Boy Scout Aviation Weekend Campout at Galt
by Paul Sedlacek, EAA Chapter 932 Secretary
On the weekend of October 20th, Galt Airport played host to Boy Scout Troop 303 from Burlington, Wisconsin. It was humbling that out of 49 choices presented to the scouts earlier in the year, they voted the Galt campout as the #1 activity they wanted to do.
11 Scouts and three leaders camped Friday and Saturday evening, enduring cold, sleet squalls and ferocious winds. The weather didn’t diminish their spirits though and I didn’t hear any complaints save for some cold feet.
Arnie Quast, Bill Tobin, Brian Spiro and I all volunteered to help the scouts with their mission to earn their aviation merit badges. On Saturday morning, I did an interactive presentation on types of aircraft, forces of flight, aerodynamics and the airport environment. Arnie, in full uniform, put on a nice presentation on what it’s like to fly for an airline as a career. He also laid out the pathway for how to get into an aviation career and fielded questions from scouts and leaders about his experiences. To close out the classroom portion of the morning, we did a chart plotting exercise. (Note to self: do a refresher course on how to use a chart plotter before the next session!) The scouts were sharp, and couldn’t be stumped on any questions asked, including which aircraft only uses one of the four forces of flight (hint: a balloon).
We then moved down to JB’s maintenance hangar for the boys to get some hands-on time with a Skyhawk. Brian did a great job going through the parts of the plane, pilot controls & control surfaces and instruments. It was great that he had the cowlings off so they could see the engine up close. He had several aircraft in the hangar and was able to go over some of the differences between a basic trainer and more advanced designs. Brian also discusses his career as an Aircraft Maintenance Technician (AMT). He strongly encouraged them that it’s worth going to school for a degree, emphasizing his own experience of taking business classes preparing him to buy and run his own business. Brian also graciously offered to lead the scouts through preflighting an aircraft which let them check off another box toward their merit badges.
On Sunday, I gave the scouts Young Eagle Rides over Lake Geneva and the Richardson corn maze. Each scout in the right seat got some good stick time. Some were naturals and a couple were in disbelief that they could fly an airplane.
This troop has a tradition at the close of each outing to hold a Roses and Thorns circle which they invited me to join. Going around the circle, each scout relates their Rose (the best part of the outing) and a Thorn (something that could be better). 10 out of 11 boys said the flight was the best part which made me feel good. (I got beat out by an awesome Sloppy Joe for the 11th guy.) Thorns? Mainly cold feet.
It was a great experience working with this group. They paid attention, were careful around the aircraft and were very interested in aviation. I believe they all had a great time and earned their badges. I hope we see them out at the airport again!
Dave Monroe grew up in an airline family. His grandfather was an aircraft mechanic, mother a flight attendant and father a 747 Captain for Northwest Airlines. Dave soloed on his 16th birthday and received his PPL at the age of 17.
While attending college at National University in San Diego, he fueled aircraft a local FBO and earned his commercial, instrument and multi-engine ratings. He also became a flight instructor.
At 21, Dave took a checkride for an Airline Transport Rating even though he wasn’t old enough to receive the certificate. He was granted an “age letter” that he exchanged for the certificate on his 23rd birthday. Flying for a small commuter airline based in CA provided the experience and flight time to land a major airline job with American Airlines at the age of 24.
A passion for aerobatics and formation flying to his purchase of a Pitts S2B. With the help of teammate and Lead Pilot Harvey Meek, he formed an air show formation aerobatic team called the Aerostars.
Flying the Yak52TW in airshows all over the country, the team evolved and found sponsorship with the Phillips 66 Oil Company, becoming the Phillips 66 Aerostars. They recently switched to the Extra 300L, adding competition pilot and Galt Airport native, Gerry Molidor to the team as the #4 slot pilot and soloist.
“Flying has always have been more than a love, it’s a true passion. With that said my career path would not have been as successful without the loving support of my wife, Susan, and my kids, Brooke and Kristopher.”
Most days off you can find Dave at his Galt hangar or at a local FBO, giving check rides as an FAA Designated Examiner.
The Goodland Aviation Company
Kansans are a hearty folk, a salt-of-the-earth kind of people who just get the job done. Home is the high-plains , smack in the middle of the country, where there isn’t much to get in the way of a wind that averages 13 mph. It’s a place where little is wasted. Even that windy expanse is put to use with farms, cattle, and wind turbines.
Years ago, while driving across the state towing a camper, my wife and I stopped at the end of the day in a friendly town park. Throughout the night, the insistent wind whistled and rocked the trailer. At breakfast the next morning, I asked a young workman: ” Considering the wind, how do you go about carrying a sheet of plywood from your truck to a work site?”
Puzzled, he faced me square-on and asked, “What wind?”
Maybe it’s that kind of “get-it-done” attitude that allows Kansas to claim the title of “Air Capital of the World.” To be sure, the seeds of flight were planted at a bicycle shop in Dayton and germinated in the sands of Kitty Hawk. But it was Kansas where general aviation set it’s roots deep, cultivated by the likes of Clyde Cessna, Lloyd Stearman, Walter Beech, Al Mooney and countless others. Even closer to EAA chapter member’s hearts should be Leavenworth County, Kansas, where our founder, Paul Poberezny, was born.
It was one of those serendipitous times when my EAA cap lead me into an aviation-related conversation with the person on the other side of the counter. He asked if I had been to the local museum that housed the first helicopter ever patented in the United States.
“Well, uh, no….”
His directions guided us to the HIgh Plains Museum where a full-size replica of the Purvis Helicopter, lives. What follows is not really a story about Kansas, but it is very much a Kansas story.
In 1909, just 6 years after the Wright Flyer took to the air, a mechanic working in a machine shop at the Rock Island railroad yard in Goodland, had an idea that was inspired by the sight of several children playing with a whirligig. Thirty-eight-year-old William Purvis enlisted the help of his twenty-year-old co-worker, Charles Wilson, to help him build a flying machine that could fly low and slow to deliver freight and mail.
Recognizing that Newton’s Third Law of Motion dictated that the body of the proposed craft would spin with the rotor, they drew up plans that solved the torque problem with a pair of counter-rotating paddles. Two 24-foot vertical, cast-iron shafts, one turning inside the other, driven by twin motors turned 20-foot canvas rotors supported by wires. The entire mechanism was mounted to a seatless, three-bicycle-wheeled cart. It has been speculated that Rock Island’s machine shop may have unknowingly contributed a number of parts needed for the construction of the craft.
Lacking the funds to buy the motors, Purvis and Wilson arranged a brief, tethered demonstration powered by a steam-driven belt. The demonstration was inspiring enough for the townspeople, who proceeded to put out a total of $30,000 for shares in the Goodland Aviation Company. The two partners became the toast of Goodland. It was reported that residents picnicked at the Purvis farm on weekends, watching the two men tinker with their creation.
With the investor’s money, two 7hp motors were obtained and mounted, and a flying demonstration was planned in the town square. What happened next has been the subject of speculation, some more fanciful than others. All of it is unsubstantiated and has become part of the local folklore.
Most people believe that the craft simply tore itself apart when the engines were started. However, one report claimed that the untethered helicopter did become airborne very briefly with William Purvis as the pilot. But directional control was lacking and the craft crashed, flailing itself to pieces as Purvis ran for his life, headed out of town, never to be seen again.
In 1982, Mary Collett Farris authored an account titled “The Short Happy Life of the Kansas Flying Machine.” It contains what is possibly the most creative account of the disaster that followed:
“Purvis was just in time to see the water tank coming toward him at an alarming speed. Desperately, he stretched out his hand to fend it off, but it was too late. The blades shattered on the tank and the platform buckled. The huge iron rotor shaft plunged into the water tank and busted it wide open. Thousands of gallons of water cascaded out onto the crowd. Parts of the flying machine pelted the audience. People dropped to the ground under aerial bombardment, just as the water rolled over them. It was like doomsday.”
Whatever actually occurred that day, one local paper sadly reported that “The Goodland Aviation Company has collapsed very much like a balloon when punctured. They have gained some experience and lost some cash. Nobody complains and nobody blames.”
What is certain is that the available technology proved unfit for the job and the dream of the townspeople died. William Purvis and his family ultimately relocated to Wisconsin. Charles Wilson went off to work at the rail yards in Kansas City. The partners never saw each other again.
Though the venture had failed, in 1912 the U.S. Patent Office issued the first ever patent for a rotary winged aircraft to the then defunct company.
There is one remaining fact to disclose. The gentleman at the visitor’s center who recognized the EAA logo on my headgear and directed us to the High Plains Museum had a nametag on his shirt.
It read “Tom Purvis.”
And the answer to your next question?
I just don’t know.
The President’s Page
Greetings Fellow EAA 932 Members!
We are approaching our final month of chapter activities for 2018! As I look back and reflect upon this year, it is amazing how much we have accomplished as a chapter. Between monthly gatherings, Barnstormer Day, Planes and Puppies, flying Young Eagles, and enjoying AirVenture in Oshkosh, we have done a lot this year! I am extremely grateful for everyone in our chapter who has volunteered their time and talents to make everything come together. We truly cannot do all of the things we do to serve ourselves and our aviation community without the team effort. We are blessed to have such a great group of people in EAA Chapter 932! Take some time to revisit the EVENTS tab on our website at www.eaa932.org . The pictures tell a great story of one awesome year!
October Gathering and Helping the Boy Scouts
On October 13th, we held our annual Planes and Puppies event. Although it was a bit chilly and breezy, the weather cooperated nicely to fly some Young Eagles flights, and also support our local animal shelter. Our pilot group was able to fly 62 kids during the event, and our ground support crew consisting of chapter members, and the Galt Civil Air Patrol detachment kept the event safe and fun. We also made a substantial donation of pet food and supplies to the animal shelter. It was a great day to see everyone enjoying some good fellowship at the airport. Click here to view the Planes and Puppies gallery.
As the month continued, we had two Boy Scout troops stay at our pond camping site. On October 19-21 we hosted Troop 303 from Burlington, WI. During their stay, several chapter members helped them work on aviation merit badges. Brian Spiro provided a shop tour and aircraft preflight, Paul Sedlacek did a mini-ground school, and I spoke to the boys about careers in aviation. The following day Paul Sedlacek and Dick Wydra provided Young Eagles flights to the troop.
On the following weekend, we hosted BSA Troop 35 from Barrington, IL. Troop 35 has been camping on our pond site since 2001. We were able to engage with them as well as we provided Young Eagles flights to 4 of their scouts, and their Scout Master, Scott Nelles. Myself and chapter member Chick Clemen were able to provide the Young Eagles flights to them. As a token of their appreciation, Troop 35 made us some beautiful park benches for future campers to enjoy.
Coming up in November: Checkrides and Chili
Our last chapter gathering will be held on Saturday November 10th. The theme for the gathering will be “Checkrides and Chili”. I think you’ll find our program to be very interesting, as our guest and fellow chapter member, Dave Monroe will talk about his role as an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner. I will be informally interviewing Dave about some of the dynamics of a typical practical examination, and we will also have a chance to openly ask Dave questions. If you’re currently working on a certificate or rating, or have the desire to do so, you won’t want to miss out on this event! Afterward we will have lunch in the form of a chili cook-off for those who want to further engage with Dave, and just enjoy some good social time as a chapter.
On Thursday November 15th we will have our monthly chapter business meeting. Chapter members at large are welcome to attend and provide input to our board. One of the agenda items that we will be working on is forming some of our events for 2019. We welcome input from anyone for programs and activities that you would like to see. If you are unable to attend, please feel free to email me any suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Well that’s about all for now. I hope that everyone has a great month! Fly safe, and I hope to see everyone at the airport!
Have a great month!
Arnie Quast, President, EAA Chapter 932