Category Archives: learnng to fly

Aviation Design Challenge for high school students in third year

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association is hosting its third annual Aviation Design Challenge for high school students.

The nationwide competition is to promote science, technology, engineering and math skills.

In 2014, the challenge attracted entries from 79 schools in 33 states plus Washington, DC., the trade group said.

Under the competition, GAMA will provide 100 teachers who enter with a “Fly to Learn” curriculum and five copies of airplane design and simulation software powered by X-Plane for their classrooms.

The lessons can be used to teach the basics of aerospace engineering and design, GAMA said.

Students learn to apply that knowledge to modify and fly their own virtual airplane in a fly-off.

Teachers wanting to learn more about the competition can e-mail their name, school name and school’s city and state to

GAMA will release more information about the competition later this year.

Yingling Aviation donates simulator to K-State Salina

Yingling Aviation has donated a flight simulator to Kansas State University’s flight program in Salina, the two organizations said.

The simulator is designed to simulate a Cessna 172 with Garmin G1000 avionics and a GFC700 autopilot.

Yingling had been using the simulator for the past six years for its flight training program.

It’s since discontinued flight instruction.

Donating the simulator to K-State was an easy choice, Lonnie Vaughan, Yingling president, said.

“We decided to find it a home where it can be put to valuable use, and K-State Salina obviously fits that bill,” Vaughan said.

The school is waiting for Federal Aviation Administration approval to incorporate the simulator formally into its pilot training curriculum.

Augusta airport to host pilot appreciation day

The Augusta Municipal Airport is hosting a pilot appreciation day from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday with grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, flights for children and a spot landing contest.

The Experimental Aircraft Association will be hosting its Young Eagles program, with free rides for children as a way to introduce them to the joy of aviation.

The  Boeing Employees Flying Club will also be hosting its annual spot landing contest in the morning.

The event is free and open to all local pilots.



Three Kansas teams flying in women’s air race

Three Kansas teams are flying in the 2012 Air Race Classic, an all-women race that began Tuesday.

The 2,330 nautical-mile race started in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., and ends in Batavia, Ohio.

Fifty-five planes are registered.

Contestants typically have four days of flying in daylight hours to reach the final destination.

Each plane is given a handicap speed, and the goal is to have the actual ground speed as far over the handicap speed as possible, according to information from race organizers.

Pilots have leeway to work with the elements, such as holding out for better weather.

“The objective is to fly the ‘perfect’ cross-country,” race information said.

Taking part are local pilots Janet Yoder and Joyce Wilson, who are flying a Cessna 182 Skylane.

Two teams are representing Kansas State University: Nicole Lordemann and Tonya Hodson; and Megan Henderson and Summer Gajewski.

Both are flying Cessna 172 airplanes.



Young Eagles flights at Jabara Airport Saturday

Have a child, tween or teen who would like to see what it’s like to fly in a small airplane? The Wichita Chapter 88 of the Experimental Aviation Association is hosting Young Eagles flights Saturday at Jabara Airport.

The event will be held from 9 a.m. to noon.

Children and teens ages 8 through 17 can take a 20-to-35 minute flight. There is no charge. But an adult must sign a permission form before the flight can begin.

In case of rain, the next Young Eagles flights will be held from 9 a.m. to noon, Oct. 2 at the Augusta Airport.

Annual Air Capital Fly-in to be held Saturday

Love to look at airplanes of all kinds, colors and sizes? Organizers expect about 100 airplanes to land at the Newton City-County Airport Saturday for the 47th annual Fly-in and banquet.

The event is sponsored by the Experimental Aircraft Association Jayhawk Chapter 88. It begins at 7 a.m. and will include airplane judging, flying contests and building of airplane toys.

A Young Eagles program also will be offering airplane rides to children aged 8 to 17. They first attend a brief ground school to learn how an airplane flies and how a pilot prepares for a flight.  The program is free.

Airplanes on display will range from home-builts, racers, bi-planes, vintage, military and restored commercial production aircraft.

A barbecue dinner will start at 6 p.m. at the Newton Best Western, Red Coach Inn at 1301 E. First Street in Newton.

For more information or to make banquet reservations, call Bob Blanton at 683-9759 or e-mail

A beautiful day for a long flight

I took a vacation day Friday because the weather was perfect. I’ve been waiting for a beautiful day to finally fly solo on my first cross country flight, a key milestone on the way to earning a private pilot’s license.

From the Augusta airport, I planned out my route from the Augusta to Salina to Hutchinson and back home — about 160 miles in all. The requirements say you have to fly at least 150 miles and land at three airports.

My flight instructor checked my trip planning and other key items and sent me on my way with these words of encouragement: “Call me the minute you land or from the crash site.” It lightened a tense moment.

I didn’t get lost or nervous talking to air traffic controllers. And I wasn’t overwhelmed flying into the Salina airport — which was busy with larger and faster military aircraft — in my tiny, slow Piper Tri-Pacer.

Once back at the Augusta airport, I called my instructor. “Hello Dave? I think I’m in Liberal.” He laughed.

Flight Festival to have planes on static display, including mine

WICHITA — If you’re coming out to the Wichita Flight Festival at Jabara Airport on Saturday, be sure to stop by to see the airplanes on static display. For the first time, my dad’s plane — a 1956 Piper Tri-Pacer — will be out there on display.

It’s the plane I’m learning to fly in. It’s a great little airplane — one of many cool ones that will be out tomorrow.

Come on out and be sure to stop by and say Hi!!

Benton airport hosts Young Eagle flights for children

Bring the kids. Volunteer pilots who are members of the Experimental Aircraft Association will be giving free airplane rides to children this Saturday as part of EAA’s Young Eagle’s program. The program was designed to expose children ages 8 to 17 to general aviation.

The pilots donate their skills, planes, time and fuel.

Flights will run from 9 a.m. to noon at the Benton Stearman Airpark. The Scouts will be hosting a pancake breakfast in the morning as well.

Learning to fly has a few frustrating moments, but it’s still a thrill

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I’m learning to fly. It’s a sometimes frustrating but always thrilling experience. The good news is, after a hiatus last winter, I’m getting close to earning my private pilot’s license.

Recently, I flew to Ponca City, 56 miles away, and back by myself.

This week, my instructor, Dave Dewhirst, and I did a little flying tour of a few Wichita-area airports.

With the flight, I practiced knowing how things look from the air and matching up what’s out the window with landmarks on a sectional map. (That will go a long way towards avoiding getting lost someday.) Things look different from up there.

The other benefit was to practice flying in to an unfamiliar airport, getting in the pattern and lining up to land properly.

So with Dave in the right seat, I took off from the Augusta Airport, flew to El Dorado, then to Jabara, on to Newton and back to Augusta.
Dave told me to forget that he was even in the plane.

The airports aren’t that far away. But you have to have the information you need handy — such as the radio frequencies, which way the runways are oriented, the airports’ altitudes and direction of the wind. And you have to make decisions about when to begin the descent and how to properly get into the pattern.

I made some mistakes along the way. One was not realizing that the airport I saw on the ground was indeed the Newton Airport. (Duh!) Another was not seeing the Augusta Airport on the way back until I was pretty close to it. Plus, my altitude was too high on the final approach. Ugh!

Needless to say, I’m a little frustrated with myself. But I’m told every student has similar experiences. And that putting it all together comes with practice. I can’t wait until the next lesson.