right?” look.  I looked back with raised eyebrows and stated:  it was “My IDP”, and he reluctantly signed it.  Boxed checked.  Back to telling pilots where to go.  That was in 1985.
Or Could They?
In 1988 we moved to Kansas after I applied for and was offered a promotion to the Wichita Airport Traffic Control facility.  During my time there, I became a private pilot and was also allowed to fly an F-4, a T-38 and an F-16 as a part of my air traffic staff duties.  OK, the F-16 was a simulator and I am not qualified to fly a fighter on my own, not even close.  Yet, for a civilian private pilot in her late 30s at the time, it was the closest I was going to get!
Then in 1994, I was selected as the Air Traffic Representative for Europe, Africa and the Middle East based out of the Brussels, Belgium office.  I had actually forgotten the IDP until I was going through some papers packing for the move to Brussels.  I was as stunned.  Nine years from impossible to completed!  Three seemingly unrelated, lofty, even silly goals, done.  That was a true aha moment.
Written Goals Work
Since that first IDP, I have come to value the process of setting written goals.  The reason:  it works.  Somehow, articulating one’s desires. dreams and intentions in a written form gives them life.  So, this time of year, I begin to look at my current year’s goals.  What did I achieve?  What did I miss?  What do I carry over in light of what I want the end of next year to look like?  It it both painful and exciting.  Painful; because some things  did not get done – this year.  Exciting because some things were completed and moreover a whole new year lies ahead.  This year, I am doing all of this goal stuff under the umbrella of my Life Plan that I developed earlier in the year, and which I recently did an annual review and update.
Goal Setting – A Framework
I break my goals into categories in an effort to maintain a certain equilibrium:  Spiritual, Soul Tending (Mind, will and emotions), Physical, Relational (marriage, extended family, church family and social), Vocational and Rest/Restoration.  Having these set as a framework for my goals helps to ensure each area gets appropriate attention.  Some call it life balance, I just want things to stay upright and moving forward as smoothly as possible.  That means that there may be seasons where one area gets more attention than another.
Your categories need to reflect your unique life and values.  Perhaps you have never taken the time to inventory and articulate the facets of your life.  This would be a good place to start.  Here is a  free resources that can guide you:  http://www.goalsettingbasics.com/free-goal-setting-worksheets.html
Goals and Vision
Once you have the various areas of your life defined, then look at each one and think:
What does this mean to me?
What do I want this area to look like at the end of 2017?
It may also to be helpful to make an inventory of activities you currently expend time and energy on.  Then look at each one and decide:  Is this truly contributing to my intention in this area?  will it move me toward my desires in this area next year.  If not, does the activity need to be adjusted, delegated or simply deleted?  Once this evaluation is complete, using the activities that remain, list one thing you can do to or continue to do to move you toward your vision for each area.  I have found that when I do the above process, my goals for the next year emerge organically and can move to further define particular goals in each area.
For this, I recommend the following sites as a resource.  Much of the information offered at no cost, along with products and/or subscriptions available for purchase.  To be honest you don’t need to spend a dime to get a robust plan of your own going.  Just search “goal setting” once on each site, pick a process and then trust it.
Goals Nuts and Bolts
Some things to consider to ensure a balanced goal setting menu:
  1. Goals should be SMARTER
  2. They should include both habit goals and one-time goals
  3. 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.
  4. Set between 5-10 total goals for a year. More than ten and the likelihood of finishing any of them diminishes.
Last – Schedule them on your calendar for next year.  Start with the what Stephen Covey call the BIG ROCKS, events and/or activities that have great value to you or to reaching a goal but tend to get crowded out by the trivia of life.  Consider assigning the one-time goals into a particular quarter or season.  That way you focus on one or two at a time, get it done and move one.  That can help avoid the end of year crunch.
Since I wrote that first IDP, I have learned some about this goal setting thing adding a certain intentionality and efficiency to the process.  Therefore it does not take nine years.  Still that first effort and the results, impresses me to this day.  It has served to keep me motivated in my goal setting process.
Has goal setting been a part of your life?  If so, what benefits has it had.  
If not, what is holding you back?
 
Please comment below

A Visit to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)

 the Kodiak by Quest Aviation can take off in 800ft with 7,500 lbs gross weight was developed specificaly for the unique needs of mission avation
The Kodiak by Quest Aviation can take off in 800 ft.  with 7,500 lbs gross weight.  It was developed specifically with the unique needs of mission aviation in mind. None-the-less, it has found uses in private and commercial aviation as well.
Many of the things that form our lives rest in the background.  They crisscross our paths making significant deposits in quiet ways.   On a recent trip to the northwest, we took time to visit the headquarters of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) in Nampa, ID.  We have been supporters of MAF for over 20 years, but my connection to this organization goes back much further.  After our visit, I began to reflect exactly how far back this connection goes.   It, in fact, it goes back to my father. As I wrote about my father’s interaction with short-term mission trips in Costa Rica, I recalled something.  When daddy first became a pilot, he looked into becoming a missionary pilot.  He loved flying and wanted to serve using this passion and his piloting skills.  He was also a really good mechanic and had an instinct for getting things to work.  It seemed a perfect fit, but was not to be.  Before finding out what was involved, he thought that there might be a way to do short-term flying missions.  The MAF mission did not have a provision for part-time pilots.  In addition, he was not a certified air-frame and power-plant aircraft mechanic, nor a certified flight instructor nor did he possess a license for instrument flying.  These are all requirements to serve on the MAF piloting team.  Daddy found another way to serve in short-term missions but, as a result of our conversations about this, the seed of aviation as a mission tool was planted inside me.

Continue reading A Visit to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)