Current membership is at 1,940 members.
For whatever reason, we had a huge bump in views of our videos just before Thanksgiving.
It would a perfect world if the GPA had enough extra money to be able to award a 1500 or 2500 dollar scholarship but alas we do not. So we chose a different method. We look at people who loved aviation and were going to stay in it with maybe even military flying. To this end we decided on a seeding program. After a suitable person was located, we would find a local pilot and have them take the person up in the left seat for an hour and let them see how a Grumman really flew. By doing this somewhere down the road/airway then would be able to counter anything negative that folks would say about our planes.
So if you know of a candidate and can safely fly right seat, let us know. We will pay for an hour of your fuel to show them our planes.
Here is what our first awardee had to say.
My aviation story begins differently from many other aviators: I have not always wanted to be a pilot. As a girl growing up in a small town in Indiana, it simply never occurred to me as an option. I had no aviators in my family, and since most pilots I encountered were older men who flew massive airliners or military jets, I couldn’t conceive of myself stepping into those shoes. But as I grew, the world changed, and so did I; and when I got to the end of my college career, unsure of my future and lacking any strong career ambitions, a basic career aptitude test illuminated my path like lightning in the night when it told me I would make a good pilot. That one word – “pilot” – strung together all the aspects of my personality and interests in a way that no other aspiration had before. I took a discovery flight, and that was the beginning of the end; I was irrevocably hooked on flying.
The problem from that point on was not ambition, but execution. I had just graduated college with a degree in political science, no viable job prospects in that field, and student loan debt; and, as we all know, flight training is not cheap. I chose to work a full-time job unrelated to aviation to fund my flight training at a Part 61 operation. I wanted to go at my own pace and pay as I went. However, my first year of “flight training” saw only 13 hours of flight time and an embarrassingly low amount of studying. I made the decision to move back home so I could put the money I was using on rent towards flying. The biggest change came when I was able to start working for the FBO at the Butler County Regional Airport, where I was taking my lessons. There is nothing more motivating than having an endless stream of aviation enthusiasts asking you about your flight training – you want to be able to tell them that you are progressing and loving every minute of it! With Blue Sky Flight Training, I got my private pilot’s license in just over a year and with 100 hours of flight time. I used that time to become as proficient as possible rather than just barely scraping by with the minimum amount of knowledge and experience to pass the check ride. I plan to continue with my training by earning my instrument and commercial ratings.
Aside from having consistent access to the rental aircraft and my instructor, working at the Butler County Airport has provided me with the opportunity to form many friendships on the field. Roscoe Rosche, owner of Yankee Aviation and prominent member of the Grumman Pilots Association, was kind enough to offer me a ride in a Grumman Cheetah with his good friend and fellow pilot Matt Wing. On a beautiful summer evening, Matt let me ride left seat as we flew northeast towards Richmond, IN, where I grew up. Everything about the airplane spoiled me, including the differential braking (I am notorious for over-braking during taxi – just ask my instructor – so this came naturally to me), the classic rock music that bled softly through the Bose headsets as we cruised, and the landing that came much more smoothly than what I was used to in a Cessna 172. Since then, I have also ridden in a Long EZ, several RV-8s, a Baron, a Pitts, a Ford Tri-Motor, and a King Air 350. Because of the generosity of Roscoe, Matt, and the many others on the field who have contributed to my interest in aviation, it has become a long-term goal of mine to ride in as many different types of general aviation aircraft as possible. Although I don’t have any blood relatives who are aviators, I have experienced how easy it is to find your own family within the aviation community, and I look forward to the day when I can generously share my passion with younger aviators as so many have done for me.
As you know Ken Blackman passed away last May and his business ground to a halt. The shop was wanted by another mechanic (shop space in the Seattle area is hard to come by) so he was able to get it. Roscoe called the Blackman family and worked out a deal on all of Ken’s Grumman stuff at the shop.
Next order of business was to put together a crew and arrange transportation for all the Grumman parts. The first trailer was delivered December 14th, and loading started on Saturday. The second trailer was finished the following Monday and now both are on their way across the US to Yankee Aviation in Ohio.
I would like to thank Mark Matthews, Rich Harrison, Dan Baisley, Jimmy Candeletti, and Klaus Marx (IA for Ken for 10 years and who I trained under for my IA) for their help in loading and sorting through everything.
We are very happy to have saved all these Grumman parts to support the fleet.
First Yankee delivered 50 years ago.
It was in late 1968 that the first Yankee was delivered to a customer.