Wichita Aero Club
October 11, 2017

Lynn Nichols and Yingling Aviation Will Receive Eighth Wichita Aero Club Trophy

The eighth annual Wichita Aero Club Trophy will be presented to a Chief Executive Officer who led the revival of a virtually dormant business to impressive levels of success—even during an industry-wide recession—and to his team of employees at Yingling Aviation, which currently holds a well-deserved reputation as one of the nation’s leading fixed base operations, maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities and parts suppliers.


“Yingling is definitely a familiar name to Cessna owners all over the world and, of course, in more recent days to Beechcraft and other aircraft operators,” noted Dave Franson, Wichita Aero Club President. “They were actually the first Cessna dealers and celebrated their 70th anniversary in 2016 and they’re still the largest Cessna parts supplier in the world. But all of that history might have been lost if Lynn Nichols hadn’t rescued what had become a floundering enterprise by 1999. He brought his exceptional energy, business acumen, a sense of direction and proven principles that had an obvious, positive impact and have allowed Yingling to grow and develop new opportunities even during  a difficult period for general and business aviation.”

The citation which accompanied Mr. Nichols’ and Yingling’s nomination reads:

For providing exceptional services, exemplary business practices, job-generating initiatives and creative alternatives that advance both the industry and the community, Lynn Nichols and Yingling Aviation have achieved notable success during a difficult business cycle for general and business aviation and are deserving of the Wichita Aero Club Trophy.

The nomination stated that Nichols literally “rescued” Yingling from imminent closure and has brought it to the point that it is now one of the industry’s leading FBOs, maintenance and service facilities, and the “go-to” destination for a broad range of products and services, ranging from interior modifications, to aircraft overhauls, to propeller services to AOG parts.

It went on to note that “Yingling continues to add solutions to the industry’s major challenges, developing new maintenance procedures and programs that extend the lives of legacy aircraft to introducing affordable remanufactured airplanes that make it possible for flight schools flying clubs and individuals to pursue additional training and a new generation of student pilots. Yingling gained unparalleled experience maintaining Cessna’s line of propeller-driven aircraft, which ranged from the early two-place Model 120s and 140s all the way to the turboprop Caravans and Conquests during its seven decades as one of the world’s leading service facilities for the entire line of Cessna products. In 2015, it also became an authorized service center for Beechcraft propeller driven airplanes. The addition of the Bonanza and Baron products came as no surprise, since Yingling has, throughout its history, been involved in a continual expansion of its services and has grown its capacity and capabilities in engine, airframe, avionics, propeller and parts support to compliment the strong background and reputation it developed as leaders in interior modifications. The company previously grew that enterprise to include other than Cessna products, so the Textron Aviation acquisition was a logical opportunity to extend their industry leading maintenance and service capabilities to cover Beechcraft’s line of piston propeller driven aircraft, as well.”

Yingling is an FAA and EASA Approved Part 145 repair station. It is a factory authorized  service provider for Avidyne, Bendix/King, Chelton, Garmin, Honeywell, L3, NAT, PS Engineering, Rockwell Collins, Sandel and Genesys Aerosystems avionics and operates McCauley, MT Propeller and Sensenich factory authorized prop shops. The facility, located on Wichita’s Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport, also offers one of the country’s most popular pilot shops, the Aviator’s Attic, a source for just about everything a pilot needs, including aviation-related gifts, training manuals, books, handheld avionics, and apparel and is home to a Subway Cafe, too.

Lynn Nichols continues to grow Yingling’s business while also serving the community. He is a past chairman of the Wichita Chamber of Commerce and serves on the boards of several local business and charities, including DOC’s FRIENDS, the group involved with the restoration, return to flight and finding a permanent hangar and home for the Wichita-built B-29.

“Lynn’s long-time service and commitment to the community of Wichita, his leadership in the aviation industry, and his noteworthy and ongoing success make him a highly deserving candidate for the Wichita Aero Club trophy,”  stated Jeff Peier, Chairman of the Wichita Aero Club Board. The Trophy will be awarded to Mr. Nichols in January, 2018. Details of the event will be announced in the near future.

Previous winners of the Wichita Aero Club Trophy are:

  • Velma Wallace 2011
  • Jeff Turner, Spirit AeroSystems 2012
  • John O’Leary, Airbus Americas 2013
  • Russell W. Meyer, Jr. 2014
  • Al Higdon, 2015
  • DOC’s Friends Volunteers, 2016
  • Paul Bowen, 2017

Established in 2008 to foster and promote interest in aviation and provide a forum focused on the industry’s issues and achievements, the Wichita Aero Club brings those with a passion for flight together 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 themselves in the field of aviation or aerospace within the most recent calendar year or during a cumulative career of significant achievement and contribution.

Wichita Aero Club
October 9, 2017

September WAC Breakfast Reminds It’s Hip to be a Square (or Circle, or Triangle…)



by Nate Franson  


Held at the Hereford House in Andover, KS, the breakfast was sponsored by GlobalParts.aero and was the opening session of their annual day-long employee retreat. Attending at the invitation of the Aero Club, members of the Cessna 190/195 Owners Association who had flown more than 40 of the vintage Cessna single engine airplanes to nearby Stearman Field for their annual Fly-In, joined Aero Club members and GlobalParts employees for a breakfast buffet, meet-and-greet, and a brief update and welcome message by Aero Club President Dave Franson before being treated to Connie Podesta’s monologue on the importance of  recognizing and effectively leveraging differences in personality and preference when it comes to successfully getting along.

After teasing a 300-slide PowerPoint marathon, Podesta pivoted into her actual presentation, wherein she encouraged attendees to draw four shapes in the air – square, circle, triangle, and “squiggle” – before choosing the one with which they most identify. She then prompted each “shape-group” to stand and be recognized in turn, while offering humorous insight into basic personality traits that each group typically exhibits.

It’s impossible to do justice to Ms. Podesta’s witty repartee during this very active, audience participation segment of her engaging, hour-long opening segment but she basically stated that:  Squares tended to be “square”,  rigid, organized and straightforward. Triangles were likewise typically straightforward, driven and tending toward perfectionism. Circles were the gregarious pleasers, talkative types, while squiggles were the more wild, creative and authority-bucking mavericks. Or, at least, that’s the way Connie described them—and as it turned out, she seemed to possess an uncanny seventh sense that made it tough to argue with her!

The main thrust of such an exercise was to open up dialogue about how different personalities relate to one another and to inspire more effective collaboration between potentially disparate points of view. While such a presentation may eschew the familiar industry-focused discussion of most Aero Club speakers, it served as a welcome and important reminder that regardless of our roles and responsibilities in the aviation community, as professionals we must always seek to understand and overcome our potential differences with colleagues, collaborators, and clients. Fortunately, Podesta was able to do this all in humorous fashion and made for a highly entertaining event. (As an aside,  I couldn’t help but think how her well-supported characterizations of the various types would make for an extremely interesting Cockpit Resource Management session at the next Safety Standdown…especially when you add in her dry humorous descriptions.)

The vintage Cessna 190/195 flyers and their families and friends who made the trip to Wichita for the weekend helped balloon the crowd for the Aero Club/ GlobalParts.aero Employee Retreat Breakfast to nearly 180 people. While the GlobalParts team stayed around for more of Connie Podesta’s wise  counsel, the Fly-in visitors and some of their Aero Club hosts returned to Stearman Field in Benton where the array of 60+ year old shiny Cessna single engine airplanes lined the runway for nearly half of its length. The full cantilever wing, conventional gear, radial engine aircraft were built in Wichita by Cessna from 1947 until 1954 and served as “Businessliners” and in the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Army and the Army National Guard.  Several of the visitors sported military paint schemes and designations. (See pix).

The November Aero Club luncheon is currently being finalized, with details to be announced at a later date. The next scheduled event is the annual On-Air Summit, December 12, at 11:30 AM.