News & Pictures

National Weather Center Tour - 14 September 2018






















After going through several registration iterations, changes in the available planes, and worrying about the weather patterns throughout the week, the morning of Friday, September 14th dawned bright and sunny with a favorable weather forecast for most of the day. Eight hearty souls milled around the club hanger munching on sausage kolaches and donuts while the pilots readied the airplanes. The Archer was loaded up with four bodies and the other three bodies were used as ballast in Clarke's 182T. The Archer filed an IFR flight plan and Clarke went VFR with traffic advisories. We were wheels off the ground around 0900 and flew for an uneventful hour and a few minutes before landing at KOUN.

Ozzie's Diner is in the building adjacent to and north the control tower. Parking spots are conveniently located just a few feet from the door of the building. Ozzie's is not a very large place and you can tell by the tables outside of the restaurant and in the lobby that they get a fair amount of business. We sat down in time for the breakfast menu but were a bit early for those folks wanting lunch. The breakfast offerings were all good looking and reportedly very tasty. You sure couldn't beat the prices! Note - they are cash only with an ATM in the FBO if you get in a pinch. We sat there and visited long enough that the lunch menu became available. The 40+ folks (the median age is probably a bit higher but we don't want to insult anyone) were plenty full with breakfast but the young one in the group had a space available for a bowl of chili and some cornbread from the lunch menu! Impressive.

We stopped by the Airport Manager's office to say hello and to put a name to a face. She was very nice and gave us some good tips during the planning stages regarding transportation options. She was kind enough to pass out luggage tags from her goody bag for everyone. We coordinated with Cruise Aviation in an attempt to secure the courtesy car for the afternoon but unfortunately the person before us had not returned it in time for us to take it at noon. We secured two Uber rides and headed down to the National Weather Center.

The tour started around 1300 with about thirty folks. Our tour guide is a meteorologist who is working for the NWC and graduated from OU. He had an excellent tour guide voice and was very knowledgeable about the products, services, and operations of the NWC. We looked around at some the vehicles in the fleet including a couple of converted ambulances, and radar platform, and phased array radar platform, and some vehicles outfitted with instrumentation packages. Two of the vans in the fleet were being rented and sustained hail damage on one of the trips. They own them because it was cheaper to buy them to pay for the damages. The next stop was the local forecast offices for the Norman area. The offices were fairly sparsely staffed since it was a calm weather day and since a lot of folks had been temporarily assigned to help with Hurricane Florence. Lots of good information about local forecast, NOAA Weather radio, watches and warnings. We stopped in the hall to look at the Mesonet weather reporting system used in Oklahoma. They have a linked system of reporting stations all across the state which reports the basics such as wind, temperature, humidity, etc. The last set of offices we toured was the Storm Prediction Center for the entire US. In all of the offices they have a ton of displays showing all kinds of weather conditions.

The last stop was back on the first floor at the six foot diameter projection globe. They use four projectors to display a variety of images on the the globe. With a bit of video trickery, they are able to make it appear as if the globe is rotating but in fact it is the image that is being moved across the surface of the globe. They were able to show us several displays such as air currents and infrared images of storms over the entire planet. The infrared image showed Hurricane Florence being born of the west coast of Africa and making its way across the Atlantic to the US.

Another round of Uber rides got us back to KOUN and after consulting with the weather briefer and filing an IFR plane for the Archer we headed back around 1545. There was some weather in the area but with some altitude, a few turns, and some good timing, both planes were able to steer clear of any issues and get back to KGVT in about 1.5 hours. Love or DFW stopped accepting arrivals for a bit and the ADS-B Out stackup of planes east of the metroplex was impressive!

It was a good trip. The club has never been on that tour and as usual, the camaraderie was half the fun. KOUN is a nice facility if you are not an Aggie or a Longhorn, you get your money's worth at Ozzie's, and the NWC tour was informative and interesting.

Tags:

ZFW ARTCC Tour - 25 August 2018

A dozen of us made the trek to the intersection of Texas 183 and Highway 360 to tour the Fort Worth Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC). The C.R. Smith museum, the American Airlines Flagship University cafeteria, and the FAA ARTCC building are all somewhat co-located in the area bounded by Texas 183 to the north and Highway 360 to the east. It makes it fairly convenient to hit all three places as part of the tour.

Several of us visited the revamped C.R. Smith museum prior to lunch and the tour. One of the newest additions is a six foot diameter globe in the entry area. Apparently they are able to project a bunch of stuff on the globe but as they said, "we are still learning how to use the system". The morning of the tour they had it set up to show all of the AA flights and the OneWorld partner flights in the air all around the world! It was pretty cool. At the base of the globe they had interactive displays that would allow you to select airports all over the world and watch the air traffic in the those areas much like a FlightAware display. The museum added a few more kid friendly exhibits the kids could crawl around on and touch including the cockpit of an MD80. The good news is that is one less of those tin cans in service! The interactive "what if" scenarios in the middle of the museum were interesting although they definitely were spun to help AA soften the blow of flight delays due to weather.

After hanging out in a very well air conditioned museum for a bit, we strolled across the street to the AA Flagship University cafeteria. In the past, they had a wider variety of selections but on this day, it was a nice salad bar, a grill for sandwiches, and some dessert offerings. No lines, pretty fair food, and very reasonable prices. We were able to grab a long table and all sit together and tell lies. It is a very comfortable and convenient place to eat lunch and hang out between the museum and the FAA building.

Our tour was scheduled for 1 p.m. so we made our way down the street to the FAA Security office in time for them to scan us and our belongings and issue badges. Bryan Roberts met us a the guard shack and escorted us to the conference room. The presentation was similar to past presentations and outlined the varies sectors, boundaries as well as the six operational areas within ZFW. Those six operational areas are divided into thirty-five sectors comprise of sixteen low altitude sections (SFC-FL230) and nineteen high altitude sectors (>FL240). Majors Field is in the Quitman Sector and for us general aviation folks, specifically the Quitman Low, Sector 83 area. Bryan Roberts is a controller for the Quitman Low, Sector 83 area which made it a particularly interesting presentation. After the presentation and some questions and answers along the way, we all moved up the "floor". We were split among the various controllers and got to plug in and chat with a controller while they worked. Some of us even got to sit with the Quitman Low controller. Pretty cool. We moved over to the weather center and spent a few minutes with the on duty meteorologist. They have quite a nice set of displays at their finger tips and all kinds of weather data available to make their forecasts. It was interesting to see the NOAA Aviation Weather website being used by the meteorologist. Bryan took us back to the conference room for a question and answer period to end the tour. We had prepared a pretty good list of questions which he answered one by one as well as questions from the floor. The program is very focused on encouraging VFR pilots to take advantage of traffic advisories for both the benefit of the VFR pilot, other pilots, and the controllers.

It is a very enlightening program and one that every pilot should attend. The program really helps to demystify the intimidating ATC world!

Tags:

Membership Meeting - 24 May 2018

Minutes courtesy of the club Secretary, Mr. Dennis Harwell:

Call to order: The meeting was called to order at 1732 by Dennis Mathis.

Introductions: Special guests were introduced by Mr Mathis, including:
• John Riley, the Director of Public Works.
• Harry Andonian
• Bob Sudderith, our Guest Speaker for the evening.
Treasurer's Report:
• B.J. Finney provided a brief summary of the Club’s current financial status.
Secretary's Report:
• Dennis Harwell announced that those club membership cards which had not been picked up since the January General Membership meeting were available to be picked up at this evening’s meeting.
Aircraft Status:
• Dennis Guinn noted that the Archer’s wheel fairing has been repaired and returned to us, so it is ready to be re-attached.
• Mr. Guinn also noted that two of the Cessna’s engine cylinders failed to reach proper compression and had to be removed for service. They will hopefully be re-attached on Friday, 25 May (tomorrow).
Club Events:
• Denis Rottler noted that while there were currently no events scheduled on the club events calendar, new events are in-work, based on the input the membership provided from the survey he conducted in January.
• Mr. Rottler provided a brief summary of the results of the survey, listing the types of events that are interesting to the membership.
Safety Officer / Chief Pilot's Safety Briefing:
• Mark Armstrong was unable to arrive at the meeting until late, so he was unable to provide a safety briefing.
Recognition:
• Dennis Mathis announced that Tyler Sanders recently successfully completed his checkride and received his FAA Private Pilot certificate. He was presented with a special Club certificate for his achievement.
• Mr. Mathis also announced that Zach Miller also recently successfully completed his checkride and obtained his FAA Private Pilot certificate. He was also presented with a special Club certificate.
• Mr. Mathis also announced that Nathaniel Bennett and Josh Stone recently passed their checkrides and received their FAA Private Pilot certificates, but neither were present at the meeting to be recognized.
Guest Speaker:
• Our Guest Speaker for the evening was Bob Sudderith, an aerospace engineer with an interesting career, including a number of years at Edwards Air Force Base during the time of critical historic supersonic research. He presented an interesting program about the history of supersonic flight.
• Mr. Suddertih was presented with a personalized “Thank-You” coffee mug after his talk.

The meeting was adjourned by Dennis Mathis at 1712.




















View a slideshow of ALL of the pictures taken at the May 2018 Membership Meeting: Membership Meeting - May 2018

Tags:

Wash & Wax Party - 19 May 2018























The club held its annual Wash & Wax Party on Saturday, May 19th. Dennis Guinn, our Maintenance Officer, organized another very successful event. We had a total of eleven folks show up to help wash, wax, vacuum, clean windows, eat sandwiches, and tell stories!

The Bennett family washed the Archer the previous weekend so the Archer didn't need to come out of the hangar. Nice job Bennett family! The Archer was dusted off and then waxed in the shade of the hangar by a dedicated foursome comprised of Dennis Guinn, Ian Horbaczewski, Tom Hubert, and Theo Hughes. Apparently you have to be in a special section of the alphabet to get that plum job!

The Cessna got the full treatment even though it was missing two cylinders. The engine was covered with plastic to protect it from water overspray and Alysia Hall, Zach Miller, Christine Rottler, and Bill Schatz got after it. Mineral spirits made quick work of the belly degreasing effort while Alysia cleaned the inside of the windows. Buckets were filled with soapy water, washing pads were passed out, and the mighty Cessna got its bath. After drying it off, it was pushed back into the hanger for the wax job.

Even though the engine cowling pieces were removed, they got some love from Clarke Erwin. They are all cleaned up and waxed and ready to be reinstalled when the cylinders come back from the repair shop.

We were finished by 11 a.m. and the Subway sandwiches, chips, and cookies were delivered around 11:15 a.m. There was a nice breeze and some cloud cover which made sitting in the shade of Bay 1 very pleasant. Mr. Guinn, with the help of Lisa Reeder, conducted a raffle to give away three mini-LED flashlights, two aviation related koozies, and several scratch off tickets. No millionaires this time but if the winners work together they can use their flashlights to find their ice cold beers in their new koozies if the lights ever go out!

As usual, we sat around and talked and told lies for a while which is always way more fun than working. Since we spent more time eating and telling lies than working, it has to be called a success.

Thanks to all of you who volunteered your Saturday morning to Wash & Wax the club airplane. They look really nice and very shiny!

Tags:

Aircraft Annual Workparty Celebration - 10May2018

The process of getting the club airplanes through their annual inspection and back in the air requires quite a bit of effort. There is a lot of coordination required between our A&P mechanic, Mike Zimmerman and the club Maintenance Officer, Dennis Guinn. Replacement parts have to be identified and ordered which generally falls to our president, Dennis Mathis. This year for example, the Archer received a re-manufactured engine which added to the work load and the schedule! Sufficed to say, there is a lot of behind the scenes effort required in an attempt to minimize the down time of the airplanes during the annual.

This year the club had a good number of members volunteer their time and labor to help expedite the process. There are always tasks we can accomplish as members which don't require Mike's expertise and which allows him to concentrate on the important stuff. Interior removals, vacuuming the exposed areas, lubing the control cables, and patching wheel fairings for example were all accomplished by members.

Of course, none of it would happen if we didn't have Mike Zimmerman working on his days off and on Saturdays trying his best to get our planes back in service.

So, in order to properly acknowledge the efforts related to this year's annual process, the Board of Directors decided have a small celebration at a local Greenville restaurant and treat some of the folks and their spouses to a nice dinner. Some wine was consumed, some prizes were raffled off, and looking at the pictures, it looks like a good time was had.

Thanks to all for the extra help you provided this year. Only seven months before the Cessna annual!

Tags: