by Scott Thompson
As we start to transition into summer, I want to summarize four areas into which our chapter has invested time and resources.
The first are the upgrades we are doing to our chapter hangar. Anyone who was in our chapter home in April saw some big changes. The hangar floor has been sealed and painted after most of the water leaks were, hopefully, eliminated. And then, we have purchased and installed modular shelving for both storage and utilization. Getting the hangar a bit more organized and excessing off unneeded material will aid in making our gatherings and events that much better. The work in this first phase is not quite done but it is close. Next up will be some reworking of our audio-visual equipment and adding some other touches to make our chapter home that much better. The hangar work has been organized and directed by board member Rubin Wallin with a bunch of volunteer help behind him.
The second item is the Young Eagles Rally we are holding on May 12. The chapter has participated in Rallies in years past, but this is an effort to make it a priority in our chapter planning. We are using an EAA-provided program called Flight Squid to do online sign ups for both Young Eagles and pilots. It seems to be working pretty well and I think it will keep the Rally somewhat organized by having just fifteen Young Eagles per hour participating. Over five hours, we expect to fly 75 young people and introduce them to aviation. More Rallies are in the future.
Much behind the scenes effort and planning have gone into the Rally, and many chapter volunteers have stepped up to help out. The event would not be possible if the pilots and ground volunteers were not stepping up. Our chapter Young Eagles Coordinator is Cheryl Andrade who is a newcomer to the chapter but has organized much of the planning that went into this first Rally.
The third area is an initiative to provide a pancake breakfast to go along with the LRAA Aircraft Display Day that is held the third Saturday of each month at the airport. Our intent is make the pancake breakfast available in an effort to widen the appeal of the Display Day outside the airport and into the community. We also hope to attract some attendees from other area airports to the Display Day. Our chapter leadership is of the mind that anything that raises awareness of the airport’s benefit is good for the Lincoln Airport and the LRAA and our EAA Chapter 1541 as well. Also, all proceeds from the Display Day pancake breakfasts will be dedicated solely to our chapter scholarship fund.
To make this pancake breakfast happen and to also support the other meals we cook at events, chapter Vice President Tom Lieb is organizing a cooking team to spread the workload out a bit but still cover all the scheduled cooking. It’s not an easy task because it also required keeping a food inventory and purchasing supplies as needed. Costco is involved.
Finally, the fourth area is one that is still a bit in the background but we are actively working it. It is the Learning and Development Program. This initiative is being led by board member Erika Wallin. Our intent is to develop over the longer term a program of scholarships and mentorships to involve new people in aviation. We also plan to develop learning opportunities for chapter members and visitors on various aspects of aviation from riveting to electrical troubleshooting. The Learning and Development Program will be the umbrella that covers these different but related efforts.
We are seeing some growth in our chapter numbers and see our membership up over a hundred again. I can only thank the many who are there every week pitching in to make things happen, and offer an open invitation to anyone chapter member who wants to join the effort. We need you and you might have some fun.