Wichita Aero Club
January 8, 2017

Look Ahead More Than Back.

Special thanks to Ashley Bowen Cook for the contribution via Blue Sky Aviation News!

When charting your course, consider where you’ve been. But don’t dwell on those experiences.

Bogging yourself down in what was hinders thoughts of what can be. Position yourself carefully and purposefully with knowledge of the past and a vision of where you want to go.

Think of Janus – ancient Roman god of beginnings, transitions, and endings – depicted with two heads, one viewing the future, and one peering into the past. Learn from his balanced approach. He does not appear confused, but centered by insight.

It can be the same with your marketing. A successful strategy considers both past experiences and future hopes. And then, launches with confidence. SmartSky Networks began a journey of a lifetime in 2009.

It brought together a team of industry-leading telecommunications and aviation professionals to launch an inflight connectivity revolution. They built on past successes but stayed open to new ways to overcome entrenched competition. This future-forward focus puts them on track to for a 2017 nationwide network roll out.

You are here

Take stock of the current situation and ask the relevant questions about how you arrived at this juncture. Who was the intended audience? What was the message? Did you make the hoped for connection? Answer with unflinching honesty and don’t gloss over failures. Apply lessons learned along your long and winding road to correct or to confirm your direction.

Executive AirShare got its start in 2000, growing out of a highly reputable fixed-base operation in Wichita, Kansas. Now the nation’s third-largest fractional aircraft provider, AirShare doesn’t limit itself to the nation’s heartland. From its operational centers throughout the Central United States and Great Lakes regions, customers fly all over the United States and into the Caribbean, Mexico, Latin America and Canada. It’s grown by developing a do-it-right, get-it-done culture that puts shareowners first.

Get packing

Prepare for the road ahead. Figure out what kind of creative will be deployed. Consider what worked before. What life can be infused into the strategy. Plot a strategy for leveraging social media and other integrated marketing platforms. Employ a thorough, critical review. Stay on track. Keep the list concise and focused. The way forward will be clear.

Aviation Partners stands apart as a leader in advanced winglet technology. Founder, CEO and aviation legend Joe Clark continually seeks efficiencies to keep aviation on the cutting edge of green technology. That effort extends to Aviation Partners’ outreach, appropriately targeted to its tech-savvy and highly mobile target audience.

A pocket full of sunshine

Rainy days come. Draw from previous wins to maintain motivation and stoke energy for you and your team. Recall the greatest risk that reaped a monumental reward. Let these experiences spur you on and keep the project moving forward. They can keep you from stalling out or worse – kicking into reverse.

Perhaps nothing underscores the value of perseverance more than Glacier Girl, the jewel in Rod Lewis’ impressive Air Legends warbird collectioin. In July 1942, this aircraft (and seven other warbirds), low on fuel, crash-landed on Greenland’s vast ice cap. In 1992, Glacier Girl was taken from its wheels-up position, removed section by painstaking section through shafts carved 25 stories (268 feet) into the ice. The sole rescued survivor of the entire squadron. Since returning to the air in 2002 before a crowd of 20,000, this P-38F Lightning has thrilled thousands more at air shows and events.

Lessons learned

Draw upon the insights of others. Collectively, your teammates know more than you. Collaborate and aha moments will come. Take the time needed to share knowledge so you learn from and don’t repeat mistakes.

Look back at your best work, but don’t live on past glory. Face forward and you may find your best work before you.

Wichita Aero Club
December 6, 2016

The Perfect Gift for the Aviation Lover.

A WAC Membership is the Perfect Stocking Stuffer!

Gift giving can be super tough. What to get the person who has everything? Every toy, every gadget, every… everything. We have an idea that might get you bonus points this holiday season.

What if, instead of loading them with stuff, you indulged their passion? Whether they’ve shown a little bit of interest in aviation, or have deep rooted affection for it, a membership to the Wichita Aero Club is the perfect gift. Your aviation aficionado can make as much of it as they want. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits, of which there are many:

Gold Wing Member Status 

Thanks to an amazing partnership with local businesses called the Gold Wing club, we’re able to offer some really great local discounts on things like hotels, fine restaurants, Tornado Transit and even a local shooting range and training facility, Thunderbird Firearms Academy. Catch up on all the juicy details here, but this alone makes a WAC membership incredibly enticing! Who doesn’t like a little extra status around town?

Networking Opportunities

Whether aviation is a pastime or ambition, the Wichita Aero Club events present ample opportunity to network with others in the industry. Learn from those who have been around for years. Those who have risen to the top. Those who are well on their way. Hear their stories, shake their hands, store their business cards in your wallet. Find out where you fit by taking a seat next to someone who can help you find the most exciting, thrilling and comfortable chair around.

Likeminded People

Consider our mission statement: The Wichita Aero Club was established to foster and promote interest in aviation, to provide a forum that focuses on the industry’s issues and achievements, and to bring together those with a passion for flight in an environment that expands and enhances professional relationships and furthers cooperation and understanding. Everything the Club does has these goals and values in mind. To say the people involved are passionate about aviation might be an understatement… it’s more like they eat, breathe and dream about it in one way or another. If you or someone you know might thrive in an aviation-enriched environment, a Wichita Aero Club membership is the absolute perfect place to start.

What’s the Next Step? 

So, have you thought of someone who fits the bill for a membership? That young family member who mentioned he’d love to study aviation? Your secret santa co-worker who has a model Cessna 182 on their desk? Or maybe you want to convince your boss to get your company more involved in the community. That’s fantastic! Now you’re wondering how much it costs, and what the next step is. We’re glad you asked.

There are lots of different levels of membership, and you can get details on all of them over on the signup page, but a corporate membership is $1,000 annually, and an individual membership is only $100 annually. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s that affordable!

The sign up process is really simple, too. You can pay right online, and we’ll send you the material you can gift. Ready?

Go here to make someone smile this Christmas.

We’re happy to answer any questions you have along the way. Just shoot a note to


Wichita Aero Club
November 30, 2016

In Case You Missed It: Doc Was On CBS’ ‘Sunday Morning’

Doc has gotten some exciting exposure recently! In case you missed it earlier this month, check out the video of Doc hitting the skies, as told by CBS’ weekend show, ‘Sunday Morning.”

Wichita Aero Club
October 31, 2016

Aerospace Outlook from the Annual Kansas Economic Outlook Conference.

The 37th Annual Kansas Economic Outlook Conference took place on October 6, 2016.

About the CEDBR.

The mission of the Center for Economic Development and Business Research (CEDBR) is to enhance the region’s economic growth and development by:collecting, analyzing and disseminating business, economic and demographic information
conducting applied business, economic and demographic research
serving as a vital link between the business and economic development community, Wichita State University and the W. Frank Barton School of Business.

The CEDBR strives to be recognized by the business and economic development community as: a reliable and responsive source for business, economic and demographic information, and as an essential partner in the region’s economic development process by conducting high-quality, objective research on issues related to the community’s current and future economic well-being.

Thanks to WSU TV for producing this video!

David Franson
October 17, 2016

Business Aviation: Situationally Aware by Ashley Bowen Cook

First at a Richard Aboulafia-led aerospace panel at Wichita State University’s annual economic outlook conference, then at the Wichita Aero Club October meeting featuring John and Martha King. Both shared insights I’ve been mulling over.

Let’s start with the aerospace panel and Aboulafia’s reassurance that his forecast would be more positive this time. He said his earlier projection when the global aviation downturn hit in 2008 “falls under the category when bad things happen to good people.” Then just to remind us how bad it was, he showed an aircraft delivery chart full of downward lines and said, “That red line at the bottom, that’s what happened to Wichita.” The difference this time around, he said, is that the strong correlation between oil prices and large aircraft has less effect on Wichita’s small and midsize markets. He practically had us dancing in the aisles when he added that the serious body blow to Wichita’s small and midsize markets is a thing of the past. The worries today, he said are more for big aircraft, such as those manufactured in Savannah.

Aboulafia’s chart for aircraft production from 2006 to 2025 shows growth. That steady, light-blue ribbon represents business aviation. Not soaring, but certainly holding its own. Steady as she goes.

Fellow panelists Jason Cox and Dave Franson acquitted themselves well, as always. Franson recounted why Wichita will remain the Air Capital – not the least of which is that we’ve manufactured more planes than anywhere on the planet – more than 300,000 since the 1920s. Cox, a third-generation aviation supplier, spoke about the fourth revolution or the internet of things having arrived “like a teenager on Instagram.” And, it’s obvious Cox welcomes the innovation these new technologies and possibilities bring.

At the Wichita Aero Club luncheon following this panel, John and Martha King provided a global picture of flight training. John started things off with a bold statement, “Flight training determines the future of aviation.” Yes, they’re apt to be biased since flight training is their business, but they also bring a perspective molded by decades of experience. “Flying made the world accessible to us and changed our view of the world forever,” said John.

After coming from a panel more focused on the manufacture of aircraft, it was good to be reminded of the importance of the human element – specifically pilots. Having enough of them to fly our fleets and training that keeps them aloft.

“Experience is a lousy teacher,” John said. “It gives the test first then teaches the lesson after . . . We need to develop a new risk-management vocabulary and system.”

As always, technology keeps things interesting. “Here come the drones, and they’re a big deal,” said Martha. In less than a year, more than 550,000 unmanned aircraft were registered. Manned aircraft number less than half that. And the drones keep getting better, with huge advances in drone see-and-avoid technology. “Boy is it coming fast,” said Martha. Both Kings encouraged the aviation community to welcome remote pilots into the fold, but they acknowledged that privacy concerns make us look at operators skeptically. “We have a fascination and a fear of anything that rises up into the third dimension,” said John.

David Franson
October 10, 2016

Flight Training Royalty Provides Down to Earth Presentation at October Luncheon.

Thank you, Kings!

by Grant Boyd: Wichita Aero Club Intern, WSU Sophomore

“We landed the aircraft and there were sirens and lights going on behind us while the cops told the pilot to open the door slowly and put their hands up.” Now this evokes quite an image in my head. What exactly did this pilot do to receive such a warm welcome? While they never said specifically what they did to get such attention, it was not for anything bad. If it had been these folks would not be the aviation leaders that they are today. The perpetrators in question were John and Martha King. Now if you are a pilot, I am sure this name rings a bell. Well, if it doesn’t-it should.

Why should it? It should because they have taught almost half of all pilots how to fly. Their successful courses (and last name) have led to them fittingly being labeled Flight Instruction Royalty. As in flying, the King’s never stop learning. They are on a constant quest of knowledge which they then pass along to their customers. Not only do they seek knowledge, they “make” knowledge. They are active in partnering with the FAA in making new programs that allow for safer operation of general aviation aircraft. Their hope in making safety a priority and reducing the number of accidents in general aviation is that more people will come around to aviation.

John and Martha King at WAC's October LuncheonAlong with the future oriented mindset of increasing safety, The Kings also talked about other trends in the industry. One such of these being the drone industry. After only eight months of drones requiring to be registered by the government, they almost outnumber the amount of registered manned aircraft by 100%. That is large amount, but the number will only rise in coming years. The expectation is that there will be millions of drones sold next year and that has interesting consequences for manned pilots and the industry as a whole. Although they agreed that there may be a divide between manned and unmanned pilots, The Kings said that manned pilots need to welcome drone operators into their community. They said by doing that, even in small numbers, they will reduce the pilot shortage in America; which is a very big problem.

The pilot shortage in America was a big topic discussed by The Kings and it is obviously something near and dear to their heart, being pilots and leaders in the industry. They brought up other ideas to bring in new pilots. They compared how the United States certifies pilots versus certification standards in other countries. There are pros and cons on how other countries do their pilot training and certification. There was a lot to consider in their rules and how we can apply them to the United States to garner more pilots in the industry.

There are a lot of problems facing the aviation industry currently. From drones to Airmen Certification Standards, The Kings talked about the issues. They are playing an active role in finding solutions, as well. It was a pleasure to have Flight Instruction Royalty come and speak to the Wichita Aero Club.

David Franson
September 27, 2016

We Can’t Wait To Watch You Fly!

Career Connections Are Waiting For You At WAC.

If you have a passion for aviation and are wondering where to get started, you’re in the right place! The Wichita Aero Club will inform, connect and empo

wer you straight to the career of your dreams. Aviation comes in all different shapes and sizes… and so do the Aero Club’s members. We’re individuals, big companies, small companies, old and young. But there’s one thing we all have in common. We love this industry! And what do you know, we’re lucky enough to live in the center of it all – the Air Capital of the World.

First of all, you should know that membership with the Wichita Aero Club gets you exclusive access to events and information. You want to network? Perfect. We host monthly luncheons where you can mingle, make incredible connections with those who have been in the industry for years, and listen to featured guests share their insights. We’re even gearing up to host John and Martha King for our October luncheon at Crestview Country Club! Plus, we get really excited about things like local flight training education opportunities, and restoring the historical B-29 named Doc.

So you should definitely consider membership with the WAC. You won’t regret it, and you’ll make some lifelong friendships in the process. It’s cost effective, too: individual membership is $100 per year. And if you’re a student, it’s only $35 per year! Want to convince your company to sign up? That’s fantastic – we’d love to have you. Get more information here!

Before you go, we want to share one more thing. In addition to monthly events, we also offer yearly scholarships to help promote financial assistance to aviation-related institutions. So get in the mix, and maybe even get some extra cash to help make your aviation dreams come true.

If you want it to happen, so do we!

David Franson
September 12, 2016

Join Flight Training Royalty for Lunch on October 6th!

Wichita, KS—John and Martha King may be  among the most recognizable people in general aviation.  Literally millions of GA pilots have taken flight instruction from them.  They certainly are two flight instructors who have received more recognition—as in honors and awards—than any others, because their video flight training programs are not only exceptionally popular, they’re also exceptionally good!  King School students start as beginners and can carry on until they become Air Transport Pilots or Certified Flight Instructors themselves.  John and Martha have helped more than half a million pilots reach their aviation goals and their courses are so effective that more than 98% of their customers pass their FAA exams on their first  try!  No wonder they’re considered Flight Training “royalty.”  Of course, having the surname “King” probably doesn’t hurt either!  Whatever the reason, they’re bona fide experts on what’s happening when it comes to learning to fly—a subject that’s always been an extremely important one in Wichita, where more flight training aircraft have been built than anywhere else in the world. Join Us for Lunch! On Thursday, October 6, 2016 at noon, John and Martha will address the Wichita Aero Club luncheon in the Tapestry Dining Room at the Crestview Country Club located at 1000 North 127th Street East, between 13th Street and Central Avenue. It will be the first time that the WAC has met at Crestview for a luncheon.  The Club is the site for the Aero Club’s annual Golf Classic each June. “We’re looking forward to hearing from the Kings on October 6,” said Dave Franson, president of the Wichita Aero Club, “because they are literally the world’s leaders in flight education. They have made pilot education available to the masses by putting their training seminars—which are exceptionally clear and easy to follow—on video and staying abreast of the technological advances and making those videos compatible with virtually all the multimedia devices. They are the first and only husband and wife to both hold every category and class of FAA pilot and instructor certificates.  That also means they know what is happening in the flight instruction marketplace—how it is changing and evolving. How simulation is affecting it; how the aging  fleet and the rising cost of new aircraft is impacting it. They certainly can offer some insight into the perceived future pilot  shortage as the number of military and civilian trained pilots declines and the industry faces the concept of UAVs and drones in a re-defined and re-regulated next generation airport and airspace environment. I’m not trying to put a lot of pressure on them to address a lot of difficult issues, but these are two people for whom I have tremendous respect and I’m really anxious to hear their insight into the future of flight training because it all starts there.” The Wichita Aero Club luncheon will begin at noon at Crestview.  Ample parking is available at the Country Club, which is located approximately half a mile east of the intersection of 13th Street and K-96 in East Wichita. The main entrance to the site is midway between 13th Street and Central on 127th Street East.  Parking is available both to the north and south of the main Clubhouse. The luncheon is being held on the same day as the Economic Outlook Conference hosted by Wichita State University’s Center for Economic Development and Business Research  (CEDBR) at Century II, which will also feature an aerospace panel  consisting of Teal Group Analyst Richard Aboulafia, WAC Member and Cox Machine President, Jason Cox and WAC President Dave Franson.  The EOC Aerospace event will conclude before the mid-morning break and the entire conference will end at 11:30 AM.  Attendees of the EOC who wish to attend the WAC luncheon will be offered the WAC member discount of 25% simply by showing their name badge or ticket at the door. Cost of the WAC luncheon is $40 for non-members, $30 for members. Tickets may be purchased at the door or on-line at using Pay Pal or credit card.

Questions? Call us at 316.641.5962 or 316.665.2699.

David Franson
August 18, 2016

Wichita Aero Club Members Make The Most of Annual AirVenture

Annual Aviation Pilgrimage to Oshkosh Offers Plenty of Humor, Too

Since the 1920’s Wichita has laid claim to the title of “Air Capital of the World” without much of an argument from any other community on the planet.  After all, we’ve built most of the world’s airplanes here.  But, for much of the past half century, more  of those airplanes show up in the same place during the same week each year at a small town in Wisconsin that is otherwise known for baby and child wear.  Of course, I’m referring to Oshkosh, by gosh!  Every summer since 1970 literally thousands of airplanes turn Oshkosh’s Wittman Regional Airport into the world’s busiest.  They’re parked on virtually every available patch of grass and open ramp space and the adjacent fields and would-be pasture or crop land becomes America’s busiest RV park and campground. Oshkosh’s population balloons from 66,000 to over half a million for most of the month of July.

 Wichita doesn’t abdicate the “Air Capital” title during the annual Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture each summer—it just sort of “lends” it to Oshkosh.  In fact, one of our own residents, Jack Pelton, is Chairman and CEO of the host organization, EAA, so the festivities in Wisconsin have a strong Wichita connection.   Needless to say, our local companies are extremely well represented. has an impressive presence with an exhibit on the grounds, a display in one of the hangars, and the company hosted a party for attendees on Wednesday evening, as well.  In addition to displaying a wide array of products, including Gill batteries and Zodiac oxygen masks which it currently has  in inventory at multiple sites worldwide, the company also displayed a beautifully restored Meyers 200 airplane at its exhibit and announced that it has created a Meyers 200 Racing Team. owns the type certificate and production rights to the Meyers 200.  Three of the single engine airplanes entered the AirVenture Cup Race this year and swept the first three spots in their category.


Textron Aviation also showed off their new single engine turboprop and announced it will be called the Denali, Yingling Aviation unveiled an enhanced  remanufactured Ascend 172 with  Garmin 500 avionics installed, BeLite Aircraft showed off its latest model, the Skydock, and RC Allen Instruments and Kelly Manufacturing were  among Wichita exhibitors on hand.

While there’s lots of business being transacted at EAA AirVenture, there are numerous instances when it’s hard to keep a straight face, too.  For example:

  1. There are various ways to arrive at the airshow—by airplane, by car, motorcycle, RV or even by boat on Lakes Winnebago or Butte de Morts, or Winneconne.  All involve some type of line–even in the air.  On the Sunday afternoon before the show opened we counted 26 airplanes in a queue for the E-W runway as we drove into Oshkosh from Green Lake.  The crowded skies mean controllers opt for more informal and rapid-fire delivery of clearances and sequencing.  You might hear something like “95 Romeo, you’re 11th in line behind a red Comanche.  Land long on the final third of runway 09.”  This can be problematic if you don’t know what a Comanche looks like.  You find yourself thinking “I’m supposed to be following a Red Comanche but I think I’m behind an Apache…That’s the wrong Native American–The one I’m following is sending smoke signals, though!”
  2. On the ground, it’s the same thing, only you find yourself following all manner of  high profile campers and RVs.  You can’t see over or around them to read signs or pick out landmarks  I was trying to go to Parking Lot B but I ended up on Highway B headed to Fond Du Lac instead.
  3. Once we got to the parking lot we stuffed our things in a backpack and headed to the front gate where a vast army of volunteer security people checked them for contraband.  On the first day, I took my computer, a camera, a spare battery, a change of shoes, an umbrella, sun screen, a pair of binoculars, a rain poncho and some snacks.  It took me 20 minutes to get to the checkpoint and 5 minutes to get everything in and out of the pack. By day 3, I had my cell phone and some Chapstick.  I even left my wallet at home;  I loaded a credit card on my smart phone and stuck a $20 bill in my sock. I learned to operate on the “Rule of 2”:  After 2 days of carrying “necessities,” anything that can’t be consumed in the 2 hours is probably 2 heavy 2 carry 2 far!
  4. There are no such things as complete and well-understood conversations at EAA after about 12:30 PM.  That’s when performers and aircraft start taking off in large numbers to position themselves for participation in the afternoon’s air show performances.  Whether they’re solo aerobatic performers or part of the elaborate aerial ballets that range from mass fly-bys featuring every known T-33 in the Western Hemisphere to full re-enactments of the attack on   Pearl Harbor punctuated by massive explosions of ordnance on or near the active runway, every demonstration flown at AirVenture between 1 PM and 5 PM each afternoon generates decibel levels that can be measured in Milwaukee, 75 miles away.
  5. The interruption leaves nothing to do except buy ice cream–two large scoops in a waffle cone cost the same as a seat on the board of Ben & Jerry’s, but it’s irresistible on a hot day.  The ice cream melts faster than it can be eaten but it provides a reasonable means of tracking children if you know what flavors they ordered. Just follow the drips!
  6. Even the sky divers are loud because they have PA announcers who talk constantly.   Thanks to technological improvements, the aerobatic pilots can also provide commentary on their routines while they’re flying them–but it’s done while they’re pulling 3Gs and over a headset that’s fed through the public address system so it’s about as easy to understand as the drive-through at a McDonald’s during a thunderstorm!
  7. Attending EAA AirVenture is like going to a State Fair on steroids that has been invaded by gigantic buzzing insects with announcers who are occasionally interrupted by lumbering jet propelled cities with wings;  they dwarf all the other flying traffic. This year the massive attractions included the Martin Mars water bomber which was damaged when it actually scraped the bottom of Lake Winnebago while scooping up water for a demonstration of its ability to dump massive quantities of water (and apparently, lake bottom) on a specified target.  In this case, the target was the runway at Wittman Regional  Airport, where the assembled spectators who had escaped the afternoon rain showers the previous afternoon, were provided with “bonus coverage” when the giant water bomber treated them like front row audience members at a “Shamu” show at Seaword and doused them with 70,000 gallons of lake water!
  8. The other BIG attraction–as in larger than any of the other aircraft–was the C5-A, which was parked on Boeing Centennial Square with both its nose and tail access ramps opened for public viewing.  AirVenture attendees approaching on Celebration Way could see through the giant transport.  From a distance it looked like the Holland Tunnel with wings!Once EAA is over, Oshkosh returns to a semblance of normal or what for Wisconsin is considered normal. That’s where cheese, beer and the Packers replace airplanes as the most prominent things on the minds of the locals.  Every Thursday at around noon, fresh cheese curds or “Squeaky cheese” is delivered to specific grocery and convenience stores (and even a few select gas stations).  The knowledgeable cheesehead are on site waiting when the delivery men show up.  They happily consume the cheese curds, which squeak audibly when chewed, head off to the local pub for a couple of Milwaukee’s finest, to watch coverage of the Pack on the early news and remind each other that they own a couple of  shares of stock in the team.  Oh, and they relinquish their month-long title as the “Air Capital of the World” and return it to its  rightful owners in Wichita…at least until the same time next year!
David Franson
July 20, 2016


Wichita Restoration Effort Celebrates With Short Flight on July 17. 

Doc takes to the air after 60 years

At approximately 8:50 AM CDT on Sunday morning, the worldwide fleet of flyable B-29s doubled when “Doc” lifted off from McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas culminating a restoration project that began sixteen years ago at the factory where the airplane was built initially in 1944.  Piloted by the Commemorative Air Force’s Charlie Tilghman and co-pilot David Oliver. , “Doc” joined “Fifi” as the only two Superfortresses of the 3,888 produced  between 1943 and 1946 which are airworthy.  “Doc” returned to the air 60 years after its last flight in 1956 when it was ferried to China Lake in California, decommissioned and hauled into the desert where it was used as a target for Naval bomber training until 1987 when Cleveland, Ohio printing executive Tony Mazzolini discovered it, largely in tact, acquired it and moved it to Wichita.  

I Never Thought I’d See the Day…

Mazzolini, members of DOC’s Friends, a non-profit group formed to raise funds to support the airplane’s restoration and dozens of the  volunteers who began restoring the airplane in 1991 were joined by hundreds of onlookers early on July 17, including Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell and Kansas Fourth District Congressman Mike Pompeo, to witness the takeoff.  The airplane completed high speed taxi tests on Saturday evening at around 8 PM in preparation for the first flight.

The flight itself lasted approximately 10 minutes, encompassing one takeoff, climb out to pattern altitude, and a return and landing.  The crew chose to land after circling the field when a precautionary light illuminated, but the short duration of the flight didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd or their positive outlook.

“I never thought I’d see this day when we started restoring this airplane 16 years ago,” said Connie Palacioz, who at 92 years of age, remembers working on serial number 46972 when it came down the assembly line the first time in 1944.

“I prayed for good weather and a good flight when I woke up this morning.  I just don’t have words to describe how I felt when I saw it in the air.  It was wonderful…but a little bit sad, too, because of the volunteers who worked on it that have passed without getting to see this.”

The Town’s Talking About Doc… 

Wichita’s Mayor called the event “a Wright Brothers moment for Wichita, and even though the flight wasn’t as long as we had hoped, it was still longer than their first flight!  It was a perfectly fitting event for the ‘Air Capital of the World.’  ‘Doc’ now serves to unify our community and to demonstrate that we can come together and our visions can take flight. Let’s continue to work hard to keep ‘Doc’ in our community.  We think it’s important to our rich history and we want make sure that future generations of Wichitans have a chance to see ‘Doc’ fly.”

“This is truly a remarkable example of the dedication and commitment by the community to honor our American Servicemen and women and and our long tradition of flight in Wichita. Its an achievement that we can be proud of for decades,” added Congressman Pompeo.

Tony Mazzolini summed up the celebration by saying, “This restoration has always been aimed at wanting to honor our veterans,  to honor those who worked on these airplanes on the home front and  to honor those who sacrificed so much for the cause of freedom and the American way of life.   I just want to say ‘Thanks’ to all of the people who made this event today possible!’