December 17, 2009
Kenny Mathis, left, ASN volunteer for Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, talks with Janet Bressler, president of the AOPA Insurance Agency; Rick Dirks, ASN volunteer for Medicine Lodge Airport; and Karen Gebhart, president of the AOPA Foundation.
AOPA invited Wichita-area Airport Support Network volunteers to join AOPA Foundation President Karen Gebhart and other association staff at the Wichita Aero Club’s final monthly luncheon of the year on Dec. 15. The program featured senior executives from airframe and aircraft component manufacturers with facilities in the Wichita area, moderated by J. Mac McClellan, editor of Flying magazine.
Two of the volunteers—Kenny Mathis, the Airport Support Network volunteer for Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, and Rick Dirks, of Medicine Lodge Airport in Medicine Lodge, Kan.—spent a few minutes discussing the situations at their respective airports. “Everything’s fine here,” Mathis said at the Mid-Continent Airport hotel where the luncheon was held. Dirks’ experience was a little different, however.
Medicine Lodge was taking steps to build a new airport, but some landowners’ objections halted progress, Dirks explained. Now the airport is starting the planning process again—this time, with the objective of reconstructing and lengthening the runway—although its current location may provide some challenges.
The luncheon drew a record attendance of 350 people, said Dave Franson, executive director of the Wichita Aero Club. Franson said that exceeded the club’s previous record of 240 set in January, when Craig Fuller made his first public appearance as AOPA’s fourth president. The club was founded in October 2008.
Collaboration between the German government, academia, and airplane manufacturers may make future aircraft cabins more protective of pilots and passengers. The Safety Box team plans to apply auto racing technology to general aviation.
A father and his 14-year-old son were helping another pilot ferry a newly purchased aircraft from California to their home field in Virginia. The three made an overnight stop in Albuquerque before flying on to Illinois for fuel. But shortly after they parked the aircraft in Marion, Ill., they were approached by as many as 18 uniformed and non-uniformed law enforcement officers who came running toward the airplane.
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