July 11, 2014

Wichita Aero Club Presents Redbird Simulators CEO Jerry Gregoire at Thursday, July 17 Luncheon

Wichita, KS — July 10, 2014 – The Wichita Aero Club’s July luncheon will feature Jerry Gregoire, CEO of Austin, TX based Redbird Flight Simulation, the fastest growing and most innovative simulator providers in the industry. The luncheon will be held July 17 at 11:45 a.m. in the Emerald Ballroom of the Doubletree Hilton Wichita Airport Hotel.
A former executive at Pepsico and Dell, Gregoire founded Redbird in 2006 to provide flight schools with affordable, feature-rich simulators for use in pilot education. He is a single-pilot CJ driver and was the King Air owner as well as a King Air pilot. Redbird’s simulators can be used to log hours toward the private certificate and more extensively on the commercial ticket.
“Jerry will discuss the role of simulation in flight training and provide an update on the Challenge Cup event that Redbird and Flying Magazine launched at Sun ‘N Fun in April,” said Dave Franson, President of the Wichita Aero Club. “The Aero Club is pleased to provide an opportunity for the local general aviation community to hear more about the Challenge Cup. The top performers in the competition have been invited to EAA AirVenture to determine an overall champion. The leaders in each category—Precision Landings, Steep Turns, Lazy Eights, and Landings—will face off during the annual EAA gathering, with a winner to be crowned on August 3.”
“Our simulators ‘watch’ the pilot,” Mr. Gregoire explained, “measuring, coaching, adapting, scoring, and recording his or her progress. This Challenge Cup is designed in partnership with Bonnier and its network of publications, to intentionally reach beyond the pilot community. We created specific categories for Student Pilots and Non-Pilots to ensure they would be represented in this challenge, too.” Top performers in all categories have been invited to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, which begins July 28 and continues through August 3 at the Wittman Regional Airport.
WAC luncheon tickets for members are $30 and $40 for nonmembers. Tickets can be purchased online at our website, www.wichitaaeroclub.org, on the selected luncheon page under Events Schedule. Ticket purchases may also be made by calling 316.681.4471.

The Wichita Aero Club was established in 2008 to foster and promote interest in aviation, provide a forum focused on the industry’s issues and achievements and bring together those with a passion for flight in an environment that expands and enhances professional relationships and furthers cooperation and understanding.

June 19, 2014

2014 Golf Classic was a great success!

Players prepare to head out on the course for the 2014 Wichita Aero Club Golf Classic

By Nate Hinkel of KDOT Aviation

Father’s Day Sunday turned out to be the perfect day for the fifth annual Wichita Aero Club Golf Classic. After five fortunate years of playing in this tournament, it’s consistently ranked as one of my favorite rounds each year. There’s just something about playing the Crestview Country Club when the course is setup for the PGA Web.com Air Capital Classic. The excitement builds while driving down the cart path lined with banners of past tournament champions. Just a few steps in on the pristine course and you know it’s going to be a good day. Fortunately, the 17th hole grandstands were empty of spectators when my tee shot missed the par-three green on Sunday.

Missed shots aside, the 2014 WAC Golf Classic was a great success! 124 golfers enjoyed competing in a scramble format that led to prizes for the top three teams and a number of other contests. The always favorite 19th hole reception, appropriately situated just behind the 18th green was a welcomed moment to kick back and relax with a BBQ dinner and awards presentation.

Elias Peterson accepts the annual Edward W. Stimpson scholarship check from WAC President Dave Franson, WAC Board of Directors Chairman Patrick Tuttle and WAC Education Committee Chair John O'Leary. Also pictured is Elias's father, Eric Peterson.

Joining us at the 19th hole reception was Elias Peterson, recipient of the $2,000 Edward W. Stimpson Scholarship. Elias is currently a student as Kansas State University at Salina working toward a Professional Pilot degree.

The WAC Golf Classic wouldn’t be possible without the volunteers that make the event run so smoothly year after year. Over two dozen volunteers were on a mission to insure that the entire day ran smoothly for all participants. From the fast and friendly registration, to the constant flow of cold drinks and snacks, every golfer was treated like a pro. There were even volunteers stationed to assist golf carts in fording the river of Saturday night’s rain.

Wichita Aero Club events such as the Golf Classic are made possible by the numerous corporate sponsors that financially support the mission. Thank you for supporting aviation initiatives and scholarships! Sponsors of the 2014 WAC Golf Classic include:

Air Capital Insurance
Air Capital Interiors
Airbus Americas Engineering, Inc.
Allen, Gibbs & Houlik, L.C.
Appearance Group
Aviation Dynamix LLC
Aviation Engineering Services
Chauncey Studios
Doubltree Hotel
FlightSafety International
Global Parts Aero
Klenda, Austerman LLC
Labinal Power Systems
Martin Pringle
McGinty Machine Co. Inc
Millennium Concepts
Pratt & Whitney
Signature Flight Support/Signature TECHNIC
Spirit Aero Systems
Sullivan, Higdon & Sink
Wichita Airport Authority
Yingling Aviation

Players who purchased chance drawing tickets surround the 18th green as two PGA pros competed in a shootout

In addition to corporate sponsorships, over $1,500 was raised by participating in a chance drawing to win $500. Proceeds from the drawing will benefit the Edward Stimpson Scholarship Fund.

2014 Golf Classic Results:
1st place team: Jason White, Brian Howell, Erin Nicklaus, Pete McKernan
2nd place team: Don Henry, Matt Henry, Frank Lichtlin, Tony Blake
3rd place team: Craig Befort, Gene Johnson, Matt Badsky, Rod Holter
Longest Drive: Dick Lewallen
Longest Putt: Bill Zinn
Closest to Pin: Rick Puttman

The PGA Web.com Air Capital Classic tournament play took place June 19-22 at on the same Crestview Country Club course. It was the 25th year for the prestigious event. Additional information can be found at www.aircapitalclassic.com

June 16, 2014


The Wichita Aero Club is proud to present Jerry Gregoire as its July 2014 luncheon speaker. Jerry Gregoire is the owner of Redbird Flight Simulations, located in Austin, Texas. He is a former PepsiCo and Dell executive, but his passion is flying. He is a single-pilot CJ driver and was the King Air owner as well as a King Air pilot. His company, Redbird Flight Simulations, does just what the title suggests: they build flight simulators. Redbird’s simulators can be used to earn some hours toward the private certificate and more extensively on the commercial ticket. Gregoire’s simulators are ingeniously designed at a lower cost than many simulators. Through Gregoire, Redbird has been preparing pilots for the skies for years and will continue to do so for many more.
The luncheon will be July 17 at 11:45 a.m. in the Emerald Ballroom of the Doubletree Hilton Wichita Airport Hotel. Tickets for members are $30 and $40 for nonmembers. Tickets can be purchased online on the selected luncheon page under Events Schedule.

May 28, 2014

Wichita Aero Club Awards 2014 Edward W. Stimpson Scholarship to KSU-Salina’s Elias Peterson

WICHITA, KS – For the second year in a row, the Wichita Aero Club will award its Edward W. Stimpson scholarship to a Kansas State University -Salina student, Elias Peterson of Lindsborg, Kansas, during a ceremony following its annual Wichita Aero Club Golf Classic at Crestview Country Club on Sunday, June 15.  Peterson is following fellow Wildcat Bert Hutchinson of Wichita, who received the award last year.The tournament raises funds for the Aero Club’s education initiatives.

Mr. Peterson will be presented with a giant facsimile of a check for $2,000.  He is a junior, working towards a bachelor of science degree in Professional Pilot at K-State Salina.  A licensed pilot, he holds an Instrument rating and is working on his Commercial Pilot’s license. He’s also an Eagle Scout and former senior class president at Smoky Valley High School.

“I can’t express how much this scholarship means to me,” he said.  “Ever since I stepped into my grandfather’s airplane at the age of four I have wanted to fly.  This scholarship will help me realize that dream and relieve the pressure of student debt, too.  It will also permit me to spend more time working towards my eventual degree and pilot ratings so that someday I can fly for Federal Express, instead of just working as a package handler for them.  I work from 4:30 a.m.-7:30 a.m. and from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. right now.”

The scholarship honors the memory of Ed Stimpson, the late President of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association and ICAO Ambassador.  It is currently  awarded annually to a student who seek to make a significant contribution to the aviation industry upon completion of his or her education.

The scholarship presentation will be held at the 19th Hole Reception following the WAC Golf Classic.  The check will be presented by members of the Wichita Aero Club Board of Directors, including John O’Leary, vice president of engineering for Airbus Americas Engineering and Chairman of the Wichita Aero Club’s Education Committee, and Patrick Tuttle, president of ADR, Inc. and WAC Chairman of the Board.

“It’s no coincidence that a K-State Salina student is again the recipient of this award, “ explained O’Leary.  “Their aviation program is among the nation’s best and both Elias and last year’s winner, Bert Hutchinson, are outstanding students and exceptional young men.  We’re extremely pleased to present them with the Ed Stimpson scholarship.  It was created specifically to stimulate interest in and support of aviation-related curricula at learning institutions and to provide some help in defraying a portion of the recipients’ expense.  Our intent is to increase the amount of the awards as we grow the Scholarship Fund through contributions and proceeds from our fund-raising events, including our annual golf tournament and Gala.”

The Wichita Aero Club was established in 2008 to foster and promote interest in aviation, provide a forum focused on the industry’s issues and achievements and bring together those with a passion for flight in an environment that expands and enhances professional relationships and furthers cooperation and understanding.

For more information on the Wichita Aero Club, the Ed Stimpson Scholarship or events, call 316-681-4491 or visit the WAC website at www.wichitaaeroclub.org.

April 24, 2014

Doc’s Friends to Share Their Plans for its Eventual Return to the Sky

Jeff Turner, Doc’s Friends Chairman, and Tony Mazzolini, who found the deteriorating B-29 and brought it back to its birthplace, will give an update on its restoration and share their plans for its eventual return to the sky at the Wichita Aero Club May luncheon on Monday, May 12, 2014.  Later in the day, there will also be a reception at the hangar on the east side of South Oliver, opposite the Spirit AeroSystems headquarters where the Wichita-built B-29, dubbed “Doc” is being restored.

The airplane was originally part of a squadron named for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  It is being restored by volunteers, many of whom worked on B-29s at the Boeing Wichita plant during World War II and the Korean Conflict.  An afternoon Open House, for luncheon attendees and their guests, will provide visitors with the opportunity to see Doc firsthand and learn more about how to support the restoration efforts.  It will include a cocktail reception and photo opportunities, as well as a brief press conference.

The Wichita Aero Club luncheon will be held in the Doubletree Hilton at Wichita Airport Emerald Ballroom from noon until 1:30 PM.  Tickets for the luncheon are $30 for WAC members and $40 for non-members.  Both it and the evening reception are open to the public.  The afternoon Open House will begin at 4:00 p.m. and will run until 6:30 p.m. at Doc’s Hangar.  The press briefing featuring Jeff Turner, Tony Mazzolini and members of the volunteer team that is working on Doc will begin at approximately 4:30 P.M.

“This presentation by Doc’s Friends will provide the Aero Club with fascinating details about Doc’s history, the renovation process and the future plans for the B-29,” said Dave Franson, President of the Wichita Aero Club.  “We are also excited to have to opportunity to see Doc and hear the back story of this airplane, it’s previous service and the plans for its return to the skies in the not-too-distant future.”

Doc’s story began in March of 1945 at the Boeing plant in Wichita, Kansas.  Originally built by the Boeing Company in 1945, the B-29-20-BW, or B-29 Superfortress, was a one-of-a-kind airplane. The B-29 was designed and built by Boeing in Wichita and flown primarily by the U.S. Air Force at the end of World War II and then during the Korean War.

In 1987, after sitting more than 40 years in the Mojave Desert where it was a sun baked sanctuary for birds and many other desert creatures, Doc was rescued by a group of historians with a dream. The group, led by Tony Mazzolini and backed by the United States Aviation Museum, had a plan to restore the B-29 and eventually get it back into the air.  It was transported from the desert to Wichita in 2000, where  work began to restore it to flying status.  A group of Wichita business leaders founded Doc’s Friends in early 2013 with a vision to see the historic Boeing B-29 Superfortress restored to flying condition.

A new non-profit group, Doc’s Friends has taken ownership of the airplane and is leading the effort to refurbish the vintage airplane. It is believed that Doc is the last known Boeing B-29 Superfortress that is in restorable condition.

The founding Board of Directors for Doc’s Friends includes Wichita Aero Club members Jeff Turner, Lynn Nichols, Jeff Peier, Tom Bertels, Charlie Chandler, Jack Pelton and Ron Ryan, as well as Tim Buchanan, Steve Clark, and Brad Gorsuch.

In February of 2013, the airplane was moved from a storage hangar to its current active hangar space donated by Boeing.  This has allowed volunteers to resume work to restore the aircraft.  The luncheon and Open House on May 12 will also provide information on how to volunteer to work on Doc or donate to Doc’s Friends.  Additional information is available on the organization’s website, www.b-29doc.com.

April 14, 2014

Pete Reynolds Memorial Service Details

When Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Where Stearman Field — Jim Lee Hangar
What time 2:00 p.m.
Directions to the hangar

  • From Highway 254 go south on Andover Road
  • Take Andover Road to 40th Street
  • Turn left on 40th Street and go 1.25 miles
  • Jim Lee’s hangar has an observation tower and will be located on the left

​​Flowers may be sent to Lee Aerospace until Tuesday afternoon.

Lee Aerospace
9323 E 34th Street N | Wichita, KS 67226

Pete Reynolds Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Also, please don’t forget about Pete’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Tuesday, April 15. The event is scheduled from 5:30 PM until 7:30 PM and will take place at the Kansas Aviation Museum, 3350 S. George Washington Boulevard in Wichita. It will include a reception followed by the induction of Mr. Reynolds into the Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame, which is housed in the KAM facility.


April 7, 2014

Pete Reynolds Hall of Fame Induction | April 15, 2014

The Wichita Aero Club will team with the Kansas Aviation Museum (KAM) to host a special event surrounding the induction of Pete Reynolds, former Bombardier test pilot, on the evening of Tuesday, April 15. The event, scheduled from 5:30 PM until 7:30 PM will take place at the Kansas Aviation Museum, 3350 S. George Washington Boulevard in Wichita. It will include a reception followed by the induction of Mr. Reynolds into the Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame, which is housed in the KAM facility. The no-cost event is open to the public.

“This event is being held to provide the local community with the opportunity to experience some aviation history first hand and honor a local figure who helped make it,” said Dave Franson, president of the Wichita Aero Club. “We’re very pleased to be collaborating with the Kansas Aviation Museum to host this reception and induction ceremony for Pete Reynolds, who participated in the establishment of so many Learjet milestones during his long career as a test pilot. Pete epitomizes the vision and courage that all of us in the industry assign to test pilots. He’s a terrific pilot who flew numerous first flights and also established a number of time-to-climb and performance records with Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon. We hope lots of Pete’s friends and colleagues will be able to join us for this occasion at the Musuem.

“This event is part of the WAC’s efforts to expand our activities and include more members of the aviation and local community. We’re also hoping to encourage more support and involvement in the Aero Club and the Kansas Aviation Museum through this effort, as well,” Franson concluded.

Pete Reynolds had a major role in the development, testing and certification of virtually every Learjet model for more than 3 decades. A decorated Air Force pilot in the 1970s, he joined Learjet in 1973. He spent the last eight years of his tenure with Bombardier Aerospace as the Vice President of Flight Test, during which he was responsible for managing 500 employees and all flight tests conducted on Canadair, deHavilland and Learjet products. He is a fellow of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) and, in 1999, received the organization’s prestigious J.H. Doolittle Award for outstanding accomplishments in aerospace engineering and technical management. He flew eight first flights (on virtually every Learjet Model from the 24E to the 40) and holds numerous FAI World Records. Five of those were set with Neil Armstrong in Learjet 28-001 on February 19 and 20, 1979 for time to climb, altitude, and altitude in horizontal flight. He has flown more than 12,000 hours and was a 1992 Kansas Governor’s Aviation Honors recipient.

David Franson
January 28, 2014

Wichita Aero Club Announces New Scholarship Honoring Former Cessna PR Chief Dean Humphrey

The Wichita Aero Club (WAC) announced at its annual Trophy Gala on Saturday evening, January 25 that it is creating a scholarship for college or post graduate students in honor of former Cessna Public Relations Chief Dean Humphrey. The scholarship is the second created by the WAC and targeted at students who aspire to a career in aviation. The Aero Club’s other scholarship, named for former General Aviation Manufacturers Association President and International Civil Aviation Organization Ambassador Edward W. Stimpson, also provides financial assistance to college students who have declared a major or established a career path for a broad range of disciplines within the aerospace industry.

“The Wichita Aero Club Dean Humphrey Scholarship will not only honor Dean’s memory but is designed to support students who wish to follow his example into communications, administrative or other non-technical roles in aviation-related organizations,” said Dave Franson, President of the Wichita Aero Club. .”It especially fitting that it was unveiled at the fourth annual Wichita Aero Club Trophy Gala which honored Cessna Aircraft Company Chairman Emeritus Russ Meyer because Russ and Dean were colleagues and great friends throughout their time together at Cessna.”

“Dean was an exceptional communicator…and a valued friend and mentor to me when I worked for him at Cessna in the 1970’s,” Franson added. “He set the standard by which communicators in our industry were measured and it’s very gratifying to be able to honor his memory in this way. Our Education Committee will work with the Wichita Community Foundation to create the application and disseminate information on this award during the next few months and we will announce the first winner at the annual NBAA Convention in October. Like the WAC’s Ed Stimpson scholarship, the initial Dean Humphrey award will provide $2,000 to the recipient. Our intention is to increase both the amount and frequency of both these scholarships as time goes on,” he concluded. The Wichita Trophy Gala and the annual WAC Golf Classic are held each year to grow the Club’s scholarship fund.

Born in Topeka, Kansas Dean Humphrey graduated from Holton High School. His resume included serving as the Vice President of Public Relations for Cessna Aircraft Company, and as spokesperson for King Radio before that. Earlier in his career, he earned rave reviews as a broadcaster on both radio and television for KCMO in Kansas City. Four years in the Air Force and a journalism degree from Kansas University also helped shape him. But, those impressive credentials and his deep, distinctive voice aside, what made Dean outstanding was the way he made people comfortable around him. Whether dealing with inquisitive and even aggressive journalists, aircraft customers, elected officials, or helping to put on the Citation Special Olympics Airlift, Dean utilized creativity, disarming humor and attentiveness to put people at ease. He had a scholar’s grasp of the language and vocabulary, but he was a master at conveying facts in an efficient and understandable way that engendered well-deserved trust. When it came to representing his company, sharing information, or organizing the response to any situation, no one did it better than Dean. When he retired from Cessna in 1993 he was honored with the National Business Aviation Association’s Order of the Silk Scarf, presented for significant contributions to general aviation.

The Wichita Aero Club was established in 2008 to foster and promote interest in aviation, provide a forum focused on the industry’s issues and achievements and bring together those with a passion for flight in an environment that expands and enhances professional relationships and furthers cooperation and understanding. One of its primary goals is to encourage education, training and career development in aviation.

David Franson
January 2, 2014

Russ Meyer to Receive Wichita Aero Club Trophy

Wichita Aero Club Trophy Will Be Presented to Cessna Chairman Emeritus Russ Meyer!

Fourth annual award will be presented at Annual Gala on January 25, 2014.

Wichita, KS, October 22, 2013: The Wichita Aero Club announced today that the fourth annual Wichita Aero Club Trophy will be presented to former Cessna Aircraft Company Chairman Russell W. Meyer, Jr. Mr. Meyer was selected by the Club’s Selection Committee from among fifteen nominees. The WAC Trophy will be presented at the Wichita Aero Club’s annual Trophy Gala at the Doubletree Hilton Wichita Airport on the evening of Saturday, January 25, 2014.

“The selection of Russ Meyer for this award surprises no one,” noted Dave Franson, Wichita Aero Club President. “Russ’s contributions to the aviation industry and to the local community are so numerous and so extensive that it would take a book just to list them. He is, without question, a great choice for the Wichita Aero Club Trophy,” he added.

The citation which accompanied the nomination read:

During his more than 25 years as CEO of Cessna Aircraft, Russ Meyer not only led the company to pre-eminence in the global business jet industry, but his industry leadership has been proclaimed as the most far-reaching and effective in the history of general aviation.

For nearly 40 years Russ Meyer has been “the face” of Wichita’s heralded general aviation industry… and for very good reason. Under his tutelage Cessna Aircraft designed, developed, built and delivered more business jet aircraft, worldwide, than any other global manufacturer. Perhaps even more significantly, his community and industry achievements speak for themselves. Examples: (1) His innovative initiative to establish a training facility on East 21st street for unskilled workers led to jobs and hope for hundreds of Wichitans and their families. (2) His tireless efforts were instrumental in leading to Congress’ enactment of the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994, which after a decade, re-opened the doors for aircraft manufacturers to effectively produce single engine aircraft, again, creating hundreds of new area jobs.

Mr. Meyer’s well-deserved national awards include: the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy, the Collier Trophy (twice, once jointly with Cessna), and election to the National Aviation Hall of Fame. A 14,000+ hour pilot, he is type rated in all Cessna products.

A graduate of Yale and Harvard Law School, Mr. Meyer served as a Marine Corps jet fighter pilot from 1958 – 1961, practiced law in Cleveland for five years, then served as CEO of Grumman American Aviation Corporation from 1966 – 1974, before joining Cessna in 1974, rising to chairman/CEO the following year. He is also the only executive to serve as Chairman of the General Aviation Manufacturers Associaiton (GAMA) three times.

He was elected into the Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame in 1996 and was named Kansan of the Year in 1998. Mr. Meyer and his wife, Helen, have been among Wichita’s most generous philanthropists, leading and donating to causes supporting underprivileged children, education and the arts.

”We are extremely pleased to honor Russ Meyer in this way. He actually received multiple nominations for the WAC Trophy. As one of the nominations said, ‘There is no one in the history of Kansas aviation who has achieved as much for aviation and the community as has Russ Meyer. ’ We know this is one of many awards Russ has received during his extraordinary career, but we’re still looking forward to an exciting and enjoyable event in January when he is officially presented with this recognition from his many friends and neighbors in the Air Capital, ” Franson added.

The Wichita Aero Club was established in 2008 to foster and promote interest in aviation, provide a forum focused on the industry’s issues and achievements and bring together those with a passion for flight in an environment that expands and enhances professional relationships and furthers cooperation and understanding.

The WAC Trophy is awarded annually to a living person, group, or existing organization with a strong relationship to the greater Wichita area, who have distinguished him, her or themselves in the field of aviation or aerospace within the most recent calendar year or during a cumulative career of significant achievements and contributions. For more information on the Wichita Aero Club, the January 25 Gala or other Wichita Aero Club events, call 316-681-4491 or visit the WAC website at www.wichitaaeroclub.org.

Partial Summary of Russ Meyer’s Career:

Chairman, CEO and President of Cessna from 1975-2003
Named Cessna Chairman Emeritus in 2005
Chairman of the Board of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) in 1974, 1982 and 1994
Chairman of the FAA’s Management Advisory Council from 2005-2008
Awarded the Collier Award twice, once in 1986 and again in 1996
Awarded the Meritorious Service Award from the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) in 1995
Awarded the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy in 1995
Awarded the George S. Dively Award for Corporate Public Initiative from Harvard
University for creating Cessna’s 21st Street Training Program in Wichita
Led passage of the 1994 General Aviation Revitalization Ace (GARA) that limited aircraft liability
Originated the Citation Special Olympics Airlift where Citation owners transported athletes to the National Special Olympics games
Inducted into the Kansas Aviation Hall of Fame in 1996
Named “Kansan of the Year” in 1998
Inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2009

David Franson
December 5, 2013

Congressional Priorities Force Changes In ON-AIR SUMMIT; Supplier Exec Panel Will Replace Elected Officials

And then there were none. As the legislative calendar on Capitol Hill began to move to the right last month, the two Senators who had been invited to serve on the Wichita Aero Club’s ON AIR SUMMIT on December 16 contacted the WAC office to offer their regrets and say they wouldn’t be able to participate. Then Congressman Mike Pompeo’s Chief of Staff voiced a strong concern that the Kansas Fourth District Representative wouldn’t be able to attend, either. When that was confirmed the next day, that left only the head of the House General Aviation Caucus, Representative Sam Graves from Missouri. He held on until it became obvious that both houses of the United States Congress would be extending their schedules to be in session on Monday, December 16, 2013. And then there were none.

Regrettably, the extension of the Congressional sessions has forced the Wichita Aero Club to revise its plan to how the elected officials at it’s annual On-Air Summit at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel at Wichita Airport. Instead, thanks to some eleventh hour flexibility on their part, three representatives from aviation suppliers agreed to make up the panel. Daniel McCoy, Aviation Reporter for the Wichita Business Journal will continue as the moderator of the discussion.

First sequestration and the government shutdown threatened to extend the legislative calendars in the US House and Senate…and then the problems with Obamacare created a host of unanticipated hearings and a flurry of legislation that dashed virtually any hope of seeing the Congress end its current session before December 16–the date of our ON-AIR SUMMIT. The panel, which had taken months to put together, fell victim to unpredictable circumstances. It became obvious that we were not going to be able to proceed with our plans to discuss key issues with members of the Senate and House General Aviation caucuses. While it’s very disappointing to all of us, including members who had already reserved seats for the ON-AIR SUMMIT, there is some good news, too.

We have put together a revised program that will be both interesting and informative. It will be an opportunity to hear from leaders of the companies that supply many of the components and systems used by the industry’s OEMs. We’ve heard from the senior execs of those OEMs in past ON-AIR SUMMITS so now we’ll have the chance to hear about the unique set of challenges and regulations their suppliers face and how they deal with them. Their performance definitely influences the efficiency and success of the airframe manufacturers they serve.

Making up the panel for the Supplier panel will be:
Woody Cottner, founder and vice president of engineering for Global Aviation Technologies, a Wichita-based engineering, consulting and manufacturing operation that provides aircraft owners and operators with component and avionics upgrades;

Jason Cox, Chief Technical Officer for Cox Machine, Inc., a long-time, family-owned provider of machined and fabricated parts and assemblies for the aerospace industry;

Rod Wilson, President of Air Capital Interiors which offers services ranging from complete aircraft interior refurbishments with custom designs and materials to simpler furniture and upholstery repairs.

All of these panelists are industry veterans who deal with diverse customers and concerns. They cover a broad spectrum of the general aviation industry and can offer perspectives from the other side of the supply and demand equation when compared to those of the OEM CEOs from whom we heard last year.

The Wichita Aero Club will honor existing reservations for the December 16 luncheon that were made in anticipation of the ON-AIR SUMMIT. Those wishing to change their plans or get more information on the new program can connect on-line to the Aero Club’s website at www.wichitaaeroclub.org or call 681-4471. Reservations and information can also be obtained by emailing info@wichitaaeroclub.org. The cost to attend the luncheon is $30 for members and $40 for non-members.