ASN volunteers network at Wichita luncheon

December 17, 2009

Wichita Aero Club 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.