The Liberty Gazette
August 24, 2010
Mike: The EAA’s (Experimental Aircraft Association) very successful Young Eagles program has opened the door for that first flight for over 1.5 million youngsters. We count it a privilege when our EAA chapter puts out a call for Young Eagles pilots because that means there’s another opportunity to introduce another young person to the wonderful world of flight. Our most recent trip to Brenham with several other chapter members and Young Eagles first took shape with a special family. The parents whose second son was diagnosed with a degenerative disease which will take his eyesight within a year are on a quest to provide him with as many experiences as they can while he still has sight. Once the request was circulated among the chapter members, everyone with an airplane and availability jumped at the chance. Grant, an air traffic controller who flies a Piper Cub, Jim, a flight instructor who has a Luscombe, our chapter president, Phil, flying a Cessna 172, and us, in a Piper Arrow, met with the young boy and his family at the West Houston Airport on a Saturday. The boy, his older brother, and a teen-aged girl would lift off West Houston’s runway into a light breeze on a hot day, banking northwest toward Brenham for a taste of the goodies found at the award winning Southern Flyer Diner.
Linda: Since the teen-ager would fly with us, we rented the Arrow for a little more room than our sporty Cheetah would afford three adult-sized people. With Mike riding in the back, it was chick pilots all the way. At 16 my co-pilot already knows she wants to fly. She’s been bitten hard by the aviation bug and is urging her dad to hurry up and finish his project. He’s building a Cozy, an airplane in the Experimental category. Seems his daughter just can’t get enough of flying and when we landed at Brenham she was eager to go back up right away.
The two boys were thrilled with the adventure, excitedly telling their mom all about flying as they joined Grant in a booth at the diner. The round trip gave the brothers a chance for each to ride once with Grant and once with Jim. Grant’s open-door Cub provides an awesome view with the added benefit of feeling the wind wisp past the little Cub.
Mike: Our EAA Chapter 12 is based at Ellington but our next big shindig is this Saturday, from 11-3 at the West Houston airport. Chapters from Waco, Dallas, and San Antonio will be joining us as we celebrate 55 years of Chapter 12. That makes us one of the longest-running chapters in the country and from what I understand the oldest in Texas. Chapter 12 boasts many astronauts as members, probably more than any other chapter since Houston and Ellington are home to NASA and the Johnson Space Center.
Our Guest of Honor on Saturday is none other than a most distinguished former EAA Chapter 12 member, Gene Kranz. Retired from NASA, Gene’s accomplishments include Assistant Flight Director during two Mercury missions, and three Gemini missions, Director of another Gemini flight and Apollo 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, and 17, and eventually the Director of NASA. You likely know from his book, “Failure is Not an Option,” that Gene is one of the heroes who made the successful recovery of our Apollo 13 astronauts. Come join us for cake and ice cream.