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  • 09/26/2019 7:16 PM | Chris Haven (Administrator)

    From President Doug Fee

    One of the really magic things about this invention that Orville and Wilbur gave us, is the ability to whisk ourselves off to places that would, otherwise, be inconvenient to get to.  A good friend of mine and his wife departed home here in Auburn a few days ago, drove down to Sacramento International, and hopped on an airplane to Minneapolis/St. Paul.  There, they connected to another flight to Amsterdam, followed by one more short flight to their destination.  Some hours after leaving Auburn, he sent me a photo of them lounging and sipping beverages at a sidewalk cafe in Stockholm, Sweden.  One hundred-and-fifty years ago, that trip would have taken them twenty days, not twenty hours.

    But if Sweden is beyond your travel horizons, how about something a bit closer to home?  Maybe the 60th Annual Camel Races in Virginia City, Nevada?  Too long of a drive, you say?  Auburn to Carson City Municipal Airport was only twenty-seven minutes in our RV-6 a couple of weeks ago.  Mountain West Aviation had a rental car awaiting us as promised, and another thirty minutes by road put us in the small, old west mining town of Virginia City.

    While they're called Camel Races, they also had zebra, ostrich, emu and chicken races.  The bottom four rows in the grandstands were marked off as being the "camel spit zone".  However, I'm not certain that there was any actual risk of a close encounter with dromedary saliva.  It's possible that those cautions were made purely for dramatic effect.  However that was a hypothesis that we elected not to test.  We sat up high in the stands and remained, thankfully, spatter-free.  The whole spectacle was rife with all the ambiance that you'd expect of the pig races at the state fair, but with more showmanship.  And of course the aroma of . . . . well . . . . camels.


    It was a high-energy, fun birthday outing for my bride, and gave us a good excuse to go flying.  But, next time, we'll be sure to take along ear plugs. 

    It's magic what these airplanes can do for you. 

    Blue skies,


  • 08/29/2019 7:57 PM | Chris Haven (Administrator)

    From President Doug Fee

    There has been a lot of interest in the endowment, and I've gotten a number of questions about how to go about making a contribution. So, if you are interested in making a donation, I'd like to try to explain how simply this can all work.

    Our endowment is being held and managed for us by the Placer Community Foundation (PCF). A registered charitable organization, they have roots going back to 1948 here in Auburn. They currently manage nearly two dozen charitable funds.

    If you would like to make a donation to help establish "forever funding" for our Bud Anderson scholarship, it can be very simple:

    1. Go to the PCF website. They can accept on-line donations with a credit card or Pay Pal. And, we have a link to the PCF on the home page of our Auburn Aviation Association website.

    2. Or, you can write a check made out to "Placer Community Foundation", and mail it to them at P. O. Box 9207, Auburn, CA 95604. If you send them a check, be sure to put "Auburn Aviation Association" in the memo line, so they know which fund to direct your contribution to.

    3. Or, the PCF can accept cash donations at their office located at 219 Maple Street, Suite 200, Auburn, CA 95603. Their business hours are 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM, M-F.

    4. Or, If you'd prefer, you can simply put cash or a check (again, made out to PCF) in my hand or that of Don Wolfe, and I guarantee that we will get it to the right place for you.

    5. Or, consider a Life Membership in AAA. Your Board of Directors is finishing up details on a new Life Membership plan that will help fund our endowment.

    But there are some slightly more complex, yet equally enticing ways you could help out:

    1. Include the AAA Endowment in your estate planning. This is actually simpler than it sounds, and PCF (ph. 530-885-4920) can help guide you through the process. It doesn't even necessarily have to involve changing your will.

    2. Or, between the AAA and the PCF, we are in a position to accept donations of real goods that can be turned into donations to the endowment. Airplane, hangar, car, boat, stamp collection, coin collection? Most of these are things that we can work with. It's a bit more complicated, but it's possible.

    Finally, keep in mind that both the AAA and PCF are registered charitable organizations. So you can take into account all of the tax ramifications that go with that status. Again, it's important to me that none of our members feel obligated to make a contribution. But if you would like to do so, you will be helping the Association fund our scholarship . . . . . forever. Blue skies, Doug  

  • 07/01/2019 5:58 AM | Chris Haven (Administrator)

    From President Doug Fee

    As has been previously reported to you in this space, as well as at our monthly meetings, your Board of Directors has been researching and debating the possibility of establishing a permanent endowment. The purpose of this endowment would be to provide a ongoing source of funding for our scholarships. This has been a nearly six-month discussion that has involved multiple briefings with the Placer Community Foundation, followed by extensive question and answer sessions. Untold numbers of emails have zipped back and forth between various members of our Association, members of the Board, and the PCF representative. Your Board also met with a financial advisor to discuss the issue, and to get his perspective and thoughts on just whether or not this would be a good move for the AAA. I believe that your Board has truly performed it's duty of due diligence. The end result is that, on June 3, your Board met and unanimously voted in favor of establishing an endowment to be held within the umbrella of the the Placer Community Foundation. Personally, I'm very excited about this move. While we may have a few years of work ahead of us to bump up the funding to a level that we want, I believe that, in years to come, we will look back on this move and be very glad that we did it. The beauty of whole idea is that the endowment will be a permanent thing that will fund our scholarships in perpetuity. Long after you and I are long gone, our endowment will still be providing aviation career help to our youth here in Auburn. That is a legacy that, I believe, we can all take great pride in. Meanwhile, where things stand right now, we've put about half as much into the endowment as we'd like to have. Our very energetic and creative Scholarship Director, Don Wolfe, has been brainstorming ways to finish it's funding, and you'll be hearing more about his efforts in months to come. Of course, we're open to your ideas, input and suggestions. More to come on this issue . . . . Our July Meeting This year, the first Wednesday of the month of July happens to fall on the day before our Independence Day holiday, so we decided to shift our meeting for this one month to the second Wednesday of the month. And it will be a somewhat special and unusual meeting in that we are planning to meet jointly with the Auburn chapter of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA). So anticipate a full room and a somewhat different meeting format than usual. I'm expecting it to be great fun, so please join us! Blue skies, Doug 

  • 05/29/2019 1:36 PM | Chris Haven (Administrator)

    From Vice President Don Wolfe.

    President Doug Fee invited me to sit at The Presidential Desk this month and pen the June message. The seat is soft, the coffee warm, the scheduled nap complete, here we go!

    It's been a busy Spring at AAA. We?ve accomplished 3 Aviation Career and Interview Training Classes, conducted interviews, presented the 2019 Aviation Scholarship Awards, investigated the possibility of an Endowment Fund with Placer Community Foundation and had 5 monthly meetings with excellent guest speakers.

    June's guest speaker Captain Joe Sobczak was forced to cancel due to an illness in the family. Tim Pinkney stepped up with an offer to give his presentation on JUNO. JUNO is America?s satellite spacecraft exploring Jupiter. We look forward to another outstanding performance by Tim, 'The Axeman'!

    Looking forward, we'll be setting up the AAA Tent at Ben Foss' Soaring Saturdays on June 8th, 5 to 8 PM. Ben, Christian Watt and the event team plan to host at least three Saturday events this summer raising money for local charities. Volunteers will be needed to set up and man the AAA tent. We need a good turnout from our m em bership at ALL of these sum m er event s. Ben?s team is putting in a big effort and a lot of time into these programs and they need our support. It's a great opportunity to go to the airport for food, music, socializing and airplanes. See you there!

    On July 10, (the second Wednesday) we?ll have a joint meeting with AAA and the local EAA Chapter 526. Our guest speaker Steve Kendall will be talking about the EAA Young Eagles Program here at Auburn airport. This nationwide mentoring program dovetails in with our ?Careers in Aviation?mentoring programs. The next Young Eagles Day is June 15, 2019. Bring your children to the airport for a free airplane ride and the opportunity to fly a simulator. The Young Eagles program might be the spark that ignites an interest in aviation for your child.

    Summer days are just around the corner, the airplanes are flying, and Wings restaurant is forever popular. Come out to the airport and join the fun. Better yet, sign up for an intro ride at one of the local flight schools and discover the thrill of flight.

    Mach 5 Aviation, Sierra Air Helicopters and Sunshine Flyers offer 'Intro rides'which allow you to actually fly the vehicle.

    Every great journey begins with that first step.

    Step Up and GO UP!


    Don "Wolfman" Wolfe

  • 04/30/2019 11:33 AM | Chris Haven (Administrator)

    From President Doug Fee

    It happened this month.  The Auburn Aviation Association lost two of our long-time, mainstay members and supporters.  Jerry Poole passed away after several years of declining health.  Jerry has been involved with the AAA for many years and, in a wider sense, has been a strong supporter of our local aviation community too.  He spent the majority of his adult years in the field of aircraft sales and brokering.  From all accounts, Jerry was a guy who gave the term "aircraft salesman" a good name.  He seemed to be more concerned with helping his clients find the right airplane than he was to just make a quick sale.  He had great stories about buying small fleets of military surplus Beech 18s and DC-3s, ferrying them to California, and then modifying them to civilian configurations for resale.  

    Jerry was also a good guy.  He was relaxed and calm, and always seemed to have a smile on his face, as well as a kind word.  He was a gentleman we will miss.    

    Duane Rueb also took his final flight west this month.  Duane was born in South Dakota, but grew up mostly in the Sacramento area.  He learned to fly many years ago in a Piper Tri-Pacer in Independence, Oregon.  A man of many talents and interests, he was always quietly there in the background helping out with the Association's business and activities.  As Wayne Mooneyham very aptly put it, Duane has been a permanent fixture in our organization for many years.  That was his beautiful Kitfox that attracted so much attention as it rode on the back of a truck in the Fourth of July parade through downtown Auburn a few years ago.  April 20th saw a standing room only crowd in the Barnstormer Room as we gathered to mark Duane's passing, and to express our appreciation of him.   

    I suppose that it is the nature of things that, as time marches on, we lose some of our friends and collaborators in life.  But we don't have to like it.  In this case, I think we can at least be partially mollified in our loss by considering some of the gains that we have received by way of the influx of some of our young new members.  Our new members may never entirely take the place of stalwarts of our organization like Jerry and Duane, but we can still appreciate their new contributions to the Auburn Aviation Association.  

    Blue skies,


  • 03/21/2019 11:51 AM | Chris Haven (Administrator)

    From President Doug Fee

    Wandering down the road, in the America of the 1920s, you might have seen a number of "Tin Lizzies", or Model T Fords, chuffing along the highway. And looking up in the sky, you might have also seen a "Tin Goose" grinding along overhead. Certainly a bygone era. However that era is going to make a brief visit to Auburn in April. The Experimental Aircraft Association's Ford 4-AT-ETri-motor will be here giving rides from Friday the 26th until Sunday the 28th. This airplane is truly a flying piece of aviation history. The first of these three-engine transports came off the assembly line in 1926, and they were a mainstay of the U.S.commercial aviation industry until they were ultimately replaced by the DC-2 and -3 some years later. Today there are only 18 Ford Tri-motors left, and less than half of those are currently flyable. At a time when we take it for granted that we can fly in shirt-sleeve comfort, and have a glass of wine with our hot dinner as we cruise along at Mach .85 above the weather, the Tri-motor is an anachronism. Unpressurized, noisy and bumping along at about 100 mph in your wicker basket seat, it was a different world. Or, to look at it another way, the airplane has approximately the same performance as a Cessna 150. So, imagine a coast-to-coast flight in a two-place Cessna, and that's about how long a trans-continental trip in a Ford Tri-motor would have taken back in the day. Amazingly, as ubiquitous as this icon of American aviation history was, there were actually only 199 of these Fords ever built. The EAA owns and operates NC8407, a Tri-Motor that was originally flown by Eastern Air Transport--a forerunner of Eastern Airlines. Seats will not be reserved, but will be available on a first come, first served basis for the day of purchase. Only 180 seats will be available over the three days of their operation here in Auburn. Purchase tickets online here. If you are interested in a springtime aviation adventure right here in Auburn, maybe this is the opportunity you are looking for. It is an exciting event for our airport!

    Blue skies, Doug

  • 03/15/2019 6:36 PM | Chris Haven (Administrator)

    From President Doug Fee

    This month I'd like to use this space to bring you up to date on some of our organizations current activities, and to send out kudos to one of our own. Don Wolfe is a guy who is doing double-duty for the Auburn Aviation Association. Not only is he our Vice-President, but he's also serving as our Scholarship Chairman. He has a long history of, and a passion for, mentoring young people who are pursuing their interest in aviation. It's a fairly regular event around the Auburn Airport to see him taking one of our scholarship recipients flying in his shiny Citabria to help hone their skills in a taildragger, or aerobatics, or some other area where help is needed. Now, as Scholarship Chairman, he is taking the opportunity to lead us in some new directions with that program. He is spearheading a drive to update our record keeping and to move much of our data to digital on-line storage. This will provide for significantly wider and more convenient access to all of our information. It will also give us better long term continuity. Ten years from now, when we want to know what scholarships we gave out in 2019, the information will be conveniently available with no more that a quick search of our database. I find this entrance into the digital era to be very promising for us. Another area where he has been re-thinking our Scholarship program relates to how we fund it. As many of you know, historically, a big portion of our funding came from our holding of the Auburn Air Fair. And while most of us would love to see the Air Fair continue, it's such a massive event to organize that we've had trouble coming up with adequate volunteer leadership to make it happen. So Don has been researching and trying to bring to fruition an old idea of our establishing an endowment that would become a permanent source of funding for our scholarships. It's a complicated endeavor that would most likely take a few years to phase in, but I also see promise in that. You'll probably be hearing more about the idea of an Auburn Aviation Association endowment in the months to come. Aside from his passion for mentoring, Don is a very energetic guy who is brimming with ideas, as well as a willingness to pursue them. So yes, coming into office, he has really "hit the ground running". Two thumbs up to Don Wolfe. Blue skies, Doug

  • 02/01/2019 6:08 AM | Chris Haven (Administrator)

    From President Doug Fee

    Who Are We? Someone on the airport a while back asked me just what it was that the Auburn Aviation Association does. Which got me to thinking (yes, a painful process). What, and who, are we? What is our reason for being here? After thinking it over, as I see it, AAA serves three separate and distinct functions at our airport:

    Airport Advocacy. We are a user's group. We work with the city and our airport manager to address the needs of the airport facility, as well as the wants of the airport users. I believe that we are fortunate to, at the present time, to have city leadership who has a positive attitude toward what the airport can contribute to the greater Auburn community. I say "fortunate" because there are many small airports today who are under siege from the local community. Not all small airports are as fortunate as we are in having a largely cooperative relationship with the local community's leaders.

    Scholarship Program. Many would say that this is our most important function. We are willing and able to help to foster the future of both aviation, and our local youth. When you look at the quality and commitment of our scholarship recipients, its hard to not feel proud about our part in helping these fine young people. What could be more important, and more fulfilling, to us as an organization?

    A Social Organization at the Airport. There are some who might discount the importance of this aspect of our organization. I would disagree with their assessment because the social component and the entertainment quality of our meetings draws members to the AAA. Why is that important? Because when we talk to the city or the FAA as an organization of 150 or so members of the airport community, we have credibility. If we had only twenty members, we could approach them and might not be taken seriously. Why? Because in a city the size of Auburn, twenty individuals is nothing. A group of only twenty would be seen as nothing more than a small batch of eccentric extremists who were "obsessed" with the airport and its issues. But as a group of 150 airport users, the city and the FAA will listen to us. In short, our numbers matter and give us credibility.

    When it comes time to renew your membership, please consider doing so. Not only do membership dues help to fund our scholarships, but also your keeping your name active on our roster helps to improve our membership numbers, which in turn helps the association do its job of airport advocacy. For the price of a few trips to Starbucks, you get entertaining meetings where you can mix with friendly, like-minded folks, and help your association do good work at the airport. Seems like a win/win to me.

    Blue Skies,

    Doug Fee

  • 01/06/2019 9:11 AM | Chris Haven (Administrator)

    From President Doug Fee:

    When I look back on Wayne Mooneyham's tenure as President of our association, I am awed by how much time he's put in to the AAA, and by what he's accomplished.  Frankly, it's pretty intimidating to try to follow him.  Upon being elected to the papacy, Pope Francis reputedly quipped to the cardinals, "May God forgive you for what you've done".  In a similar vein folks, are you sure you really want me to take the reins from Wayne's capable hands??  He's going to be a tough act to follow. 

    In my time with the AAA, I've become acquainted with most of our members, but I'm sure that there are some of you who may be puzzled as to who I am.  So, in a nutshell, this is me:

    When I was an eleven-year-old, my dad learned to fly.  He got his private pilot's license at Santa Monica Airport, where I would sit and watch the airplanes come and go while he took his lessons.  When he  finally received his license, I was his first passenger.  He only flew for about six or seven years, and had a total of a little over 400 hours.  However, I was with him for many of those hours.  We flew from California to Texas multiple times to visit Mom's family.  We flew my older brother to college in Utah.  I had a lot of passenger time.  Around the same time that Dad originally learned to fly, I also logged my first pilot time with a friend of his who was a CFI.  Over the span of the next eight years I accumulated a grand total of 2.3 hours of dual instruction.

    However, about the end of my freshman year in college, I started flying in earnest.  By my junior year, I had my CFI and was flight instructing.  After graduation, I continued instructing.  I also flew charters and ferried airplanes--mostly new Cessnas from the factory in Wichita out to Southern California. 

    At the tender age of 25, with just under 4,000 hours in my logbook, I began what turned into a 35-year airline career.  My airline years were pretty evenly split between the flying of domestic and international routes.  And, of the time I spent flying international, the majority of it was heading westbound to the Pacific Rim.  It was a good life. 

    But that was then . . . . . and this is now.  As a pilot, my heart and my roots have always been in general aviation.  Today, my flying is in a very fun little sports car of an airplane--an RV-6.  Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to working with the city to continue to improve our airport, to helping Don Wolfe in his efforts to modernize our scholarship program, and to interacting with the membership of our organization.  I think its going to be a great year!

    Blue skies,


    Next month:  Who Are We?     

  • 11/28/2018 11:32 AM | Chris Haven (Administrator)

    From President Wayne Mooneyham

    Holidays and winter have finally arrived with rain and cool weather clearing the smoke and haze. It has been a long dry summer and fall season and, as last year, a devastating fire season as well.

    Today, as I put pen to paper on what is called “Black Friday,” I am reminded that we have an opportunity to be generous and giving in this time of thanksgiving. The bleak outlook for those evacuees who have lost all their possessions, homes, and in some cases, loved ones, in areas both north and south of our community must be overwhelm-ing. Many of our members have provided generous contributions and support to those affected - awesome!

    It has been a busy year for our airport with all the activity connect-ed with the flight schools and FBO’s, Highway Patrol and helicopter operations. We now have a new “state of the art” AWOS System, LED runway marker lights and the long-awaited slurry sealing of the ramp area. However, the ramp/taxiways that serve fifty hangars on the west end - an area that is sorely in need of resurfacing, somehow got missed. That said…our airport community continues to thrive and our association is a key element in many of the activities.

    As your outgoing President (three different terms) I would like to take this time to thank my fellow officers and directors for all of their encouragement and support that has made our organization run so smoothly this past year. Our association will be in some new and very capable hands - President Doug Fee and Vice President Don “Wolfman” Wolfe. Outgoing longtime Scholarship Chairman Walt Wilson hands over the reins to Don Wolfe who plans to implement a mentoring program in conjunction with the existing program…a very ambitious and worthy cause and one that we can all support. My plans are to remain an active and participating member of our flying fraternity.

    My wish for you all is a wonderful holiday season and a New Year that brings happiness in all things. It has been my pleasure to serve…

    Keep the shiny side up…

    Wayne Mooneyham

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