Around the Airport

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Answers to the Questions You've Been Asking

What’s Going On at Lee Bottom?
It’s the question many people have been asking.  It’s also one we’ve been pondering ourselves.  What’s going on at Lee Bottom?
What can I say?  Recovering from the tornado damage has been much harder than expected.  The logistics of it all are hard enough but it is perhaps the personal hurdles we’ve experienced that have been the worst.  There are so many philosophical quotes from history that favor those who persevere.  And historically I would have agreed with all of them.  Then last year happened.  I have now come to believe history favors those who don’t lose their sanity.
So how far along are we?  Well, we have new doors on the hangar, a new roof on the house, and the exterior of the house has been painted.  That’s it.  Really, that’s all that’s been accomplished.  The inside of the house still needs both ends gutted and rebuilt, a new air system has to be installed, and any other improvement we wish to accomplish await.  In addition to the day-to-day routine activities that make up life, we have spent much time packing, cleaning, moving, removing, and shuffling things around.  Yet we haven’t even had time to open the door on the cabin since the day after the tornado.  Meanwhile a good amount of what’s left continues to deteriorate while waiting on contractors.  Sounds fun huh?
It's  really quite overwhelming. 
What about events?  Well, there will be no fly-in this year.  Yes your read that right.  There will be no fly-in this year.  It was an extremely difficult decision but once we realized it came down to focusing on the event or getting the buildings repaired, it became much easier.  The event is such a mental and physical drain, despite all the good that comes from it, we just weren’t able to do both.  Furthermore, attempting to hold the even without the necessary infrastructure would be madness. 
The good news is, despite all the struggles, you can expect us to be ready to host the fly in next year.  But remember, planning starts a year in advance.  If you want to help bring it back, volunteer now to help with the planning.
As for Sinful Sundays, the local community has made them harder for us to hold and until we have the appropriate infrastructure, or a membership program in place, we will not be able to host them as they were.  What we are capable of doing is holding a simplified version that offers prepackaged ice cream instead of the homemade shakes and sundaes we’ve had in the past.  Therefore, in an attempt to have something which resembles a gathering at Lee Bottom this year, Ginger is working on an event that would be called ‘The Buzz’.  It will be based around honey ice cream and would be a partnership with local beekeepers.  The intent is to hold it in September so look for more info on that very soon.
How about the future of the field?  That’s a great question.  One thing we have realized is that time doesn’t stop and our own personal countdown clocks are accelerating.  Therefore, from here on out we will be focusing on plans for the future of the airport.  The next paragraph offers a hint of what’s to come.
Holding events for the sake of holding events accomplishes nothing.  Doing so is nothing more than what aviation has done in the past.  Although the fly-ins are great fun, what have they done to insure our type of aviation is around for many more years to come?  Like one night stands or a day of heavy drinking, they’re a thrilling display of hedonism and living for the moment.  Yet, when all is said and done, you have nothing left to show for it.  At the most, depending on who you are, you’re either left with a story to tell or a lot of regret.  Both of which have done nothing for the greater good. 
Some of my friends have said I’m silly for looking at it this way.  As far as they’re concerned, fun for the sake of fun is a good enough reason.  And in many ways, I agree.  Yet, if I wanted to have fun for the sake of fun, I would have sold the place years ago before the market tanked and we would be roaming the United States in a flying Winnebago.  My goal though has always been to leave behind a refuge for our kind of aviation.  It may not sound as glamorous as a massive fly-in of aircraft, but in the end it has much more meaning.  If we can’t do this, there’s no reason to keep having the events.  That gets me to the next thing I want to share with you.
A few years back, we started moving forward with plans to create a living airfield museum.  Two great friends stepped up to help and I just wasn’t mentally ready for it.  It is one of my big regrets but it forced me to contemplate the future.  It also gave time for my vision to gel.  When we have enough of it in place to reveal, we think you’ll like it.  Whatever the case, from here on out that will be our primary focus.
Other than that, the only other news I can think of is that we intend to hold a “thank you cookout” for our volunteers.  Right now we’re looking at August.  If you’ve ever volunteered at Lee Bottom we hope you’ll be able to attend. 
As for today, the airport is still open and operating.  And really, isn’t that what everyone wants; a refuge that allows you to escape the sterile concrete madness of fenced impound lots masquerading as general aviation airports.  Create your own reason to go flying.  The picnic tables are still here and available for a picnic lunch.   Put a blanket in your plane and enjoy the solitude while reading a book.  Invite a friend to go flying, get your son or daughter in the plane, or bring a co-worker for an afternoon away from the office.   Just continue to use the airport and enjoy the freedom it offers.
Thanks to all of you who have supported our efforts here at Lee Bottom.  You’re a great bunch of people.  With your continued support, we can accomplish something special here at Lee Bottom for future generations to enjoy.

1 comment:

NormC said...

I certainly plan to bring the family (Wife and Son) down for a nice casual couple camping nights.
And while I am there, I am happy to help where I can.
Will let you know.
How do I sign up to help with a fly-in for 2014?
Norm