Around the Airport

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fly In Lodging Reservations Now Available

It's that time of the year, when we start letting you know about the Wood, Fabric, and Tailwheel Fly In (September 24, 2011) and how you can prepare to attend.  Lodging reservations are now available at Clifty Inn.
This year, we are excited to once again be working with an Inn that has as much ambiance, beauty, scenery, and history as our little airport.  If we had an Inn at Lee Bottom, it would be just like this  . .. the rooms have a rustic lodge feel with a modernized flair.

See information about CLIFTY INN:   CLICK HERE

To make a reservation at CLIFTY INN:  877-925-4389

Be sure to tell them  the group code  "0923FF".
(Without this code, they will tell you the Inn is sold out)

Rate is $122 - 142/night

There is a 2 night minimum due to event weekend.

If you have problems, Kim Gardner (812-265-4135) is our contact person.  
These rooms will be released in August,  So HURRY!!!!  Because of other events occurring during the same weekend, rooms are at a premium in Madison and the surrounding areas and many are already sold out.  So, don't delay in getting your rooms.  You don't want to be caught without a room.

We are currently working on shuttle bus and rental car availability.   Our website should be updated with information about this event over the next week and more information will also be posted  here soon so stay tuned for more information.

NOTE:  We ask that if you reserve a room and then do not need it for some reason, that you contact us before cancelling your room.  There might be someone on the waiting list.  If you call the lodge first, the rooms go back into the general pool and will not be available to those attending the fly-in.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Make the Best of a Bad Situation

My recent editorial about Liberty Belle was, for the most part, well received and for a while I was pleased. But then today I received a comment from another B-17 operator slamming me for having my facts wrong and, from what could tell, that my facts were wrong because he believed they had the best B-17 operation. Well, here’s the deal; my opinions and experiences are just that, mine. If you are incapable of understanding that, or, if anything written above a third grade level, of which I rarely am capable of creating, throws you so off course that you cannot understand the difference between an editorial and a news piece, then I do not give a rats rear end what you think. Sorry, that’s my opinion.
Yet, after reading this comment and punching the stress-bag mounted firmly above my desk, I realized I owed this person thanks. While writing about my feelings on the loss of Liberty Belle, I failed to mention two other great organizations who have a common bond with Liberty Belle; The Lone Star Flight Museum and The Yankee Air Museum. Thanks to the reader’s comment, I remembered this oversight and decided I would make this separate post about my other two favorite B-17s; Thunderbird and Yankee Lady.
As I said, these organizations, both of which operate B-17’s, share a common bond with Liberty Belle. They’ve each had their disasters. Lone Star was severely pounded a few years back by a hurricane and The Yankee Air Museum was devastated by fire a few years before that.  Loss though is not their only similarity.
Each of these organizations has a wonderful group of people who fly and maintain their planes while dedicated volunteers keep their museums alive.  Because of this, both organizations have come back from the brink of destruction more committed than ever to keeping the story of WWII alive. Let’s hope Liberty Belle is able to do the same.
Meanwhile, if you want to go for a ride on a B-17, I highly suggest you look up "Lone Star" and "Yankee", check out their flight schedules, and go for a ride.  They are first rate operations and you won’t forget it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Liberty Belle – The Last B-17

“You’re on fire! Get it on the ground now!” Within minutes of those words being spoken, news that Liberty Belle was down arrived in every aviation inbox in the world. Facebook was alive with chatter, Linked In passed condolences, and Twitter was a race to see who was most informed. Yet among all the communication, the same weathered phrases were all I saw.
How very sad; the Feds are going to be all over the other rider-hoppers; it was the crew’s fault; the plane should have been in a museum. These four statements comprised 99.99999% of all comments, and you know what? I’m tired of this crap. I’m tired of knee-jerks. I’m fed up with all the pansies that have crept into aviation. I can’t stand those who immediately cower to the Feds like abused spouses. And I believe there is no place in this world for inexperienced experts and those who believe airplanes should all sit in museums. As for those who thought this was sad, I understand the emotion but I would like to suggest a replacement, pleasant memories.
Few things conjure up emotions of how great our country once was like a B-17 growling head-strong through cumulous. A Flying Fortress represents a country that once existed; a country that could build things, where decisions were based on principle, and a freedom loving people were brave.
Today, those things are absent, their loss best represented by machinery parked inanimate in museums; monuments to a country that once operated equipment it built, flew airplanes because that was their purpose, and of people who were not afraid of their shadows.
When word of the fire first arrived, my reaction was not of sadness for the loss of Liberty Belle but of the great memories she left behind. Yes I hated to see her go and the feeling of increasing loneliness in a sport more sterile by the day did pass through my mind. Yet within seconds, all my memories of Liberty Belle took over.
Do you think B-17’s are rare? They are not. Some museums have two. A handful are flying, several more airworthy, and countless others sit in all sorts of places around the world. What is unheard of though is a B-17 flown like a B-17.
Today, the handful of Flying Fortresses that routinely go airborne do so only to take people for rides. These rides are often called memorial flights, historical flights, honor flights, you name it. The purpose is two-fold; one, to engage people and stir an interest in WWII, and two, to generate revenue to support the organization that operates the plane so that it may continue to educate people about WWII, The Korean War, The Vietnam war, The Gulf War, and basically any war that people might forget. Go to any museums that fly B-17s and you’ll see what I mean. It is an ongoing fight to keep people interested. Therefore as older generations die off, newer wars become the focus because they are, ironically, remembered. This is the life of most B-17s; but not Liberty Belle.
Liberty Belle, although like most Flying Fortresses a ride hopper, was more. Often it seemed that wherever you went, there was Liberty Belle. The owners and pilots were just a little more like pilots than all the others. Known to fly out of their way to say hello from above over events nobody else cared about, the crews were also more approachable than other such crews; at least that was my experience. Yet the biggest thing about Liberty Belle was that she was more a representative of WWII than the others.
As evidence, in 2008, Liberty Belle did what no others today dare do. She, like most WWII era B-17s, flew to Europe and did a tour in England. There, greeted by adoring crowds, Liberty Belle demonstrated to the world that she and her owner operators really did exist to keep the memories of WWII alive. Visiting historic bomber fields by land or air, she brought tears to many eyes and memories of a country willing to fight for freedom.
I remember the day I landed in Bangor Maine and was treated to the sight of Liberty Belle sitting on the ramp. When all our passengers deplaned I commandeered a tug and drove over to see her. There, doing a thorough inspection of the bomber was the crew. Stopping silently nearby to take it all in, it was clear the guys were checking everything for the flight to Goose Bay. Yet, without a word from me, one of them stopped their task to offer me a tour. Although I steadfastly declined because I did not want to get in the way of their journey, that fellow did everything he could to show me the airplane and introduce me to fellow crew members.
Walking around the old girl, knowing where these guys were taking her, and how normal they all were, I couldn’t help but think of the brave young men who did the very same thing seven decades past with no way of knowing if they would ever see home again. It is for this reason I am thankful, that for many years, Liberty Belle was able to live her life as a proud, true to form, Flying Fortress. She died not afraid of life but living it. And to the crew and members of the Liberty Belle Foundation, I thank you for giving us more than we lost. I will always remember Liberty Belle; the last true B-17.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Thanks to Our Supporters

Those of you who receive the world famous Lee Bottom Flying Field calendar know that every Winter we send them out as an airport fundraiser.  And with each passing year, despite the economic ups and downs, you continue to send the donations that make the difference between keeping the airport alive and not.  Your patronage and support has directly contributed to keeping this beautiful corner of the aviation world alive and you should be proud of that.  Thank you.
If you've never received one of the 1500 calendars that hang in offices, hangars, and homes around the world, you can get on the list by attending one of our events.

Timely Updates Through Blog

When NORDO News goes out to our mailing list, it is compiled from posts on the NORDO News Blog.  For some time now we've been posting items on the blog first and then compiling them later into newsletters.  This method allows us to be more timely when needed and to post editorials that only the true followers of NORDO News can handle.  Therefore, if you want to get the latest NORDO News and Lee Bottom Flying Field updates, follow our blog by clicking here and then clicking on "Follow" at top of the page in the blue bar.  Not every NORDO News Blog post makes it into the newsletter.  So, if you want to see all the good and all the bad, sign up now and you won't miss a thing.
One last word of caution though; if you are looking for the lollipop, over-simplified, run-again, carbon-copy articles and editorials you get in today's aviation magazines, you do not want to read the NORDO News Blog.

For those of you that like NORDO News, please consider passing along our blog or individual posts to your friends.  There are fewer and fewer of us die-hard aviators out there every day and we all need to stay connected.

Finally, thanks for taking time to read our online publications.  Feel free to respond positively, or negatively, to anything you see.

Greatly Reduce the Cost of Mowing

Each year, the Lee Bottom Flying Field Board of Directors searches for new and innovative ways to manage a hundred acres of turf.  Over time, through trial and error, they have developed a set of best practices that gets them the healthiest grass for the runway, areas that support both runoff and wildlife, and low maintenance methods for reducing the cost of maintaining it all.  The economy being what it is, reducing expenses is a priority.

When handed this task, Lee Bottom Flying Field management did not shy from the problem and instead decided to increase the fescue R&D budget.  Thanks to this decision a breakthrough was made and today they are excited to announce they have discovered the secret to greatly reducing the cost of turf management.
Elsewhere, in every state and in every county and town, people pay professionals good money to help them maintain turf and reduce the total cost of maintaining it.  Unfortunately, those business may suffer greatly when this long held closely guarded secret is revealed.  What is it?  Are you ready for it?

OK, here goes; the secret to reducing the cost of turf management, the thing that will restore you sanity, improve your marriage, give you your life back, and put your bank account in the black is to not cut the grass.  Yes that's right, you heard it here first.  Letting your grass grow greatly reduces the cost of lawn mowing.  Yet there's more!!!
If like so many others, you don't want to cut your grass but you don't want it to be five feet deep, you can add low maintenance sheep to your property.  This ancient secret once belonged to the original turf management specialists of centuries past and now it is yours for free.
Ginger Davidson of Lee Bottom Flying Field says "We used to have to bush-hog that field right over there for car parking during the fly-in but now the sheep do it for free; it's wonderful."
Testimonials like these just go to show the success of this ancient method for controlling turf.

Disclaimer:  Sheep poop.  If you do not want poop in your grass this method is not for you.  Fencing is needed and excited dogs may be zapped by an electric fence.  Careless husbands may also get their leg zapped an initially feel they may never walk again.  Any man, friend, or family member but mostly husbands will be forced into erecting fences and barns.  Husbands will also be "asked" to make room for all "the sheep's stuff."  Neighbors may be drafted at any hour of the day or night to help find escaped sheep.  Grass may be cut with teeth of sheep.  If you want your grass to grow, do not put sheep on the grass.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Sinful Sunday is Almost Here

The first Sinful Sunday of the year is Sunday June 12th.  On that day, weather permitting, food will be available from 12-2 with the ice creams treats running from 12-3 or until we run out.  The feature shakes and sundaes will be strawberry but other flavors will be available.  If you have never been to a Sinful Sunday, you are missing out on some great fun.  If you have been to a Sinful Sunday then you know exactly how much fun, relaxing, and filled with aviation they are.  Either way, we hope you are able to make it.
Last year, every Sinful Sunday attracted around 100 planes with some coming from hundreds of miles away.  If the weather is good, we expect to have a similar turnout.

A Shirt for Flying Season

Flying season is here so check out our airport apparel to get yourself a "fly-in shirt."  Yes that's right, a fly-in shirt; we all have them right?  This is the shirt you like to wear to fly-ins and other aviation events.  Some of them are funny, some of them make a statement, and some of them serve merely to support your favorite flying field.  It's our hope you'll make one of our shirts your "fly-in shirt."
If we do not have a shirt you like, maybe one of our caps is just what you need to keep the sun off your face.  Currently, our online store is under construction so all shirt and cap purchases will happen here at Lee Bottom during events or when you fly in.  We'll have a good selection out during the first Sinful Sunday on June 12th.