January Gateway meeting: Wednesday, January 12, at the Columns in St. Charles. Ray Kerr will discuss aviation activities from his vantage point in the Spirit of Saint Louis control tower. We invite all MPA members and their guests to join us! Dinner will be tossed salad, Italian bean soup, chicken piccata, cannelloni, fiesta blend vegetables, rolls and butter, and cheesecake for dessert. Dinner is still just $13/person. Doors open at 6 pm, serving begins at 6:30 pm and the program gets underway at 7:30 pm with a short business meeting to follow. Phone your dinner reservations to Jean Murry at 314-469-3541 by 3 pm Monday, January 10. Please join us and remember to bring a friend and get a free 50/50 ticket.
Fifty-two members and guests made merry at our annual Christmas party at the Columns. Jim Hostler (guitar), Trigg Render (bass), Ron Daugherty (harmonica), and Bob Kraemer (vocals) led us in a sing-along of traditional and some not so traditional carols. This was followed by an unusually larcenous rob-thy-neighbor gift exchange. A framed Staggerwing print by Joe Dobronsky, a laser-light Christmas tree, a couple of bottles of wine, and several tool sets were particular favorites. Chris Lehmann, decked out in full Santa regalia, refereed the mayhem. The Columns supplied an excellent buffet of baked salmon and roast prime rib with all the trimmings, while our members brought all sorts of cookies and other goodies for dessert. It was truly one of out best holiday bashes! We were really pleased so see so many of our members and to welcome new members Steve and Kathleen Hall and their son Ryan.
News from State: Chuck Maggart reports that the state air derby/tour may include an overnight stay this year, as was the norm several years ago. There is also an on-going discussion about the state giving free membership for one year to student pilots and possibly to flight instructors who get three new members a year in order to bolster the state MPA membership roles. The state convention will be in Mt. Vernon, MO sometime in June. Stay tuned for further news on all these fronts.
Sam Bell has been hired by Corporate Aviation, a division of American Connection that flies commuter turboprops from STL to Nashville and other destinations. He also passed his ATP written exam on December 29. He will serve two weeks active duty with the Missouri Air National Guard and then will begin flight training with Corporate Aviation on January 17. Sam is Chuck Maggartís son-in-law and took his first flight with Chuck in his Tri-Pacer when he was in high school.
Chuck and Lana Maggart have purchased a Zenith Zodiac kit which is scheduled to arrive in March. Iím sure we are all invited to go watch Chuck put his new airplane together, since thatís probably the only way weíll get to see him until itís finished.
Jay Underdown is putting together a group of up to five members to buy an Aeronca Champ (7AC). The aircraft is Sport Pilot qualified and will be hangared in Troy, MO. Buy-in will be approximately $5000 per member, insurance will cost about $1500 per year. No other costs have been determined. If you are interested call Jay at 636-946-9980 (work) or 636-723-4200 (home).
Safety tip of the month from Rick Albrecht, president, GSLFIA: As Steve Long of the St. Louis FSDO always reminds us: good maintenance is no accident. If you own your own airplane, know your mechanic and maintenance facility. Get some hands-on familiarity with your aircraftís systems and work with a mechanic you trust to make certain all systems are airworthy when you fly. If you are a renter, know the people you fly with. Be familiar with your FBOís maintenance policies, and donít be afraid to ground an aircraft with obvious operational deficiencies.