“A few of us were standing around the hangar on a February night and decided that we really ought to get together every month or so just to get out of the house,” said Doug Rozendaal, a general aviation pilot and FAA designated pilot examiner with a hangar at Mason City (MCW). “We decided it should be simple enough that it wouldn’t seem like work. It was an excuse to get together on a somewhat regular basis, and it might even motivate me to tidy up the hangar.”
After 11 years, the Third Thursday gathering has become a staple, and regular attendees know how to make it happen.
“The first ones to get here set up the folding chairs,” Rozendaal said. “The last people to leave tear them down.”
The gathering typically draws hundreds of visitors in the summer months, especially the July event, which takes place a few days before EAA Airventure in nearby Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Scores of airplanes including antiques and warbirds park on the grass and a hard-surface ramp. Those who come bring food and drinks, and barbeque grills are abundant and expertly tended.
The event is centered at Doug and Kim Rozendaal’s hangar, but it takes place whether the couple is there or not. (John Hemann, a pilot and retired Catholic priest, is the only person with a perfect attendance record.) “This event is all about fellowship,” Rozedaal said. “That’s the reason it was started, and that’s the reason people look forward to it. We just do our best to keep it simple.”
Email [email protected]