Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Driving To The Fly-In?

If you are planning to attend the 15th Annual Wood, Fabric, & Tailwheels Fly-In by car or camper, please remember the number of tickets available are limited.

If you want to drive in and camp these slots are limited to 30 with many already taken.  And, although not as limited, the number of drive in tickets for the fly-in is restricted to 750.  So again, if you want to attend by car or camper and you want to make sure you have a spot, your best bet is to purchase your tickets in advance online by clicking here.  Camper slots are getting thing.

Thank You Army for Listening

When you host a large aviation event, you never like to see mass NOTAMS warning of large military training exercises in your area. That’s what recently happened to us.
Arriving in the mail, a few months back we received an envelope with printed NOTAM information. Basically, all the MOA’s to our north were going to be active for training UN pilots in American airspace during the time of the fly-in. You see, not that long ago, the military made a massive unnecessary airspace grab in our area that places MOA’s well over a hundred miles wide to our north.
When we wrote to describe our objections to this NOTAM and planned military exercise due to traffic that would be enroute to the fly-in, we didn’t hold out much hope for a response. Amazingly though and to our surprise, very soon after that letter left the mailbox we received a call from the Army’s Matt Sweeney. He had a question; what can I do to help? Yes, you read that right, his question was “What can I do to help?”
I must admit, at first I was doubtful.  But sensing this, Mr. Sweeney stopped the conversation and explained. Apparently, the military has been taking heat from people like us for their airspace grabs and exercises. If you weren’t aware of it, the government took a lot of airspace a few years back with little to no fight from our aviation groups. Some even said our military needed this space but they seem to have forgotten we won the Cold War with much less.  Unfortunately, being politically connected in the way our aviation groups are is not always a good thing. Often it means they give in to easy to their friends in D.C. and leave the real fight to the little people who are paying their salaries. Anyway, it was clear to me that for some reason, in this fight, we had a new friend.
Mr. Sweeney then went on to explain the Army had realized if they didn’t start working with people like us, then we as citizens would beat on our Congressional Representatives doors enough to where they could start losing more than just airspace. Therefore, they found people like Mr. Sweeney and put him in charge of solving this problem.
Now, before I to on to tell you how helpful Mr. Sweeney was, I would like to take this moment to say "you're welcome" to all those people who get upset when folks like me kick and scream about such things as airspace grabs. Personally, I’ve just had it with people who see the government like an alcoholic wife beating husband we shouldn’t question because he might get upset and start beating us. Sitting in a corner hoping you never get beat again while thinking about how nice they are when they aren’t high on booze (power) is the first paragraph in the novel titled “How to Lose”.
Opposing the book “How to Lose” is one titled “How to Win”. The first paragraph in that hard back is titled “Never Give Up”. If you don’t want aviation to die, don’t give up, raise the pressure, and as much as you may not like it, you have to realize politics will either be the end or saviour of aviation. Turning a back to it solves nothing. Take this case for example. Mr. Sweeney did everything he could to make sure our event was not effected. That didn’t happen because the Army looked around and said, “What could we do to make an individual’s day brighter?” Instead, they simply realized the power of citizens and did what they could so resolve those problems. But don't get me wrong; the military isn't the enemy.
I personally do not believe the military looks for ways to anger citizens. Instead, I think the most likely reason for mistakes made in the past by the military is the sign of an organization with no citizen participants. To be represented, people must give their input. Therefore, when people assume anyone, anything, or any organization is going to take care of them and that they do not need to stay up to date on the subject matter or give their input, then it is quite easy for a person or organization, such as the Army, to become out of touch. That’s how you end up with bad policy.
Yet, when citizens take an active role you get what you have here.  The Army is being proactive and being a friend to us.  This is great.  I love it.  And I hope it continues.

OH WAIT!  I left out the best part.  Mr. Sweeney said that because of the fly-in, they were going to limit, during daylight hours, the hot airspace to 5000' and above and would not be using the A and B MOAs they had planned to make "hot" during the fly-in and the week leading up to it so that all our traffic would be able to traverse the area with no issues.  Don't forget, there are one or two RESTRICTED areas to the north that you cannot pass through.  But those have been there a long time and are not very big. 

IMPORTANT Fly-In Notes That Don't Fit Elsewhere.

The following items are important things to know and or things we hope you will enjoy or use:
There will be a charging station for cell phones and electronics during the fly-in.  It is being organized and run by instructors and students at the Shawnee Aviation Program.  It will be open on Friday from 5-7pm, Saturday 8-8, and Sunday 8-Noon.  We hope this is a useful service.  Be sure to let us know how it goes.
In recent years everyone has been getting rental cars and therefore nobody has been using the shuttle to local hotels.  Therefore, this year we are not having a shuttle this.  If you need one, let us know as soon as possible by email.
This year is the 100th Anniversary of the first air mail flight and we will be fortunate enough to have a 1928 mail plane on hand for it.  Look for the vintage Stearman by the Lee Bottom Family Member tent.  If you contributed to the airport operation fund this year (2011), be sure to stop by the tent to pick up some items that will recognize you as someone who made a special effort to see there is a future for this fine little airport.  Thanks again for your support.
We will once again have an ice chest on hand with bags of ice for sale. 
There are several new Lee Bottom Apparel items in the store we're sure you'll like.  All apparel sales revenue goes toward paying fly-in bills.  Therefore, any time the fly-in is over and we are out of shirts, caps, and sweatshirts it is a good thing.  Please take time to look through the store near registration to pick out something special for yourself or that special someone you left at home to feed the dog. 
Please be sure to Register.  Yes, when you register you also pay for your fly-in ticket.  But registering is also how you get on the list for the limited edition calendars and for airport updates.  Please do not attend without registering and paying.  The funds go directly to paying fly-in bills so that we can have another fly-in for you to enjoy.  No bucks, no Buck Rogers
Once again, there will be no fuel on hand at the fly-in.  Self-serve fuel is available seven miles north at Madison (IMS). 
If you want to see all the minute details on everything fly-in associated, please see the website.  There you will also find the suggested arrival procedures.
Some local guys will have a collection of old one lung engines and other assorted items on display down by the red brick house.  Please be sure to go down there and ask them to fire one up for you.  They love to show these things off and share them with others.

Will You Be Here?

The 15th Annual Wood, Fabric, & Tailwheels Fly-In is only a few short days away (September 23-25).  Will you be here?
As of today, the weather looks great and we've been hearing from friends everywhere they plan to be here.  Will you be?
Some very nice flying machines and some great people are planning to attend.  Will you be here?
We hope you will.

Volunteers Already Hard at Work

Since early last week, volunteers have been coming and going from the airport to help prepare for your visit.  One group of long time supporters were here last week to put up the showers, some folks from another EAA chapter dropped by to help with odd jobs, other friends helped us mark off the aircraft parking, and still others pulled tables and chairs out of storage to set up the outdoor cafe.
One friend, Charlie Laird, was even on his way to California in his Champ but stopped along the way to help out for a day.  I'm sure emptying trash cans wasn't among the items he planned to do but, like so many others, he didn't complain.  He even asked for more.
Thanks to everyone who has helped so far and to the rest of you, in advance, for your assistance during the upcoming days.

Aircraft Parking Volunteers Needed

It is unusual for us to be short of aircraft parking volunteers but this year we are.  Fortunately though, other areas of the event which are usually understaffed have plenty of help this year.  So, if you have experience parking airplanes, or you are willing to learn on your feet, and you are in pretty good shape, then we could use your help.
Our needs are pretty specific.  Friday evening and Saturday morning is where we are short.  Therefore, you would also need to be available to volunteer during one or both of these times.  If you feel you could be of help, please let us know by clicking here to email.
Volunteers get in free, get a free Lee Bottom shirt sponsored by Barfing Bee Honey, and if you volunteer on Saturday morning you get lunch. 

First Ever Fly-In Wedding

Through the years, many couples have come to Lee Bottom for romantic get-a-ways.  Some have brought picnics, many have come on first dates, and quite a few have actually popped the question.  Yet nobody has ever been married here.  Well, that's about to change.
Jeff Moum and Jamie Litchfield recently visited the airport with our friend Rev. Jackie Litchfield Apted to discuss their wedding.  Wanting something very simple and also memorable, they were curious if they could get married during the fly-in.  Our answer of course was yes, and now Lee Bottom, and the fly-in, is set to have its very first wedding.
If you are here at 6PM on the Saturday of the fly-in, stop what you are doing and come see this couple say I do. 

Fly-In Food

It's no secret that getting a good food vendor for our fly-in has always been a headache.  For as many reasons as you can imagine, the task has always required far too much time and effort on our part.  Therefore, this year we set out to find a vendor that would handle all the food and everything to do with it.  Not only does this free up our time, but it also offers some benefits to you, the fly-in attendees.
This year you no longer have to pre-purchase food tickets.  Although you will be able to buy them in advance from the vendor while here on the field, you do not have to RSVP or pre-purchase any food.  This frees you up to eat on your schedule.  Then, in order to handle the changing consumption patterns, food concessions will be open from Friday noon to the end of breakfast on Sunday (closed only at night).  So, look for continuous food availability during regular hours and hopefully less hassle.
If you want more information on the menu or hours, click here for a detailed page of food information.  And free feel to tell us how you feel the new food setup is working.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

An Awesome Machine

On the way home from Oshkosh, my brother John and I stopped at Poplar Grove.  While there we were treated very well as I was offered the chance to fly this amazing Waco SRE.  Thanks to Steve and Tina for the opportunity.
If you want to read more about our trip from Oshkosh to Poplar Grove, check out the Lee Bottom Flying Field facebook page or check out the blog online.

Arrival Procedures Are Now Online

Although having received only a slight change, the newly revised arrival procedure suggestions for the 15th Annual Wood, Fabric, & Tailwheels Fly-In have been posted on our website.

If you've never been to this event please take time to print these off and review them.  You'll be glad you did.  They make operating in and out of the event much easier.  If you are a veteran of the event, please take time to review them as there are a few small changes such as the initial arrival fix.

See you soon.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Fly-In - If You've Ever Wanted to Attend, Make Plans Now

September 23rd - 25th

You just had a long holiday weekend; now what? The best flying weather has arrived, temperatures have cooled, and humidity is waning. What’s a pilot to do fresh off a Labor Day Weekend? Our suggestion, plan your trip to the 15th Annual Wood, Fabric, & Tailwheels Fly-In. It’s less than three weeks away. Whadayasay? Will you be here?
For many people east of the Rockies, the Wood, Fabric, & Tailwheels Fly-In is the last big hurrah of the season. We hope you can make it. If you’re planning to attend, there are a few things to keep in mind.
The Wood, Fabric, & Tailwheels Fly-In has grown from a first year attendance of 28 planes to sometimes topping out at well over 400 aircraft. Hosting an event of such size takes a great deal of effort and a considerable outlay of cash. Due to these two things, the number of volunteers we need to run smoothly is over 100. And, as far as expenditures go, the year we were rained out we spent tens of thousands of dollars to prepare.
As you can imagine, this can all become a real handful to deal with. Therefore, many years ago, we started charging a small amount for every person to attend. This was and still is for covering the costs of the event. But to help ease the pain, for many years we also threw in a free T-shirt. Additionally, some time ago we began to take on sponsors for the event. As the event grew, so did the number of sponsors. In our efforts to promote them without turning the food tent into the Ford Pavilion, we put their names on the back of the shirts. Today though, with the flagging economy and current political landscape, aviation has taken it on the chin, sponsorships are down, and expenses are up. What to do?
This year we have made several changes that will make things easier on our end (please God let it be so) and we are changing the free t-shirt policy. When it comes to making things easier on us, there will be a single food vendor all weekend who will be handling everything from purchase to serving. This frees up a great deal of our time.
When it comes to the t-shirts, since in years past we occasionally had several handfuls of shirts left over, we are going to cut down the run in an effort to cut expenses. This means that the free t-shirts will be limited to the first 200 pilots purchasing tickets online or at the event. An early purchase or arrival is your friend.
I would also like to take this moment to point out two of our long time sponsors, Poly-Fiber/Randolph, and Signature Engines. Both of these companies continue to fully support our efforts and their ability to do so speaks well of their customer loyalty and business practices. They are both outstanding companies that we are very proud to have on board.
Oh yeah, there is this one other little thing that has changed. The primary arrival point that has been used in years past to guide you into the pattern has changed. It is still the same location but it will appear different. The two core structures along with the large building that connected them have been demolished. Today the old powerplant is gone and the area is mostly open space with large single floor steel buildings scattered around. Don’t make the mistake of flying to the powerplant on the Kentucky side of the river because it is the only one you see. Be sure to check out our arrival procedures which are online and you will not have any problems.
And about those 100 plus people required to put this thing on, we are in big need of aircraft parking and meet and greet volunteers. If you have participated in parking tailwheel aicraft in the past or have knowledge of the airport, please let us know if you are up for it again this year.
We hope to see all of you soon.