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Indiana Safety Seminar 2012 Report

By Mark Poliak, for Light Plane World

Reception Team Becky Ward, Carolyn Hanrahan, Mark Poliak, and Susie Whybrew
Reception Team Becky Ward, Carolyn Hanrahan, Mark Poliak, and Susie Whybrew

Indy Flyers EAA Chapter 1527 hosted the 2012 Indiana Safety Seminar on March 17, 2012, at Indianapolis Executive Airport. The airport facility served us extremely well although a dense morning fog prevented early flights in. Several ultralight and GA pilots from Wabash, Crawfordsville, and Richmond hung out at the Eagle Creek Airport for an hour and a half and then flew in midmorning. Total attendance was just less than 100 pilots for the daylong event.

Our first topic of "Weather: Using Tools to Determine Your Go or No-Go Decision" was covered by two dynamic speakers from the Indiana Air Guard. Brent King and Dan Samons are part of the weather unit of the Indiana National Guard and have served as support for the Indianapolis Air Show as well as full-time military duties overseas. They basically ran us through an entry-level weather course and focused on critical items like thunderstorm signs, microbursts, and turbulence from other planes. These gentlemen came with the full support of the Guard leadership, and we look forward to their return next year with more information for pilots.

Group photo by Randy Sills
Group photo by Randy Sills

The second round of talks was on radio communication in controlled and uncontrolled airspace. And who better to lead these discussions than some local members from the control tower at Indianapolis International Airport. Denise Mason and Michael McCoy volunteered their time to share their involvement in Indianapolis' Super Bowl traffic with a great time-lapse video of planes coming and going for the weekend. They cleared all planes to land within just minutes of the mandatory times and then had parked to the gills on seven of the area support airports. Then they had to get them out again over the next day and a half! It is an incredible support package to people enjoying football, and you can find this amazing view on YouTube. They encouraged pilots to use the controllers and discussed the easiest ways to do this. For next year, they eagerly want to set up a pilot and controller stage with headsets and use the audience to practice the needed jargon. They welcomed us to the control tower during the upcoming summer to actually experience what it is like inside, and to relieve a few fears of talking to a controller.

And what is a seminar without great food? The breakfast duties were handled by a Boy Scout troupe from Noblesville, Indiana, who used this fund-raiser as a way to send scouts to Philmount. And lunch was served by local catering company Dashboard Diner of Edward's Drive-IN of Indianapolis. They used their box truck fleet to serve hot meals on the tarmac to the waiting pilots in grand style!

The afternoon kicked off with a talk on third-class medical questions from local aviation medical examiner (AME) Dr. Robert Habig. Bob is a pilot as well. We transitioned to other decision making with Charlie Russell, a retired Air Force chief master sergeant and now a trainer for the reserve, who discussed crew resource management for a single operator. This enlightening talk was aimed at pilot decisions in critical times when you just have yourself to be the crew.

And we closed with our own local aviation builder, Randy Sill, who has built several Titan Tornados and helped builders with complex avionics and photography options.

A fast ride in a Titan Tornado with a 6-cylinder Jabiru engine
A fast ride in a Titan Tornado with a 6-cylinder Jabiru engine

Of course we couldn't have done this event without the support of sponsors. We would like to especially thank Montgomery Aviation, the host FBO, for donating its world-class aviation facility. And raffle support was given by Comtronics Engineering for a GA headset; iFlyGPS for a year's subscription; and iFly700, items, and gift certificates from Aircraft Spruce and Wag-Aero. Duke Energy supplied many safety supplies and pilot gifts as well as the local support of the FAA and INDOT.

Next year's seminar will be during the first few weeks of March, so plan to attend and watch for info from the Indy Flyers website at www.IndyFlyers.org. We had great support from the GA and ultralight community, but the light-sport contingent was "light." It may have been the unusually warm spring weather, but we have plenty of room and prizes for more LSA pilots! Please plan to attend in 2013!

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