Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ginger Comes Out of Retirement - Feels Like Audrey

A while back, I was trying to talk an editor into letting me write for him.  His answer was to put it back on me.  "Give me some of your ideas," he said.  And you know, I honestly didn't have anything good to give him.
Nobody wants honest aircraft evaluations, the philosophy of aviation, or editorials on controversial subjects.  But, those are my things so I expected him instead to tell me what he'd like me to write and give me a shot.  See if I could grin and bear it; write about things I didn't want to yet still create something people would want to read.  That, of course, did not happen.  So, I pretty much resigned myself to not writing for anyone and moved on to underwater basket weaving.
Everything was going fine with my new found hobby and villagers from across the world were after my thatched containers when a new job offer came in.  It was something I knew I had to do.  Unfortunately, it meant I would be in training before, during, and after the fly-in.  How would we pull it off?  That was the question.  Fortunately, as always, Ginger stepped up and crushed it; knocked it out of the park.  Why someone hasn't hired her away is beyond me.
Anyway, during the event I received a new cap as thanks for contributing to the very group for which I had wanted to write.  My brother also received a cap.  Then a letter came from one of our Lee Bottom Family Members who also happens to be a Congressman fighting the good fight for aviation.  He thanked me for my efforts, said great things about the event, and took the time to write a nice hand written addition to it.

What's important about all this is that although I only showed up late on Friday (after class) and left as soon as the event was over, I received all the thanks and none of these people thought to do anything special for Ginger.  I'm not knocking them.  I'm merely pointing out something we all do.
To be clear, none of these folks left Ginger out intentionally.  In fact, since I was the contact person for all communications with these people it probably never even crossed their minds.  It seemed only logical to address everything to me.   Yet, once again I couldn't help but feel horrible.
A while back Ginger asked, "I wonder if Audrey ever felt overlooked?"  I have no illusions of ever being anything close to Paul but I'm sure Ginger knows a lot about being Audrey.  She must have felt very unappreciated at times despite all the friends who told her otherwise.  People simply do not take the time to think about who actually makes it all happen and when they forget them it hurts.  It also doesn't help that the people who make things work are often the type to suffer silently and move on. Eventually though, they do get tired of it all and quit.   Ginger has already done that once but came back this year because there was no other option.
So what did all this have to do with writing for somebody else?  If they had asked me today to give them an idea, I would have said, "I'll write about the people who make all this s__t happen, how to find them,  and make sure they get the much deserved thanks."  I'm sure there's at least one at every field.
PeeEss:  During the fly-in, I was standing nearby when Douwe Blumberg came over to give Ginger a compliment.  He said, "Ginger this is great, you didn't miss anything; you've thought of every detail."   Later than night Ginger said to me, "Douwe came over to say thanks and I wasn't sure what to make of it.  Then I saw his plane and thought that may be the nicest compliment I've ever received."  If you've seen Douwe's Pietenpol, you'll understand.  That man created something special and for him to compliment Ginger on her attention to details is truly a kind and well thought out compliment.  Thanks Douwe.  We both appreciated it and we both love your plane.

Ticket Purchases Will Show Up on Statement as "Time Pieces"

If you bought tickets online for The Aviation Migration the transaction will show up under the name "Time Pieces."   Last year we had a few people who were unsure about it so we are posting this note in an effort to keep that from happening again.
Thanks to everyone who supported the event with a ticket purchase and to those who continue to support good old fashioned aviation.

Only a Few Days Left to Enter to Win a Set of Tires

If you would like a chance to win a set of 600x6 tires contributed by Desser, your time is running out.  You have until October 5th to enter.  How do you do it?
Go to our Lee Bottom Flying Field facebook page and post a photo there from The Aviation Migration, or of a plane sitting on grass anywhere, with the hashtag #aviationmigration.  You can also post a photo on instagram or twitter with the same hashtag.  Photos then post to the Lee Bottom website where you can vote on your favorite image.

Champs vs Cubs - The Way It Really Happened

The winner of this year's challenge, Champs vs Cubs, is Team Cub.  As hard as it is for me to say that, it's true.  It was close though.
When the fly-in Friday kicked off, Champs and Cubs arrived from all directions.  But, it was difficult to know who was in the lead.  Up front, two of our sponsors, Sporty's with their Legend Cub, and Cub Crafters with their Carbon Cub, appeared to stake a claim.  Yet, along the tree line were quite a few Champs pitching tents for the long haul.
When Saturday rolled around we began the effort of getting all the N#s on the board.  One by one the owners walked over to make their mark.  When they were done it was a tie in all categories.   No joke.  What are the chances of that?
Champs vs Cubs in the "purebreds" category and Champs vs Cubs in the "all variants" category were even Stephen.  None of us could believe it.  Then we began to wonder how we'd handle a tie.  What would we do to break it?   Our concerns disappeared as the last few hours of Saturday ticked by.
Late in the day, after the smallest possible window of weather that could trash a fly-in had happened, the sun popped out and two planes appeared on the horizon.  Bringing up the rear, undaunted by the mid-day rain, came Amy Gesch in her Cub "The Oklahoma Kid", and Jody Bradt flying the latest greatest machine from one of our sponsors, American Champion Aircraft.
Seeing these two arrive made us all smile.  Aviators with decades of flying under their belt had allowed a little patch of clouds stop them from coming to the event.  But these two fine folks of the next generation of aviation made it.   They stopped and started and kept heading our way until the weather had passed and they could arrive under clear skies.  That's the spirit of aviation.
The arrival of these two planes did something else for the event.  It broke the tie.  Amy's Cub put the "purebreds" into the lead and the Xtreme Decathalon, with Jody at the helm, placed Champs "all variants" into the lead of that category.
Of course, since Cub owners had already squeaked out a victory in the t-shirt phase of the challenge, the win in the "purebreds" category gave them two out of three for the overall win.  American Champion, along with the Champs and their "all variants," put together a great effort.  But, in the end it was Jody Bradt who allowed chivalry to get the best of him by refusing to ditch that slow Cub.  By placing his jacket across the puddle of clouds, he allowed the winning plane to step easily into the event.  A plane which happened to be a Cub.***
Jody and Amy
*** This is how I perceived the events mentioned above.  It is possible, although the chances slim, that my perception was influenced by a passion for Champs.

PeeEss - Team Cub actually owes their win to Amy G.  She single handedly drug you across the finish line (T-shirt and Purebred category) and I hope all of you take the next opportunity you have to thank her for giving life to your team.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Flying IS Freedom - The Pilot's Bill of Rights

Flying is a symptom of freedom.
As I have often pointed out aviation is a sport of freedom.  It isn’t about flight.  It’s about the freedom and the feeling of freedom it gives us.
I have also concurrently pointed out that because of this, you can judge a person’s stance on freedom by judging their stance on aviation.  If they are always attacking it, never have anything good to say about it, or never support anything that would positively affect aviation, then they are not pro-freedom.  Therefore, you should be very wary of these people everywhere they affect your life.
Look at the list in this link and pay attention to who is not on it.   The states of California, Hawaii, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Vermont, and Washington State are without any support for it.  Then go through the list and notice which Senators are missing from the other states.  If you follow politics at all, you’ll notice my point is spot on.

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Aviation Migration Receives a Nice Review

This photo is from the 2010 event.  One thing after another has affected us,
every September since.  Next year will be the 20th year.  That's a nice round
number.  You should make plans to attend if you want to be able to tell
your friends you made it to one of them.
Each time we hold the fly-in one thing stands out.   Consistently, around 30% of those on hand are new to the event.  This time, among that percentage were two folks from EAA.  Jim Busha and Hal Bryan somehow found the time to make a quick trip down to Lee Bottom.
Long story short - once they made it back to Wisconsin a nice review of The Aviation Migration showed up on EAA's website.  Thanks guys.  It was great to have you here.  We hope you can make it back.
If you would like to see some of the photos from their trip, click here.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Win a Set of Tires

Win a set of tires.

This year, one of the Aviation Migration Fly-In sponsors is Desser Tire.  When we told them about the event, and Champs vs Cubs, they decided they wanted to take part.  One of the ways they're doing so is by contributing a set of tires, 600x6 6-ply Condor retreads, for us to give away.
Here's how to win.
Go to the Lee Bottom website by clicking here.  Once you are there you will see "The Rules" and "Vote Page" toward the top.   Enter to win, by clicking on "The Rules."  That page will tell you how.  Follow the rules and start digging out your best photos or take new ones at The Aviation Migration and enter them in the contest when you get home.
Here they are, waiting for a new owner.
Ah, but how do you win?  That's easy.  You share the page with everyone and tell them to vote on your photo.   People vote by hovering over the photo, then clicking like.  The person with the most "likes" wins.
OK, it's time to get started.  Go the page, read the rules, share the page, then vote.  We look forward to seeing the great images everyone has.

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Personal Note About the Fly-In from Rich and Ginger

Each year people fly to the Lee Bottom fly-in for different reasons.  People come from all over to gather in this safe haven for aviators.  Many come to be part of something fun.  Others head this way as a trek to a place they rarely see.  Some though are motivated to make it to show support for us.
As for that last one, it is great and we really appreciate it.  We really do.  Yet, maybe you should know why we do it?  Then you might understand why that reason also bothers us.
Ginger and I hold this event for the same reason you start a small fire to create a big one.  We don't strike the match so that we're lit by the flame.  The spark is created and slaved over year after year in hopes it inspires others to participate more actively in aviation.  In other words, we provide the heat and you're the firewood.  If you want the sport to be white hot, you have to make it that way.  No firewood, no fire.  No fire, no aviation.
It really is that simple.  When you go to events, we feel you should enjoy the heck out of them.  We also believe you have to know in your mind that you're doing it for the sport itself; essentially fluffing your own pillow.
That said, we can't wait to see all our friends again.  We're already getting excited.  We hope you are too.

Thanks Again to Our First Sponsors, Sporty's and UNIVAIR

When you host an event that grows in popularity, it's easy to get excited.  Then you have to face the bottom line.  Attendance isn't the only thing that grows with success.  Expenses do too.
Years ago when that happened to us we had to face reality; find sponsors or shrink the event.  Our decision was in favor of sponsors.   Yet, there was a caveat.  We'd only accept sponsorships from upstanding ethical companies.
Today, I hope you'll join us in welcoming two such companies to the list of fly-in sponsors.  Sporty's and UNIVAIR are the latest of legendary aviation businesses to support what we're doing here at Lee Bottom.  We're excited to have them as part of the team and we hope you'll remember their support the next time you need a product or service they offer.
* Did you know Sporty's Eastern Cincinnati Aviation is now our area's American Legend Cub dealer?   They'll have one on display at the fly-in.
* UNIVAIR has been increasing its inventory of parts for the Scott 3200 Tailwheel.  They now have everything but the top bracket and fork.  Click here to see their parts list.

If you or your business would like to sponsor "The Aviation Migration" fly-in at Lee Bottom, contact us.  There are still some great, high visibility, sponsorship options available.  The date is September 18-20, 2015.
Looks like fun doesn't it?

Fly-In Campers - The Spirit of Aviation (Updated)

Rarely do I write about specific parts of the fly-in.  The whole thing is so much fun that it is hard to pick apart.  But, as the event draws near, I find myself thinking more and more about one specific segment; the campers.
Like I said, the fly-in is great fun.  Yet, what I have come to realize is that it is the campers which make the event.  Now I'm not meaning the others aren't important.  What I really intend to say is that it is the Friday night fly-in campers that set the tone of the event.
Friday arrivals are almost always eager and fun.  They cut loose from work early and put forth a special effort to make the fly-in.  On their mind was having a good meal under the stars, watching a movie on the hangar, sitting by the campfire with friends, and waking up early to see every arrival on Saturday.  They are truly intrepid aviators in a time of timidity.
When others look for excuses not to attend, they look for every way possible to be there.  Only the worst of weather keeps them away.  Their planes don't carry emergency kits, their planes are emergency kits. Everything inside accounts for some what-if and every step they make is calculated.  Yet, watch them and you'll see they are seemingly carefree; prepared but not fearful. That's why I enjoy them so much.  They are the living among us.
With all that said, it should therefore be no surprise when I say that as the fly-in Friday rolls around, I'll be watching closely to see how many campers arrive.  They are an aviation bellwether indicative of the truth.  Saturday may bring hundreds of planes, but if Friday is slow I will quietly mourn the loss of aviation spirit.
UPDATE:  This post from last year's fly-in was a favorite of many, including myself.  When I finished it I read the words and thought, "Yeah, that is exactly what I wanted to say."  Thankfully, many understood.  When Friday rolled around, the number of campers to arrive was exceptional.  They even turned out to be almost half of the total number of aircraft on hand.  The spirit of aviation is alive and well.

Fly-In Food and Booze

Like this only different.

If you're planning to attend the fly-in and you are wondering how much the food will cost we do not have an exact price on everything just yet.  But as in year's past, we will do everything possible to offer food at a decent price considering it is being served way out here in the country.  It isn't dirt cheap and it isn't super expensive.  For now I would plan on the typical costs of eating out (more upscale than White Castle and below that of Ruth's Chris) and we'll post more specific prices online when we have them.  In the meantime, here is the food schedule.
As for booze, that kind of went by the wayside this year.  Like everything else, regulation and liability concerns make it difficult.  Therefore there will not be anyone on site offering spirits. So, if you're wanting a little something to take the edge off, keep you warm on a cool night, or looking for a magic elixir to make your jokes funnier, we recommend you bring it with you.

Important Notes for Fly-In Attendees - Please Read

Don't miss it.

If you plan on attending the fly-in at Lee Bottom, on September 18-20, 2015, please read the full content of this post and all related links.

Basic Fly-In Information:___________________________________________________
* September 18th-20th.
* 20th is a go home day and also serves as a rain day in case it rains on Saturday.
* Fly-In starts on Friday.  Food on Friday starts at 5:30PM.
* Fly-In ends at 12PM on Sunday unless it is serving as a rain day.
* Watch website for any critical last minute information
* ALL TICKETS ARE PRE-PURCHASE ONLINE.  This helps us in so many ways.  For instance, it gives us projections for food planning.
* Read all recent posts about fly-in.

Links and related information:_______________________________________________
All tickets are pre-purchase.  You can buy tickets right up to the day of and through the fly-in. You purchase them online from our website or with the direct link you can go directly to the service selling the tickets.  Either way it funnels through a secure server.  Once you have purchased the tickets you will receive an email with a PDF that you print.  That is your ticket. Bring it with you to the fly-in.   The service is extremely easy to use.
You should understand arrival procedures.  Very little has changed with the suggested arrival procedures but you should read them again to re-familiarize yourself.  The field is uncontrolled and you are responsible for your own safety.   To read or download them click here.  Note:  The same page has auto arrival information.
Food will be purchased on site.  A member of our organization is offering this service and they need a good understanding of how many people will be on hand.  For this reason, if you purchase your tickets before Wednesday the 16th, you get a significant discount.  This gives our food prep crew time to order food so that we do not run out.  It also means that you eat last if you purchase your tickets late.   For more information click here.
Please follow the links supplied above to understand how the fly-in will operate and how to get the most out of it.  For other information, see our webstie,

Volunteer Fly-In Setup Day This Sunday, the 13th

We'll be doing as much fly-in setup as possible this coming Sunday, September 13th.  Start time is 10AM.  But, if you can't come until a few hours later we'll still be working.  The goal is to get as much ready and in place for the event as we can so it doesn't have to be done later in the week.
We'll be mowing, marking rows, setting up pennant rope, getting the flags ready to go along the road, making sure tires are aired up on all the equipment, etc.  There is a long list of small items.   So, if you want to come help out on a day where small inputs add up, this is for you.

Not Your Typical Fly-In

The Lee Bottom Fly-In, The Aviation Migration, is not your typical fly-in.  Where most are comprised of local pilots, this event is largely filled with aviators from 100 miles away or more.  Being fairly remote, there aren't local chapters of (insert name here) organizations to cook food or handle car parking.  Parking attendants typically come from 30 miles away or more and caterers have to be brought in for food.  There are so many things made difficult by our distance from civilization.
Yet, one of the biggest differences of the Lee Bottom event, a thing many people mention, is its attitude.  Where many events are held as a party for locals, our fly-in has come to stand for so much more.  It isn't a celebration of the field or those who host it.  Attendees of The Aviation Migration know that when this gathering rolls around, it is a celebration of the freedom of flight; a gathering of generals where they are the generals.
Aviators who journey to Lee Bottom in September know and understand the importance of standing up for aviation.  They also know they are responsible for its future.  The expectation that others will stand up for aviation is rare.  Instead, the attendees of this event are typically the type always on watch and standing up for our sport.  In short, they are great people.
Perhaps it is for this reason our sponsors are not your typical sponsors.  Local businesses supporting local events is fairly common.  But to have some of the most well known aviation businesses sponsoring your event speaks volumes; not only about the event but the sponsors themselves.
In past years sponsors have taken it on the chin at some events.  Oshkosh attendees started to see sponsors as corporate buyouts.   That wasn't necessarily true but it didn't stop people from getting wrapped around the axles.  On the other hand, some sponsors of events did seem to be too obvious, almost to the point of overpowering.  Yet, all these issues almost always occurred at very large flagship events.  It didn't happen at fly-ins because fly-ins are rarely sponsored by large or recognized aviation business.
The Lee Bottom event is different.  Our sponsors are known to almost everyone in aviation but they don't expect us to rename the food court or the event after their business.  Instead, our sponsors are general aviation minded people who want aviation to thrive, not just because GA is the market for their products, but because it is in their blood.  Because of this, we hope you'll take any opportunity you get to thank them for supporting this event.
Events that challenge the status quo, boldly champion aviators, and always push back against the forces attempting to ground aviation have it tough.  There's a reason more of them don't exist.  And yet, our sponsors believe in what we're doing and have thrown in their support.  That deserves a huge round of applause.


Say Hello to Some Great People

Always smiling.
We've had some great help at the airport this past month.  As you know we have hosted "work kampers" before and we've made some great friends in the process.  This year is no different.
Gerard and Lacretia Rowe have been staying at the airport for almost a month now and have kept things moving.  They showed up at the perfect time and saved us when we were short on help.  But, they're also great folks.  It has been a true pleasure having them around and I regret not having been there more to get to know them better.
I could go on about these two but instead I'll encourage you to stop and say hello to them.  Like I said, they're great people and always fun to be around.  If nothing more, please thank them for their help.  They have gone above and beyond to assist with the fly-in and we really want them to know they are appreciated.

Get Your Lee Bottom Fly-In Tickets Now at a Discount

The fly-in approaches.
Last year we started using an online ticket service for the fly-in.  Getting tickets to the event on the web was the only way for people to attend.  Most people used it with ease, a few struggled, and a few hated it.  If you struggled, this time it should be a little easier.  That's good because we're using the system again and we hope to see you here.
Here's how it works.  You go to the Lee Bottom fly-in tickets page and order tickets the same way you would order something from Amazon, Sporty's, or Ye Olde Curiosity Shop.  If you've never bought anything online it's time to learn.
When you get to the page, at the bottom you'll see two locations to choose how many tickets you need.  Choose what you need (note under 13 free) then hit the red "Get Tickets" bar.  That will get the ball rolling.   Be sure to enter all required fields.  When you are finished placing your order, the tickets will be emailed to you.  Print them out and bring them to the fly-in.  That's all there is to it.
This year we also added another option for ticketing.  If you are signed up for our newsletter or facebook page, you know we ran a t-shirt contest.  The people who bought the shirts will use them as their tickets.  They'll wear it to the event and that is how they will get in.  That contest is now over and all the shirts have been printed and shipped.  The only point of mentioning it is to point out there was another option for getting in.
Additionally, discounted tickets are available again this year.  If you purchase yours online before the end of September 15th, you'll get the discounted price.  After that the ticket prices go up.
One final note.  Buying your tickets before the end of Tuesday helps us plan for the amount of food needed at the event.  This was one of the primary reasons for going to this system.  Thanks for participating.
IMPORTANT NOTE:  Ticket purchases will show up on your statement as Time Pieces LLC