Monday, March 22, 2010

Updates from the Field

It’s Been a While

Wow, it’s been a long time since an edition of NORDO News went out. The reasons for this are numerous. First and most obviously, we were completely burned out after the fly-in turned into a drive-in due to unprecedented amounts of rain and we could not get ourselves motivated to do anything for some time. Second, having produced the newsletter via email since 2001, last year we began looking to make it more timely and modern and the little bit of ambition we had went toward those goals. Third, did I mention we were completely burned out?

Modern and Timely?
Modern and timely, like most things these are relative. Were we part of Silicon Valley, making that claim would be daring. When it comes to aviation though, modern and timely are fairly easy and so it should be easy for us to accomplish. The first step in this process is the move to a blog.

NORDO News will now be available on demand in the form of a blog where entries will be posted throughout the month. This may be new to some of you and knowing that during a change to something different people are often lost in the process, we hope you’ll give the blog a chance to grow on you. The address is There are already several posts listed. Read a few and if you like any of them, another benefit of the blog is that you can get a link to share it with others.  For each post entry, there are icons at the bottom where you can share the entry with your friends on social networks like facebook or email to those that you keep in contact with via email.  We encourage you to take advantage of these features.

For those of you who prefer the emailed newsletter, each month the blog will automatically collect and send out the most recent posts for that month in one email. It will not be quite as graphically interesting as it was before but it will offer you a way to continue getting NORDO posts by email.

Should you want to comment on blog postings, feel free. We have them set so you can. The only thing you will need in order to do this is a Google Account. These are free and easy to acquire - click here to set one up.   Additionally, for those of you who are already members of social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, the new blog posts will be available on the Lee Bottom profiles associated with these networks.

Continuing with the modern and timely theme, Ginger is currently working hard to update our website. With this website refresh, the foundation will be set for us to offer some services we’ve wanted to for some time. Keep you eyes open for these in the near future.

Lee Bottom Store:
Email'ed newsletter:

Fly-In Wash Out - But First Some History
Years ago when it was decided the Wood, Fabric, & Tailwheels Fly-In needed a firm recurring annual date, Rich chose the last Saturday of September. The why behind his decision serves to explain the why behind the cancellation of last year’s fly-in. The method he used was to get the NOAA rain data for the area for as long as it had been collected and study it to find the week that had the lowest historical average rain total. That turned out to be the last week of September and so it was decided the event would always be held on the last Saturday of September. The historical record showed the monthly rainfall for September to be around 4” with the last week rarely having rain. Last year though, we had at least that many inches of rain every day for a week leading up to and including the day of the fly-in. In fact, the rain totals far exceeded all previous records for that period. Needless to say, it was wet.
Last September’s wash out was a disappointment to all. Fortunately, nearly every single person we spoke with understood why we had to call it and why we couldn’t allow aircraft on the runway. On the unfortunate side, there were a few people who made a long journey to get here only to find the airport closed. That sucks and no matter what, it still sucks. But, as we all know, that’s part of aviation and having been there myself, we hope everyone was able to make the most of it and possibly enjoy an unexpected stop.

Knowing the way things work, I guess we shouldn’t be shocked that the one year we decided to go over the top to prepare and improve the infrastructure for the fly-in was the one that broke all the records for rain in our area since they started recording it. The level of rain was unbelievable and unending.

Several years ago as the fly-in grew larger, we began offering attendees the ability to pay in advance for many of their fly-in items. The policy on these up front purchases was that they would not be refundable and that if, God forbid, some unbelievable something canceled the event, the funds would go directly into the airport operating fund. And as we promised, that is what happened. Due to their nature, these funds went toward paying the fly-in bills that we are still paying down. Among the many fly-in bills are items like the water well that was installed to move us toward the goal of a separate and permanent shower facility and contracts with vendors, such as the big top tent provider, that had to be paid rain or shine. Furthermore, those people, along with several who contributed in an effort to help out, were identified as Airport Supporters on our annual contributors list.

Ultimately, it was a very tough year for us and our supporters, yet we are moving forward and not looking back. Over time, with your help, we will continue to refine the event, make it stronger, and secure for it a long term future.

If you were one of the hundreds of aircraft owners or thousands of folks who planned to attend last year’s lost event, we hope you’ll give it another try and visit us this year.

Over and Above the Call of Duty
Last year, as the fly-in drew near, the number of things working against us began to tumble like dominoes. Ultimately, I guess it is logical to say that more will go wrong whenever you add more things that can go wrong but I have to tell you, it sure can be disheartening. Despite all the things working against us, there were several groups and people adding a positive light to things by going above and beyond the call of duty to help improve the fly-in. These folks donated materials, time, thoughts, and sometimes the skin off their hands to help us. The best example of this is the electrical power panel that was installed to provide electricity for a new well and the increasing number of vendors interested in attending.

When we first brought up the idea, Alan Gluff of Greenwood, Indiana offered to come down to help us design it and create a materials inventory list. Then David Cain and his father offered to donate the needed electrical supplies, Charlie Laird came down to help us construct the wooden structure that would house the panel, Terry Bickel and Russ Kippes from the Kentucky Aviation Historical Society drove in to install the electrical components, and Larry Hagen helped throughout the process ultimately finishing it by installing the shingles on the roof. When you see so many people going out of their way to help, it’s hard to be completely down even when everything is going wrong. Thanks again to all those people who’ve done so much to support the event and the airport itself.

New Photos
As the new website comes together, some things will come online before others. At this time, one of the new items is a new collection of airport photos shown on the slide show on the home page. We hope you enjoy them.

Runway Maintenance
The record amounts of rain received late in the season last year caused the runway to get a disease called ‘brown patch’. This fungus, common to wet climates and areas thoroughly soaked with rain, began to appear the week of the fly-in. Shortly thereafter, we put a grass maintenance program into action that we hoped would rid us of the problem and fill in any spots that were fatally injured due to this disease. This program includes many things; among them was the annual application of fertilizer and broadleaf killer. We believe our maintenance and lack of use late in the year will give us ga ood thick carpet of healthy green turf for all to enjoy this summer. If you have time, or you’re in the area, please drop in to do so.

If you didn’t get a calendar, we are very sorry. There is a formula we use to determine who gets them. The formula is very scientific in nature and the secret is guarded about as closely as the secret recipe used in Kentucky Fried Chicken. First and foremost, we need a complete, legible, accurate, current mailing address as recognized by the US Post Office.  After that,  it entails donating to the airport operation fund, attending events, volunteering, purchasing merchandise from our online store, staying in our cabin and/or subscribing to NORDO News. If you’ve never been here and you would like to get one, start making your pitch early. Or, if you would like one for this year we have a few of the 2010 calendars available from our online store. The calendars are the core of our annual fundraising efforts so if you like what we do and would like to support our efforts, there’s a good chance you could get one.

Great to see you!
For a while there Dave Kaufman did not have a medical and was restricted to flying with others. Recently though he regained his medical and the first place he flew was here to Lee Bottom; a real honor for us. Dave taught formation in B-24s during WWII ultimately flying B-29s in the Pacific. Needless to say, it’s great to see him back in the saddle.

2010 Event Dates
June 15:  Sinful Sunday
July 11:   Sinful Sunday
Aug 8:    Sinful Sunday
Sept 25: Wood, Fabric, and Tailwheels Fly-In


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