Hangar Traffic Pattern - 10March2017

Our Maintenance Officer, Dennis Guinn, saw something in a hangar at the Gainesville airport (KGLE) that he thought would benefit our students receiving their primary flight training. Check out the traffic pattern he installed on the hangar floor on the left side of the Cessna. As you can see from the pictures the traffic pattern includes a 45 degrees entry to the downwind leg for both 17 & 35 as well as the downwind, base, and final legs for 17 & 35. The idea is for the students receiving their primary training to practice radio calls while "flying" the pattern in the hangar. There is a lot going on in those first couple of flying lessons and then the instructor wants you to talk on the radio all at the same time! The instructor, or another pilot, can act as a controller or another aircraft in the pattern when the tower is closed, to simulate radio calls as the student walks the pattern and makes the appropriate calls and adjustments to the aircraft at the appropriate places in the pattern. We temporarily disabled the video and audio monitoring in the hangar so don't be shy about practicing. It might save you a few dollars if you can get comfortable practicing on the ground versus in the airplane.


Wash & Wax Party - 04March2017


On the morning of Saturday, March 4th just a little before 10 a.m. the faithful started streaming into the Majors Flying Club hangars. It was a cool, breezy, and cloudy morning and not the best weather to wash and wax airplanes. Nonetheless ALL sixteen (16) folks who volunteered to help over the last couple of weeks showed up and got after it.

Our Maintenance Officer, Dennis Guinn, had all the towels, soap, buckets, hoses, washing pads, belly degreasing stuff, and cleaning materials laid out, organized, and ready to go. Around 10:10 a.m. we started on the interior and the belly degreasing effort with the airplanes in the hangar. Alysia Hall took on the interior of the Cessna and worked hard to get the windows and upholstery cleaned and the carpet vacuumed. Mike Smith, our newest member, tackled the interior of the Archer and worked equally hard to get it all clean and shiny. In a parallel effort, two swarms of folks attacked the belly of both the Archer and the Cessna for the degreasing effort. Last year Mr. Guinn experimented with mineral spirits and one of those gas station window washing squeegee/foam pad things with a handle that are normally sitting in brown water at the gas stations as a way to degrease the belly. It works so well and it so much easier than towels that it is now our standard method of degreasing our airplanes. In any case, two folks per airplane were using the tool to apply the mineral spirits while several other folks with towels were wiping off the excess and making the bellies shine. Around 10:40 a.m. the planes were pulled out of the hangar and the washing began. It was very cool to see both airplanes on the ramp at the same time, with six (6) to eight (8) people per airplane working on the planes. The airplanes were dried off and back in the hangar by around 11:10 a.m. Fresh towels, applicator pads, and bottles of wax were broken out and the wax job commenced. Again, it was very cool to see that many folks working on both airplanes at the same time.

Somewhere between the washing and waxing effort, Joe Rector, our Assistant Treasurer and head Chef, showed up with the goodies for a scrumptious burger, brat, and hot dog lunch. Chips, potato salad, sausage queso, a full tray of lettuce, onions, and cheese, relishes, and condiments were all available to dress out a nice plate of food. Cookies AND a tray of the inimitable Gordon Hay brownies anchored the dessert end of the food table. It must have been the wonderful aroma of burgers, brats, and hot dogs on the grill that helped us get across the finish line because we were essentially finished with the Wash & Wax effort for both airplanes by noon! Chef Rector lead us in a blessing and the chow line was open for business.

As you can see from the pictures, no one liked the lunch. We set up some tables under the Cessna wing and commenced with some of that hangar camaraderie stuff and the devouring of Joe's offerings. The President, Dennis Mathis, said a few words and thanked the folks for showing up in force. But really, it was the Chance at $5000 that everyone was waiting for. The 5X Cash Scratch Off tickets were passed out and it seems like there were three winners of $1 each. It turns out it was not much of a chance at $5000.

A couple of follow on notes of interest:
During lunch, we heard air "escape" from the Cessna. Upon further review, it was discovered that the nose wheel tire had gone flat. Check out the pictures of the clean and shiny Cessna with its nose wheel off the ground. Mike Smith and Dennis Guinn took care of the repair. It was particularly fortuitous timing as the Cessna was scheduled for a 1300 flight. It looked like the valve stem had gotten misaligned over time with the opening in the wheel rim which ultimately sheared off the valve stem at the inner tube. Better for it to fail in the hangar than on landing.

Check out the shine on the red paint of the Cessna! Gordon Hay brought his "stuff" which included a polishing compound and an electric buffer. In a relatively short period of time, Gordon had the red paint popping on the Cessna. It has not shined like that in more than a couple of years. Excellent job Gordon. Have a brownie on us!

As you know, the club has an arrangement with Harvest Aviation and their Cherokee. Regular club members have access to that airplane just as if it was one of the club airplanes. The owner offered the club a generous donation to wash the Cherokee so since we had everything set up and some extra people power, we asked Tom Hubert to taxi that bad boy over to the wash station so we could wash and dry it. By this time it had gotten a bit cooler and even though the volunteers had already satisfied their commitment, several of them pitched in to help get the Cherokee washed.

Many, many thanks to everyone who showed up. The primary goal was to get the airplanes cleaned up and that was accomplished very efficiently and with excellent results. You can't argue with around two hours start to finish to get two airplanes all cleaned up and back in the barn. The best part though is the chance to get to know the other members of the club, a chance for folks to get more involved in the club, and the buzz of the camaraderie from hangar flying. Clean airplanes are nice, but hanging out is what everyone would rather do. While not a goal, it is a nice benefit to this kind of an event and it seems like that square was covered as well.

Speaking of camaraderie, keep an eye out for details for the Second Majors Field Fly Out of 2017. We are currently working on a fly out event for Saturday, April 15th. Details to follow when we firm up some of the specifics. For the months of May and June we are working on a trip to Mt. Pleasant (KOSA) to tour the Mid America Flight Museum and a Happy Hour, Potluck Dinner, Hangar Movie night. Stay tuned!

Check out the flyer for the Spring Wash & Wax Party


Majors Field Fly Out - KDUA and the Choctaw Casino - 11February2017

The first Majors Field Fly Out of 2017 was a very successful and fun event. We picked Butterfields Buffet in the Choctaw Casino as our breakfast destination for several reasons. Since this was our first attempt at organizing this type of an event, we picked something fairly close and fairly easy to get in and out of to test the waters. The Durant-Eaker Airport (KDUA) is served by the shuttles from the Choctaw Casino so transportation was not an issue and breakfast was only $7.99. KDUA is only 54 NM from KGVT, just across the Red River, has a good runway, and a nice terminal. Besides, who doesn't want a shot at being a millionaire right after breakfast?

On Saturday morning around 0730 CST, people and airplanes started showing up at Majors Field. The initial plan was to fly the Archer, the Cessna, and the Cherokee but due to the windy conditions and expected headwinds on the return trip, we decided to leave the Cessna in the barn. Clarke Erwin flew his 182T over from Aero Country and we ended up in a three plane gaggle carrying a total of nine (9) people. It was fairly windy and gusty at Majors but it was pretty much down the runway. The clouds were at about 2100' AGL with clear skies reported around the Bonham area. Clarke led the charge with Ned Howard, Manning Mann, and Joe Rector as passengers. The Archer followed with Dennis Guinn in the left seat, Jason Anthraper in the right seat, and Denis Rottler in the back. Mark Armstrong had our backs in the Cherokee with Bill Schatz in the right seat. We blasted off around 0750 CST and stayed below the clouds for a while and got bumped around a bit. We used 123.45 MHz as our interplane frequency and received reports of clear skies ahead from Clarke. The skies cleared around Bonham, we got a little altitude, and the ride smoothed out. Pretty uneventful flight after that. Clarke had some issues with planes in the pattern at KDUA not being on the radio but it all worked out.

Getting a ride on the shuttle couldn't be easier. The direct number is posted in the terminal and just a few minutes later the shuttle picked us up for a 3 minute ride to the casino. The breakfast buffet was a breakfast buffet. Trays of eggs, sausage patties and links, bacon, tater tots, some fruit, and some pastries. It was okay for $7.99 but probably not a destination breakfast location. The siren call of the casino eventually made its way to our breakfast table and the hopefuls made a break for it. A meeting time of 1100 CST was selected and at 1100 CST it seems like there was one $15 winner in the group. The shuttle took us back to the terminal, we loaded up, and headed south. The wind was still up but again it was mostly down the runway. The skies were clear and the headwinds at 3500' and 5500' were negligible. On the return trip the Archer was the first to land followed by the Cherokee and then by Clarke and company. All three planes were on the ground by around 1230 CST.

The idea behind these events is primarily an excuse to fly somewhere with secondary goals of encouraging ride sharing in order to share the fun of flying and to stimulate some camaraderie around Majors Field. It seems like the event touched on all of those goals with the passengers enjoying the trip as much as the pilots.

We are already planning the next event. Stay tuned!


Harry Andonian's 93rd Birthday - 08February2017

On Wednesday, February 8th a group of Harry Andonian's friends gathered at the Snuffer's restaurant in Greenville, TX to celebrate Harry's 93rd birthday.

Dennis Mathis and Karen Smith organized a very nice celebration for Harry complete with a custom made birthday card, a cake large enough to hold 93 candles (just kidding), and some special guests. The custom made birthday day included a picture of Harry's beautiful Debonair and the words "The Man, The Myth, The Legend" on the front cover. The birthday cake might have been able to hold 93 candles but we had to be out of the restaurant before the sun went down so a #9 candle and a #3 candle were used instead.

Mr. Mathis made a few introductory remarks (as if anyone could stop him) and presented Harry with his birthday card. Mr. Mathis then introduced Mayor Dreiling who had a few words to say before he read the City Proclamation to commemorate and recognize Harry's birthday. It was a very nice touch - The Proclamation. The Mayor was followed by the City Manager, Massoud Ebrahim. Massoud had a few words to say before he gave Harry quite a few gifts from his bag of City of Greenville stuff. Massoud followed up with a short, personal story about his friendship with Harry. Clarke Erwin and Joe Rector stood up and also had some kind words to say about Harry.

Lunch was served, iced tea was spilled, a few lies were likely told, and a mini-reunion occurred (Clint Logwood and Ty Helton). The candles were lit, a rousing but off key rendition of Happy Birthday was sung, the candles were blown out, the birthday cake was cut, and the sugar rush was enjoyed by all.

It was a nice celebration for a man we all admire and respect. And as a closing note that so completely defines Harry as we think of him, it should be noted that Harry's actual birthday was Saturday, February 11th. Why didn't we celebrate his birthday on Saturday you might ask? Because Harry was flying to Georgia that day in his beautiful Debonair to celebrate his birthday with his family. Way to go Harry!

Many thanks to Dennis Harwell and Theo Hughes for the pictures.


Club Meeting - 26January 2017

The Majors Flying Club (MFC) held a Membership meeting on Thursday, January 26, 2017 in the hangar clubhouse. The get together featured tasty pizza, board member elections, the presentation of a couple of certificates, delicious Gordon Hay brownies, and a presentation by Harry Andonian.

Six boxes of hot and tasty pizza were delivered to our door around 5 p.m. It didn't take long for the majority of the pizza to disappear in the first fifteen minutes. If you got there much later than 5:30 p.m., you probably would been out of luck (sorry about that Manning). In between gasps of air whilst chowing down on the pizza, several folks were spotted attacking the "stack o' brownies". Gordon's brownies were as spectacular as ever.

MFC President Dennis Mathis called the meeting to order at 5:40 p.m. and promptly banished the non-members to the hangar so that the board member elections could be held. Mr.'s Dennis Harwell and Joe Rector conducted the election with parliamentary precision and a strict adherence to the club by-laws. After a furious round of nominations and with the threat of a filibuster finally put to bed, the following list of nominees was presented: Mark Armstrong, Dennis Guinn, Dennis Harwell, Dennis Mathis, and Denis Rottler. The pattern should be obvious - three of the nominees spell their first name incorrectly and we aren't sure how the fourth nominee made it through the first name filter criteria for the board. Be that as it may, with unanimous approval of the MFC members present, the list of nominees was voted in to serve as members of the board for 2017.

Dennis Mathis presented Mr. Young Lee with his solo certificate (picture on the left above). Young soloed in the might Cessna on November 30, 2016 and is under the tutelage of Mr. Mathis. Mike Zimmerman was also presented with a very nice, etched, black glass plaque to commemorate Mike's 10 years of service as the primary A&P mechanic of the club airplanes (picture on the right above). We have Mike to thank for the reliability of the club airplanes due to regular maintenance, periodic inspections, and the annuals. Thanks Mike!

With the business part of the meeting concluded, the audience was treated to a presentation by Harry Andonian on his favorite of his favorite airplanes, the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom. As Harry said, "all of the planes I flew were my favorites, but the F-4 was my favorite of my favorites". As you know, Harry has had quite a storied career in aviation, is our local hero, has a road in Greenville named after him, and has too many accolades to mention. It seems like the logbook is now up to 27,300 hours!!! As usual, Harry entertained us with his stories about his time in a variety of F-4 models in the Vietnam era. Well done Harry.


Majors Field Breakfast Fly-In - 05 November 2016

View a slideshow of ALL of the pictures (210) taken at the Breakfast Fly-In: Breakfast Fly-In Slideshow

As you can see from the pictures, the Majors Field Breakfast Fly-In that was held on Saturday, November 5, 2016 was a success by any measure. The weather was not ideal but that did not discourage over two-hundred (200) people from attending the event. The event was well attended by local Greenville residents who chose to drive to the event as well as general aviation pilots from fourteen (14) local airports and one from the Mojave desert. We had three WWII aircraft including the Vultee BT-15, the PT-17 Stearman, and the Stinson L-5 on the ramp as static displays thanks to the Lancaster wing of the Commemorative Air Force, the one of a kind Model 81 Catbird from the Mojave Air and Space Port in California flown in by Zach Reeder, Chuck Weese's O-1 Bird Dog, Innovation First's Bombardier Challenger 600, and Mark's beautiful and hard to miss, bright green ultralight. As you can see from the pictures, those planes generated quite a bit of foot traffic.

A breakfast of pancakes, sausage patties, bacon, fruit, mini-muffins, doughnuts, kolaches, coffee, orange juice, and water was provided. The breakfast must have been okay as we did not throw away a single bit of food. More than 400 pancakes, 300 sausage patties, 288 strips of bacon, a bucket of grapes, strawberries, and pineapple, three dozen doughnuts, two dozen kolaches, 240 cups of coffee, 8 gallons of orange juice, and 40 bottles of water was consumed. It was a pleasure not to have to deal with leftovers.

There were several highlights of the day including the beautiful aircraft on display and the transient airplanes that were flown in by pilots from local airports. It looked a bit like a Van's RV club decided to have a meeting at Majors Field. The airplanes were the big draw but take a look at the photographs to see how many families with young children attended. Now that was special. They provided quite a bit of energy to the event. It was good to see friends from the WWII era at the event as well. But wait, there's more.

The Majors Field General Aviation Manager, Ty Helton, did an amazing job working with the City of Greenville and the local merchants to make this event a success. As you can see from the donor and sponsor boards, the event was enthusiastically supported by local business. Thanks to the support from our generous donors and sponsors, Mr. Helton worked the microphone for a couple of hours raffling off car rentals, hotel rooms, rounds of golf, tee shirts, coffee cups, restaurant gift cards, and other items donated by these generous sponsors. He even had a couple of rides in the Majors Flying Club Cessna to raffle off as well as a ride in the PT-17 Stearman!

Thanks to the City of Greenville for recognizing the value an event like this can bring to the city. Fly-in's are successful if they have food, old airplanes, and cheap gas. We supplied the first item but the City of Greenville came through with discounted 100LL fuel (and you can be sure that had a positive effect on the number of folks who flew into Majors Field on Saturday, November 5th especially considering the weather) as well as the funding for the Lancaster CAF appearance fees. The hope is that through events like this people will fly back to Majors Field, grab the airport courtesy car, and use the prizes they won to play that round of golf, have a meal at one of the local restaurants, or catch a show at the theater.

It was a fun event and very satisfying for the folks who worked to put the event together to see the enthusiasm for the event, the response from the local community, the support of the local merchants, the response from so many local airports, and the support from the City of Greenville.


Wings Over Dallas - 29Oct2016

View a slideshow of ALL of the pictures (33) taken at Wings Over Dallas: Wings Over Dallas Slideshow

The mighty Archer got to mix it up with some WWII classics on Saturday, October 29,2016 at the Wings Over Dallas airshow at Dallas Executive airport. Mark Armstrong had the Archer reserved for Saturday with a tentative plan for a couple of us to make a lunch hop over to Pelican's Landing at Cedar Mills. It worked out so that only Mark and myself were able to go flying on Saturday. Since we both planned to attend the airshow anyway, Mark did some checking and confirmed the airfield was not NOTAM'd to be closed or under a TFR and that with a bit of patience you could get in and out of there during the airshow.

We launched from Majors around 0915 with beautiful blue skies and a considerable headwind. DFW ARTCC provided direct to KRBD through Class B with traffic advisories so it was a short and easy flight. The goal was to land before the airshow began at 1030 which we accomplished thanks to the well run tower at KRBD. However they had FIFI (THE B-29) set up to give rides and she was taxiing into position with her first load of the day as we were landing runway 13. We had the good fortune of being directed off the runway at taxiway D and to hold short for clearance across 13/31. We were rewarded with a front row seat as FIFI rolled down the runway and climbed away. It was awesome. We parked the Archer at Ambassador Jet Center outside of the ropes of the airshow and in the general vicinity of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) airplanes being used to give paying customers rides. We spent the first two hours of the day hanging out around the CAF airplanes and talking with some of the Lancaster CAF pilots and one of our own, Kurt Mueller. Kurt is working in Waco and is now a member of the Lancaster CAF. We made some fast friends with pilots Fred and Keith, looked at the Vultee BT-15 and the Stearman PT-17 they will be bringing to our Breakfast Fly-In on November 5th, and had lunch with them. Apparently the Majors Flying Club had talked to Keith in the past about being an instructor for the club. It took Keith and Mark a couple of minutes before they realized they kind of new each other. It was good to see Kurt in that element and catch up with him. He really seemed to be all in in his role as a member of the CAF. It was a great way to start the day but it was time to get inside the ropes and look at some of the static displays.

Throughout the morning and all day long there was always something going on in the air. Between the airshow elements, the CAF giving rides in eleven different types of aircraft, and the tower landing and launching general aviation aircraft, there was always something going on overhead. Listening to Lt. Col (ret) Dick Cole, the last surviving member of the Doolittle Raiders at 101 years old (he was Jimmy Doolittle's co-pilot) speak was amazing. What a legacy. We met up with other club members Ryan Kozial and Craig Wheeler and hung out with them for most of the afternoon. FIFI was coming and going all day and it was a sight to see each time. We were up close and personal for an engine start and taxi for the Texas Raider B-17. Those radials are beasts when they are starting up. But the Tora, Tora, Tora finale was the icing on the cake. What a show with about fourteen planes in the air, some of them dive bombing and making low passes, machine gun fire from the ground, and big, loud, black smoke explosions simulating bomb drops really finished off the day! We overheard some of the folks involved with the event saying both parking lots were full and they were at maximum capacity. It wasn't crowded but it sure seems like it was well attended.

We loaded up around 1530 for an uneventful trip home. The tower got us right out, DFW ARTCC cleared us through Class B direct to KGVT with traffic advisories, and we caught a very nice tailwind. We even maneuvered a bit to check out Mark's neighborhood on the way back to Greenville. You can see what a great day it was for flying from Mark's pictures over Lake Ray Hubbard.

Great trip, great day, great airshow.

Check out the link to the 2016 Wings Over Dallas website:


Scout Aviation Workshop - 08Oct2016

View a slideshow of ALL of the pictures (364) taken at the SAW: SAW Slideshow

The history of the Majors Flying Club (MFC) Scout Aviation Workshop (SAW) dates back to early 2005. The then MFC President, Clarke Erwin, made a bet that with the help of his aviation friends the MFC could put together a successful Boy Scout Aviation Workshop to help scouts attain their Scout Aviation Merit badge.

The Scout Aviation merit badge can be obtained by completing several tasks including visiting an airport, demonstrating basic knowledge about airplanes, performing a supervised pre-flight inspection of an aircraft, reading aeronautical charts, and building model airplanes for example. It just so happens that the MFC has the resources to help the scouts accomplish many of those goals as well as being able to offer a bonus most scouts don’t get to experience – a ride in a general aviation airplane!

True to his word, the first SAW was successfully completed in the spring of 2005. It was however a learning experience for Clarke and his team of volunteers. With ninety five scouts in attendance, only four aircraft, and only one aircraft marshaller, it took all day to get each and every one of the scouts who wanted a ride the chance to experience the joy of flying. The MFC pilots even squeezed in rides for parents and scout masters (after all the scouts had gotten a ride) in what would turn out to be a twelve hour day. Clarke and his team of volunteers did a fantastic job educating the boys about flight and the possibilities of fulfilling ones dreams. By the end of the day the volunteers including Jim Henderson, Les Lindbeck, Dennis Mathis, Joe Rector, and Joe Wiser left the airport victorious, exhausted, and unsure if they would ever take on such a challenge again.

It didn't take but a couple of days for Jan Weatherbee, Manager of Girl Scout Service Unit 331, to hear about the event from Joe Rector. Jan encouraged Joe to see what could be done to set up a similar event for Girl Scouts in the fall. In October 2005, forty Girl Scouts attended a SAW that included a Ground School held on Friday evening, camping on the airport grounds, an aircraft pre-flight, model aircraft building and flights all held Saturday morning at the Greenville Airport. The Girl Scouts loved the experience and the MFC began making plans to continue holding SAW’s once each spring and fall welcoming both Boy Scout and Girl Scout Troops.

As a result of the success of those first two SAW events in 2005, the Majors Flying Club in concert with the City of Greenville, the Greenville Municipal airport managers, L-3 Communications, and a large base of dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers and pilots, has been able to conduct two workshops a year since 2005. The Greenville Municipal Airport General Managers have always been very supportive allowing the terminal to be used as dispatch area and a holding area for a bunch of excited scouts. L-3 Communications supports the event by providing aircraft fuel, printing ground school handouts and testing material, and the use of their recreational hall for the ground school. A fire truck and crew from L-3 volunteers at each event as well to give tours of their equipment as well as demonstrate the amazing amount of water a fire truck can pump out to fight an aircraft fire.

Over time it has been shown that it takes approximately thirty volunteers and several airplanes to make an event of this size a success. Each and every event for the last ten years has started with a well-organized plan developed and executed by Jan and her team. The MFC has helped organize and execute the event by recruiting volunteers, pilots, and planes for each and every event. It is an impressive group of volunteers that gladly gives up their Saturday morning to escort scouts, demonstrate how to pre-flight an airplane, supervise their pre-flight activity, help them with model airplane building, get them safely in and out of the airplanes, and in general do all they can do to make the day memorable for the scouts.

To date approximately 1,110 scouts have completed the Majors Flying Club Scout Aviation workshop. Troops from Lewisville, Plano, Garland, Rowlett, Rockwall, Quinlan, Caddo Mills, Celeste, Lone Oak, Greenville, Commerce, Wolfe City, Sulphur Springs and Paris have attended with many troop leaders returning every couple of years with the newest scouts in their troops. The Majors Flying Club and all the people who participate in this event are looking forward to continuing to support this well-established event. After all, we wouldn’t want the people such as Jim Henderson, Les Lindbeck, and Dennis Mathis, who have participated in every SAW, including the first event in the spring of 2005, off the hook that easy!


Club Meeting - 29Sep2016

The quarterly Club Meeting was held in the Majors Flying Club hangar on the evening of Thursday, September 29, 2016. The event was attended by around twenty members of the club who were anxious to have a taste of Chief Rector's burgers and brats and to hear Harry Andonian speak.

The meeting was called to order around 5:30 p.m. to the smell of grilled burgers and brats by club president Dennis Mathis. As you can see from the agenda and from the pictures both Tom Hubert and Ned Howard were recognized for their solo flights. Don Reeder is shown presenting a solo certificate to Tom Hubert and Dennis Mathis is shown presenting Ned Howard with his certificate. Way to go gentlemen!

Club Safety Officer and Chief Pilot Mark Armstrong spoke to the group and reminded them of some basic issues to always be aware of. Mark plans to make short safety briefings a regular part of the quarterly club meetings. It never hurts to hear those important safety tip periodically.

Our local hero and friend, Harry Andonian, was introduced and as you can see from the pictures, regaled us with more interesting stories about his storied career as a military pilot. It is always entertaining and informative when Harry is giving a presentation. Thank you Harry. Dennis Mathis presented Harry with yet another MFC coffee cup as a thank you for being our guest speaker.


C.R. Smith Museum and ZFW ARTCC Raincheck Program - 10 Sep 2016

The Majors Flying Club enjoyed a well attended and well organized Field Trip on Saturday, September 10, 2016. The club President, Mr. Dennis Mathis, organized and orchestrated and very enjoyable trip centered around a tour of the ZFW Air Route Traffic Control Center. In all we had twenty-three (23) people (members, member spousal units, member offspring) attend the event.

The morning started with a tour of the American Airlines C.R. Smith museum around 9 a.m. The group viewed the Pursuit of Flight introductory video in a theater (which of course has airplane seats) which was followed by an overview tour of the building and a beautifully restored American Flagship DC-3 that is on permanent display. Following the guided tour, the group wandered around the museum until around 11:30 a.m. reading the chronological history of AA, playing with stuff in the FlightLab, and reading the details of Flight 1549: Miracle on the Hudson. A short walk across the street got us to the American Airlines cafeteria for lunch. The place is set up for large crowds so we were able to grab a long table and all sit together. Pretty standard cafeteria food for a reasonable price.

After lunch we moved our cars to the ARTCC parking lot just a block or two down from the cafeteria and museum. Getting through the guard gate was almost like checking in for a flight but with a lot less hassle: keys and phones in a basket and a walk through a scanner where a Visitor Pass was issued. We were met by one of the two controllers who would be giving us the tour and headed to a conference room for introductions and a short presentation. The presentation had some interesting details regarding how the airspace is broken up both vertically and laterally. It really explained why there are so many hand offs when talking with ATC. The presentation was followed by a tour of the facility. We were broken up into two groups and everybody got to spend time with the Traffic Management Unit (TMU), the Weather Unit, and a Controller. The TMU function was not entirely clear but it was obvious they played a big role in how the controllers handle traffic at any moment as a function of weather, volume, and other disturbances in the system. The function of the Weather Unit is obvious. The real treat was to be able to sit with a controller and listen in while they worked. Talk about being tuned into radio calls and multitasking! Button were being mashed, aircraft were moving across the display, directions were being given, calls were being answered, and answering our questions all at the same time. Pretty impressive. It was a fairly light traffic day but there was still quite a bit talking being done by the controller. It gave a pretty good perspective that you are not the only plane the controller is talking to and what their job is really like. It would be something to sit in there during a "push" period. After the tour, we went back to the conference room for a question and answer period and a final video presentation. These controllers were very strongly in favor and encourage requesting Traffic Advisories for VFR flights. The video showed how much disruption one aircraft that is not in the system can cause for other traffic that are in the system. In this case, the one airplane not in the system required course deviations for the two airplanes in the system and required a significant amount controller time. The two controllers gave a very professional and informative presentation. It provided a good look at what goes on behind the scenes in the ATC system. We finished around 3:30 p.m, turned in our Visitor Badges, and headed home.

Thanks to Mr. Mathis for organizing the trip and to Theo Hughes for providing the pictures at the C.R. Smith museum (photography was not allowed inside ARTCC).

American Airline C.R. Smith Museum

Check out the ZFW D10 Boundary Map:



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