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More Adventures on the Grassroots Tour


New Century, Kansas
Jeff Skiles speaks before a packed house in New Century, Kansas.

By Trevor Janz, EAA 656941
EAA Manager of Chapters and Eagle Flights

October 16, 2012 - We just returned from another Grassroots Pilot Tour visiting EAA chapters. Jeff Skiles, Brian O'Lena, and I loaded up the 1969 Cessna 210 last Tuesday. We decided that the normally aspirated 210 EAA photo ship would be perfect for this trip. We did the calculations and realized that we can go just about as fast as the Aztec on half the fuel. Good for our budget.

I was able to fly left seat from Oshkosh to New Century, Kansas (KIXD) near Kansas City. You just can't beat a 210. It was perfect for our mission. We averaged 180 mph ground speed with two hours and 40 minutes from Oshkosh to New Century. No autopilot in this bird, and good old-fashioned steam gauges, which I personally like.

The Commemorative Air Force (Heart of America Wing) hangar was provided for our meeting. EAA Vintage Aircraft Association Chapter 16 (Overland Park, Kansas) hosted the meeting. This airport was a former Naval Air Station - NAS Olathe. The CAF had a very nice museum, regarding the NAS, on the upper level that we were able to tour. They were proud to mention that John Glenn learned to fly Stearmans there in 1942. With more than 120 people in attendance it was an excellent turnout.

The next day we were off to Millard Field (KMLE), just southwest of Omaha, Nebraska. On the flight over, the former Strategic Air Command (SAC) headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base was off our right wing. My father was stationed there in the 1960s and I was born at Offutt but left one year after my birth.

The Strategic Air Museum provided the meeting space. EAA Chapter 80 (Omaha) was the host. The chapter from Lincoln, Nebraska (569), was also in attendance. Thank you Chapter 569 for the Cornhusker gift basket! We also had attendees from Ultralight Chapter 17, again with more than 120 in attendance. We want to thank the chapters that work so very hard promoting our meetings. One of the highlights was meeting EAA member (390212) Harlan Hain, USAF retired, who flew the SR-71 Blackbird. Our members truly cover such a wide variety of flying and aircraft experiences. Also, we met Kathy Callahan, Young Eagles coordinator for Chapter 80: Keep up the great work, your enthusiasm is contagious.

On Thursday we were off to Ankeny, Iowa, southwest of Des Moines. We landed at Ankeny (KIKV), tied down the 210, and were greeted by a golf cart. What service from the hosting FBO, Exec 1 Aviation! EAA Chapter 135 (Des Moines) was the host. Exec 1 Aviation provides Chapter 135 with its monthly meeting space in Ankeny. At this stop, we had 110 in attendance. This provided another excellent venue to meet our members and also gather excellent feedback. We awarded a 50th anniversary plaque to Chapter 135 President Dave Kalwishky.

During my presentation I covered a recent survey that we sent out to all chapters. One of the questions was to explain in one word why you are a chapter member. With 101 words provided, No. 1 was camaraderie. Community came in second and then collaboration, homebuilding, grassroots, socialization, and support. If you would like a copy of all the words in a "word cloud" to share with your chapter, I would be happy to e-mail it to you. Send your request to me at tjanz@eaa.org. We will keep you posted on where we will be traveling next.

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