Straight and Level – April, 2017
Last week I, along with VAA Directors Bob Lumley and Steve Neese, VAA Advisors Earl Nicholas and Ray Johnson and VAA Volunteer Wayne Wendorf, attended Ron Alexander’s Celebration of Life service. It was a fitting tribute to a great human being and friend. Jim Busha, EAA Director of Publications, was also there. If you have not read Jim’s tribute to Ron entitled “Saying Goodbye One Last Time”, you should consider doing so. It is Jim’s heartfelt tribute to Ron and the exemplary life that Ron lived.
Yesterday I drove to Florence, South Carolina to visit my longtime friend, Deci Barbot, who is under Hospice care. When Deci’s daughter, Candice, asked us how long we have been friends Deci’s reply was “Always!”. I remember meeting Deci when I was 15 years old after hopping a ride up to Florence in a friend’s Globe Swift. I was there to get my Student Pilot’s Certificate and medical. (They were separate certificates then!) Deci and I met at the fixed base of operations that day. (The official name of the FBO was Aero Flight.)
Aero Flight was owned and operated by Ray Clark who was a former Air Force pilot and pilot for President Dwight D. Eisenhower during a portion of Eisenhower’s years in the White House. Ray was also my flight examiner when I took my private pilot’s check ride about a year and a half (or so) later. Deci owned both a Cessna 195 and a Piper Twin Commanche. He and Stan Sweikar (Deceased and from Dameron, Maryland) have more hours in a 195 than anyone that I have ever met. Deci used his 195 for both personal and business flights and regularly commuted between his offices in Florence, South Carolina and Ft. Myers, Florida– in any kind of weather at any time day or night. Deci’s flights in the 195 over those years are stuff of legend in the Lowcountry of South Carolina!
Today, 2016 VAA Volunteer of the Year, Bob Perkins, along with wife, Barb, who is also a volunteer at AirVenture flew into Dusenbury Field in their beautiful Custom WACO AGC-8. Our task for the day was to inventory clubwear in preparation for VAA3’s spring fly-in in Roxboro, NC which will be held during the first week in May. The work was done.
We had a nice lunch here and then they were off into the gorgeous Carolina Blue sky heading home to Long Island Airpark. That’s Long Island, North Carolina just so you’ll know. It was a beautiful day to fly. Both Bob and Barb, by the way, serve on the VAA3 Board of Directors. Barb also serves as treasurer of the organization.
To those of you who are planning to attend AirVenture I think that you will be pleasantly surprised by the improvements that we are now making which include both construction projects and program enhancements at the Vintage “village”. Stay tuned for more on that as we get closer to AirVenture.
My list of things to accomplish for our organization is long. I welcome any thoughts that you may have as we move this organization forward. I would appreciate your input.