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We’d Like to

Meet you

We’d like to meet you and have you meet us. We meet at: 
7:00 pm

the fourth Wednesday of every month
McClure Auditorium
Sarasota Bradenton Airport

We also get together at our social events.  See our Social Events page for more details.

Young Eagles

For more than 10 years we in Chapter 180 have been giving young people their very first ride in an airplane.  If you or a youngster you know wants to experience the thrill, spectacle and beauty of flying for the first time visit our Young Eagles page and find out all about how.

HomeMonthly-Meeting Programs

      Monthly  Meeting  Programs

EAA180 welcomes all aviators and visitors well as those with an interest in aviation to join with us at 7:00 pm on the 4th Wednesday of each month.
We meet at the McClure Auditorium in the SRQ complex.  Off US 41 N, turn East on General Spaatz Blvd (by the Shell gas station) and then turn left after the gravel parking lot on your left. (Location Map)

We want every Chapter member to be involved and actively participating. We welcome your ideas and suggestions for topics for monthly meeting programs, social events, changes to our website, etc. 


EAA180 Monthly Member Meetings


EAA180 Monthly Member Meeting
December 5th, 2018

    Election of Officers and a very special program


Our next Monthly Member Meeting of EAA180 will be Wednesday, December 5, 2018, 7:00 pm at McClure Auditorium. Our business meeting will include the election of our chapter Officers and Board members. Your attendance is very important. Following our business meeting there will be a short refreshment break and a program you will not want to miss.

Our program speaker will be Colonel Ben Knisely, United States Army, Retired. Ben is a highly decorated Army aviator who was shot down by enemy fire in Viet Nam in April of 1968 while piloting a UH-1 MEDEVAC helicopter. He and his co-pilot were listed as MIA. Their subsequent recovery in a heroic and daring rescue mission were captured in a book called “DUSTOFF 65” published in 1974. The Infantry Lieutenant who led the rescue was recommended for the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Colonel Knisley after 9 months of hospitalization recovered and stayed on active duty flying MEDEVAC helicopters for many years. For his last tour of duty, he served on the special staff of General Norman Schwarzkopf during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

As the owner of a Cirrus airplane and an active local pilot, Ben will share the experiences of combat flying and the things he learned and has put in to practice in his GA flying today.     

It should be an interesting evening. As always, guests are most welcome and encouraged.  See you on December 5th.

Last Minute Bonus: Hal Shevers, founder of Sporty’s is planning to attend our EAA180 Meeting on December 5th.

Gary Stevens – Program Coordinator




EAA180 Monthly Member Meeting

October 24th, 2018 7:00 pm

Retrix Aerodrome Center Inc. - 8250 15th St Sarasota, FL 34243


Our October Meeting will be a change from McClure Auditorium to the other side

of the airport and what promises to be an interesting program. Chapter member

Bill Russini has arranged for us to meet at the Retrix Aerodome for a tour of the

facility, a look at some impressive jets and an interesting program. Andrea Noles

Jauschneg the FOB manager will be giving us an overview of their operation and

a tour of the facility.

The featured speaker for our program will be Randy Morgan, Chief Pilot and

Director of Maintenance on a corporate jet based at SRQ. Randy has an

impressive background in aviation starting in 1989 earning his pilot certificate

shortly after high school. He served in the US Army as a helicopter crew chief

and as a paratrooper. Randy went on to earn his A&P certificate and advanced

pilot certificates and ratings including becoming a Flight Instructor. Randy’s

work at Bombardier Aircraft will be the subject of his talk on the flight test

work conducted along with his experience flying a Lear jet.

There is a possibility of seeing the new Cirrus jet and others as well. So, plan

to join us for a great evening and see a side of general aviation you may not

have seen before.

Gary Stevens – Membership Coordinator

C. 217-971-8447


EAA180 Monthly Member Meeting

                               September 26th, 2018 - 7:00 pm

                Restoring a 1956 Cessna 172 Skyhawk 

         September Member Meeting - McClure Auditorium.

Jim Faix, EAA180 Board Member and one of the mentors for the

second RV-12 Teen Build, will be giving us a presentation of his

complete restoration of his 1956 Cessna 172 Skyhawk. If you’ve

ever wondered about what really is involved in the processes

of restoring an airplane, by all means bring your questions to

Jim’s presentation.  



Answers born from his experience:  
  •   How long does it take ?
  •   Does the whole plane need to be dismantled ?
  •   How much work space is needed ?
  •   How do you remove the old paint ?
  •   What type of paint remover works best ?
  •   What kind of tools are required ?
  •   Replace or restore parts, and which ones ?
  •   Repainting the outside & Refinishing the interior: where & how ?
  •   Which is more cost effective: restore or purchase another plane?

Please come and ask all your questions. Our short business meeting
begins at 7:00 PM followed by a 
refreshment break and our
presented by Jim. We hope to see you there.

Gary Stevens, Member Meeting Coordinator -  C. 217-971-8447


2018 EAA180 Monthly Meeting

August 22nd, 2018 - 6:30 pm

 Demetrios, University/Lockwood
(3180 University Parkway, SRQ 34243)

This will be our last "summer season" dinner meeting for 2018
  at Demetrios, corner of University and Lockwood Ridge.
Please join us for dinner. No program tonight. Our summer
social dinners have been a great success and
our members who have come have enjoyed the opportunity to
socialize over a delicious dinner. 

 Gary Stevens, Member Meeting Coordinator 
971-8447 (



EAA180 Monthly Member Meeting

July 25th, 2018 - 6:30 pm

Demetrios, University/Lockwood

We are continuing our "summer social season" with dinner 
at Demetrios, corner of University and Lockwood Ridge. 
Please join us for dinner. No program - just good food and 
lots of fun with your fellow members. 

Gary Stevens, Member Meeting Coordinator


EAA180 Monthly Member Meeting

June 27th, 2018 - 3rd
 Annual River Cruise Social

For our June 27th meeting, join us for another fun evening of cruising the Manatee River with Riverside Tours, Inc. to see a sunset on Tampa Bay and enjoy the city lights on our return.

Dinner at the Riverhouse Reef and Grill before the cruise for dinner and you get an additional $5.00 per person off the river cruise. We need 30 people to have the tour boat exclusively for our Chapter.  

The Details:

June 27th 2018 
6:00 pm Dinner at the Riverhouse Reef & Grill
7:45 pm RiversideTours - cruise departs the dock at the restaurant and returns at 9:45 pm.
$30.00/person With Dinner receipt from
Riverhouse Reef & Grill from this date. 
$35.00/person Cruise only.

RSVP: (941) 792-0294 or (217) 971-8447/cell


2018 EAA180 Monthly Meeting

May 23rd, 2018 - 6:30pm

 Demetrios, University/Lockwood

We are continuing our "summer season" with a dinner meeting at Demetrios, corner of University and Lockwood Ridge. Plan to join us for dinner. No program tonight...just good food and great conversations.

 Gary Stevens, Member Meeting Coordinator 
971-8447 (


                         EAA 180 April Member Meeting

         April 25, 2018

         Dinner Social and Chapter News

Our April Membership Meeting will be held Wednesday, April 25th at the Anna Maria Oyster Bar Landside located just north of the airport at 6906 14th St. West Bradenton, FL 34207. We have the private back room reserved for us under EAA 180 from 6:30 PM until we are ready to leave.

After some interesting programs and short business meetings, this meeting will give us a great opportunity to get together socially for a meal and catch up with each other and on chapter business. No reservations are required, you order off the menu and guests are welcome. We look forward to seeing you there and catching up after our Spring picnic, Sun n Fun and before Oshkosh with the latest chapter news and future activities.

Gary Stevens, Member Meeting Coordinator  C. 217-971-8447


                  EAA 180 March Member Meeting

        March 28, 2018

         Rotax Engines – Phil Lockwood


Our March membership meeting will be held Wednesday, March 28th at the Dan McClure Auditorium at SRQ. We are very excited about having Phil Lockwood of Lockwood Aviation as our featured program speaker.

Phil Lockwood is the founder and current President and CEO of Lockwood Aircraft Company in Sebring. Phil has built the company to a world recognized leader in aviation as the producer of the incredible AirCam airplane and one of the leading resource centers for Rotax engines. Phil conducts Rotax clinics and workshops at their Sebring headquarters and throughout the country. We are fortunate to have him come to us for our March meeting.

Phil will be talking about the Rotax 9 series that is quickly growing as a viable choice in aircraft engines for a variety of manufacturers and homebuilders. Bring a builder friend or anyone interested in learning about what is new with Rotax from one of the leading experts to be found.

Our short business meeting begins at 7:00 PM followed by a refreshment break and our program presented by Phil Lockwood. We hope to see you there.

Gary Stevens, Member Meeting Coordinator -  C. 217-971-8447


             EAA 180 February Member Meeting
        February 21, 2018

          Flying Under the new Basic Medical


Our February meeting program is a joint effort between EAA Chapter 180 and the SRQ Chapter of the Ninety-Nines. We are very pleased to have nationally known aviation journalist Amy Laboda and Dr. Aaron Wohl speak about why it makes sense for many pilots to fly under the new Basic Medical standards that EAA fought so hard to implement.

The program qualifies for the FAA wings program. Our membership meeting starts at 7:00PM at the Dan McClure Auditorium at SRQ on Wednesday, February 21, 2018 (one week earlier than our regular night). Refreshments will be served after our short business meeting and prior to the program start.

Amy Laboda is an ATP multi engine pilot and flight instructor. She is also a retired magazine journalist, having written for FLYING, AOPA Pilot, Flight Training magazine and Aviation International News. Amy is also a member of the Ninety-Nines.

Dr. Aaron Wohl is an emergency room physician and a pilot. He performs Basic Medical exams for pilots in Southwest Florida. He will be speaking in a question-and-answer format about the certification requirements, the exam, including how and why it makes sense for many private pilots.  

                                                                                  AMY LABODA

                                                 Dr. Aaron Wohl 


Gary Stevens, Member Meeting Coordinator -  C. 217-971-8447


                  EAA 180 January Member Meeting
        January 24th, 2018

       Civil Air Patrol – 75 Years of Service


Happy New Year everyone and welcome back to our many snowbird friends and members. Our first meeting of the new year will feature a presentation on the Civil Air Patrol and some new and surprising things about CAP’s role in serving our country. Our membership meeting starts at 7:00 PM at the Dan McClure Auditorium at SRQ on Wednesday, January 24th, 2018. Refreshments will be served after our short business meeting and prior to the program start.


Senior and Cadet members of our local CAP FL-044 SRQ Composite squadron will be on hand to deliver the CAP story including the history of CAP, the Senior and Cadet programs, the aircraft flown and the mission of Civil Air Patrol.


The Civil Air Patrol recently celebrated its 75th birthday.  This past year’s active hurricane season resulted in a busy year for CAP and the SRQ Composite Squadron seniors and cadets. Many damage assessment sorties were flown from the Punta Gorda base for FEMA and members of the SRQ squadron also deployed to Puerto Rico as well. As the official auxiliary of the United States Air Force, Civil Air Patrol plays a vital role as a force multiplier. It promises to be an informative program. We hope to see you there.


Gary Stevens, Member Meeting Coordinator
(217) 971-8447 -




EAA180 Jt. Nov/Dec Member Meeting

December 6th, 2017

“The Black Box”- All you've ever
wanted to know about it.

Our next Monthly Member Meeting of EAA180 will be Wednesday, December 6th2017, 7:00 pm at McClure Auditorium. This will include a short business meeting and refreshments will be served.

Dan Cunningham graduated from the University of Florida with an Electrical Engineering Degree. He is a Principal Software Engineer with L3 Aviation Products. He started working with flight recorders in the mid 1990s.

L3 Technologies (parent company) is a $10+ Billion, multi-national organization, with over 38,000 employees. It is one of the top ten US government contractors, working with Dept. of Defense, Homeland Security, NASA, etc. We’ve come into contact with their many products: airport baggage scanning systems, passenger screening systems and trace level explosive detection systems.

Dan will talk to us about flight data recorders, often referred to as “black boxes”, which it not Black, and it’s not a Box. Bring your questions and have them answered.

This will be an interesting meeting so be sure to attend and bring your friends/guests. All are most welcome. Hope to see you on December 6th.

Shirley Mandarino ( 922-2796)


EAA180 Monthly Member Meeting

October 25, 2017

Oshkosh experience & Meet the Ninety-Nines


Our next Monthly Member Meeting of EAA180 will be Wednesday, October 25, 2017, 7:00 pm at McClure Auditorium. This will include a short business meeting and refreshments will be served.


Malcom Moniz our own Teen RV12 builder was sent to experience Oshkosh for the first time by our chapter. Due to illness last month Malcom was not able to tell us about his experience, so he is on for October. Malcom promises some good stories from his experience and has some pictures and video to share from his experience at the EAA Air Academy and as a first-timer at AirVenture.

The Ninety-Nines are an international group of women pilots with a rich history and many famous members. A new chapter of the Ninety-Nines has recently started in our area and there is a good opportunity to work with them on future events and programs. Elina Lunin is the new chapter president, an active Flight Instructor, a corporate King Air pilot and owner of a Geronimo Apache. Andrea Noles Jaushneg is the station manager of Rectrix at SRQ and the owner of a Citabria.  Elina and Andrea will introduce us to what the Ninety-Nines are all about and some of their aviation activities and programs.

It should be an interesting evening and a great way to get back in to our regular meetings.

As always, guests are most welcome and encouraged.  See you on October 25th.

Gary Stevens. ( - (217) 971-8447)





EAA180Monthly Member Meeting

September 27th, 2017

                Highlights of AirVenture 2017

Our next Monthly Meeting of EAA180 will be Wednesday, September 27th, at 7 pm at McClure Auditorium. This may include a short business meeting. Refreshments will be served.

Malcolm Moniz, one of the Teen Build participants, was chosen to go to the 2017 AirVenture in Oshkosh. He and Ric Romanoff flew to Oshkosh in the previous Teen Built RV-12. He will speak on his experiences and what his future aspirations are.

Also, those other EAA180 members who attended Air Venture will be asked to share their personal 2017 experiences.

For those who have not heard, an adult build project, restoring a Christavia MK-1, which was donated to EAA180, will be discussed.

Also the Fall Cookout has been set for the Saturday after Thanksgiving (November 25th, 2017) and flyers will be available for early distribution.

(For further info: Shirley Mandarino (941) 993-9246)


EAA180  Monthly Member Meeting

August 23rd, 2017

7:00 pm (regular time)

**LOCATION: Clyde Jones Road, by old Tower

At the Teen Build/RV-12 Hangar. **Parking across the Road, adjacent to airport entrance. 

This month, we are continuing our more "Social" summer program. We are welcoming all EAA180 members/guests to come to see the Teen Build RV-12 progress. 

Also: See the new proposed Adult Build project of completing the Christavia MK-1, which was donated to EAA180.

Refreshments will be served. 

(For further info: Shirley Mandarino (941) 993-9246)

2017 EAA180 Monthly Meetings 
July 26th, 2017 - 6:30pm

 **Note Changes - Demetrios, University/Lockwood

We are continuing our "summer season" with a dinner meeting at Demetrios, corner of University and Lockwood Ridge. Plan to join us for dinner. No program tonight...just good food and great conversations with fellow EAA180 members/guests.

      Gary Stevens, Member Meeting Coordinator 
) 971-8447 (


EAA180 Monthly Member Meeting

June 28th, 2017 - 
2nd Annual River Cruise Social

Bring your family and join us for a fun evening on June 28th!!!

In place of our regular June meeting, we will have a fun evening of cruising the Manatee River with Riverside Tours, Inc. to see a sunset on Tampa Bay and enjoy the city lights on our return.

The fun starts at the Riverhouse Reef and Grill before the cruise for dinner and you get an additional $5.00 per person off the river cruise.

We need 30 people to have the tour boat exclusively for our Chapter. You can bring your own snacks and drinks aboard the boat. It is a beautiful 2 hour outing.

The Details:
June 28, 2017 Our regular meeting night.
6:00 pm Dinner at the Riverhouse Reef & Grill
7:45 pm RiversideTours - cruise departs the dock at the restaurant
and returns at 9:45 pm.
$25.00/person With Dinner receipt from
Riverhouse Reef & Grill from this date. 
$30.00/person Cruise only.

Reservations or Gary Stevens - questions
Home:(941) 792-0294
Cell:(217) 971-8447

*******RSVP to Gary ******

EAA 180 Monthly Member Meeting


Note Change**  May 31st 6:30 PM 

Anna Maria Oyster Bar Landside

       The World of Seaplane Flying- Steve McCaughey 


What a great way to kick off the summer season with a dinner meeting and a program on the world of seaplane flying.  Please note the date change to the 5th Wednesday, May 31st and the Anna Maria Oyster Bar Landside location just north of SRQ.  We will have the back room reserved just for us.

We are very fortunate to have Steve McCaughey, the Executive Director of the Seaplane Pilots Association since 2011 as our speaker.  Steve served with the Air Force Special Operations Command working the C-130 Gunship and has spent much of his flying time flying in his words “strangebirds” meaning tailwheels, seaplanes, aerobatics aircraft and warbirds. His diverse aviation adventures and experience has taken him from Alaska to Australia and everywhere in between.

If you have ever thought of seaplane flying or would like to learn more about it plan to join us for a great dinner and what promises to be a great program on the world of seaplane flying.


Gary Stevens, Member Meeting Coordinator

(217) 971-8447 (



EAA180 Monthly Member Meeting
April 26th, 2017

Airports from an inspector’s viewpoint


Our next Monthly Member Meeting of EAA180 will be Wednesday, April 26th, 2017, 7:00 pm at McClure Auditorium. This will include a short business meeting and refreshments will be served.

Our Chapter vice-president, Gary Stevens, retired after 24 years from the Illinois DOT - Division of Aeronautics as a Flight Safety Coordinator.  His duties included the certification and inspection of airports and heliports.  Since his retirement in 2010 Gary has worked as a contract inspector for the FAA in Georgia and Texas conducting airport and heliport inspections.  He has also presented forums on “building your dream strip” at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh for over 25 years.

Gary will be shedding light on airports from his experience as an inspector and as an active flight instructor.  There are many things every pilot should be aware of “beyond the briefing”. You will be informed, entertained, see lots of interesting pictures from airport inspections and will maybe learn something too.


EAA180 Monthly Member Meeting

March 22nd, 2017

Commander Brad Smith, USN Retired. 
A Naval Aviator's Story of Victory Over Adversity

Our next Monthly Member Meeting of EAA180 will be Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 at McClure Auditorium. This will include a short business meeting and refreshments will be served.


Brad Smith

We are fortunate to have Brad Smith, past EAA180 President, tell about his horrific experience
being shot down over North Vietnam in 1966. Brad was one of the longest-held POWs in the war,
after flying 77 combat missions.

Brad Smith Pilot

After being released, he enjoyed a 24-year military career.  He is a retired Navy
pilot and Commander. He left the service with a chest full of decorations,
including two Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Bronze
Stars, two Purple Hearts, the Meritorius Service Medal and five
Air Medals. He and his wife, Kirsten, have made FL their home for 20+ years.
Brad has recently completed building an experimental version of the
deHavilland Tiger Moth - a 1930s biplane used by the Royal Air Force
as a primary trainer aircraft. He's enjoying flying with his family and
volunteering with EAA180 for our free YE pancake breakfasts once a month
and mentoring in the building of another RV-12 for our Teen Build.  


Gary Stevens, Member Meeting Coordinator

(217) 971-8447 (


EAA180 Monthly Member Meeting
February 22nd, 2017 - 7 pm


 The Ins and Outs of ADS-B

Our February Monthly Membership Meeting of EAA 180 will be Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 – 7PM in the McClure Auditorium at SRQ.  Our program will follow our monthly business meeting and refreshments will be served.



Our program will be on the latest developments and options available to meet the 2020 FAA deadline on installing Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast Out (ADS-B) in your aircraft. Our featured speaker will be Ryan King, an Avionics Consultant with Sarasota Avionics located on our home airport, SRQ.  Ryan will be covering the latest developments on the FAA mandate and discuss the many options available for both manufactured and home-built aircraft. 


Ryan, a native of Michigan began his aviation career as a de-icing supervisor in Detroit at DTW.  During that time, he really jumped in to aviation at a different level and became an Air Traffic Controller at DTW. Then like many of us, Ryan discovered there is more to life than ice and snow and discovered the magnificent west coast of Florida through Sarasota Avionics. 


Sarasota Avionics started 30 years ago, from humble beginnings at SRQ.  The company has grown tremendously in that time to have 5 Florida locations and does business world-wide.  Sarasota Avionics is the largest panel-mount avionics shop in the United States and the largest Garmin Aviation dealer in the world.

Gary Stevens, Member Meeting Coordinator

(217) 971-8447 (



EAA180 Monthly Member Meeting

January 25th, 2017 - 7 pm

High Altitude Reconnaissance During the Cold War

Our next Monthly Member Meeting of EAA180 will be Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 at McClure Auditorium. This will include a short business meeting and refreshments will be served.

We are most fortunate to have Tom Barrett talk about his RB-57F, U-2, A-12 and SR-71 operations, having given a similar talk at the 2016 AirVenture in Oshkosh. He was a high altitude reconnaissance pilot flying some of the most secretive photographic and nuclear sampling reconnaissance flights.

He served 22 years in the US Air Force, logging over 10,000 hours, including 541 combat missions over North and South Vietnam. His UC-123 aircraft received 67 hits by ground fire, earning him the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Tom was the EAA Museum/flight operations director from 1995 – 2000. Previously, he was an Associate Professor at Ripon College and SDI “Starwars” research Division Manager at Kwajalein Missile Range in the Marshall Islands. Tom graduated  from University of Nebraska and holds a Masters Degree from Auburn University.

Gary Stevens, Member Meeting Coordinator

(217) 971-8447 (




         EAA180 Monthly Member Meeting


October 26th, 2016 @ 7:00 pm

Forming a Successful Flying Club
Jamie Beckett, AOPA's FL Ambassador
   Our next Monthly Member Meeting of EAA180 will be Wednesday, October 26th, 2016 at McClure Auditorium. This will include a short business meeting and the proposed slate for Board of Directors will be presented. Refreshments will be served. 
   Jamie Beckett will be our featured speaker on how to form a successful flying club. He will be giving us an overview of what a flying club is, according to the FAA and the IRS. It will be a thorough walk-through of the process of forming a club and a few tips and benefits of being in a club, based on his own experiences, as well as those of other clubs he has worked with.
   Jamie has met with individuals and groups throughout the Sunshine State, who wanted to form or join a flying club, hone their flight school operations, or get their Rusty Pilot skills back into top shape so they could begin flying again. His preferred mode of transportation is a bright yellow and black Reimagined Cessna 152 which he often refers to as his company car. Jamie holds commercial land and sea ratings for airplanes, as well as an instrument and multi-engine ratings. An A&P mechanic with a penchant for the classics and a frequent contributor to a wide variety of aviation publications, Jamie's passion for general aviation is truly infectious. 
   Jamie did a presentation at Arcadia and TWO flying clubs resulted. One at Arcadia and another attendee of his presentation was from Vanderbilt University in Nashville. This is a great article - check it out!!!
   His presentation will also be a FAAST program. Please plan to
attend and bring a friend 
Shirley Mandarino, Secretary of EAA180
(941)922-2796 (

EAA180 Monthly Member Meeting

September 28th, 2016 @ 7:00 pm

Air Venture 2016, Oshkosh
EAA180 Attendee Panel
   Our next Monthly  Member Meeting of EAA Chapter 180 will be September 28th, 2016 at McClure Auditorium. This will include a short business meeting and refreshments will be served.
   For many of us who haven't been to AirVenture in many years or have never attended, this will be your opportunity to hear some highlights of their trip to Oshkosh and to ask members who went this year questions about their fun time and some interesting things that might have happened while they were there. Check out the link below:
Shirley Mandarino, Secretary of EAA180
(941) 922-2796 (


2016 EAA180 Monthly Meetings



Monthly-Meeting Programs



October 26th. Jamie Beckett, Ambassador AOPA: Successful Flying Club. Short Business Meeting - Proposed Slate of Board of Directors.


November. No Monthly Member Meeting.

November 12th. Fall Cookout (Sat) - Air Manatee.
November 17th. Pilot/Controller Social (Thurs) 6 - 9, Dolphin Aviation Lobby. 


December  7th. (Joint Nov/Dec Meeting) - To Be Announced.


     Above is the EAA180 Calendar for the balance of the year.



Shirley Mandarino, Secretary of EAA180

(941) 922-2796 (




EAA180 Monthly Member Meeting

August 24th, 2016 @ 6:30 pm

Pizza @ the SRQ Airport Fire Station
  For all who missed the January 27th, 2016 Presentation given to us by the ARFF (Airport Rescue and Firefighting , we have planned a Pizza Party with free pizza/soft drinks/cookies. We will meet at 6:30 pm at McClure Auditorium, our regular meeting place, and car pool to the Fire Station. This is a "gated" area of the airport and has strict entry/exit rules. 
   We will have a tour of the facility, be able to see and enter the multi-million dollar vehicles and see a demonstration of their specialized equipment. For those of you who missed the first Presentation, there will be a Power Point video streaming while we are there.
   This will be a very informal, relaxed evening of getting to know the staff at the Fire Station and visiting with our fellow EAA180 members.
   To all who did not attend the July 27th, 2016 Meeting at the Anna Marie Oyster Bar, twenty of us had our own private dining area and enjoyed a great dinner and lots of fun visiting with our fellow members.
   If this more relaxed, friendly change in the summer meetings is enjoyed by our members, we hope to continue it in the future. We need your comments and suggestions. 
Shirley Mandarino, Secretary of EAA180
(941) 922-2796 (

EAA180 Monthly Member Meeting

July 27th, 2016 @ 6:30 pm

Dinner @ Anna Marie Oyster Bar
   Since so many of our members are away at Oshkosh, their northern homes or on vacation for our July Monthly Member Meeting - we will not have a regular meeting with a speaker.
   We will be meeting at 6:30 pm (30 minutes earlier than our regular meeting time) at the Anna Marie Oyster Bar (6906 14th Street W, Bradenton 34207 - US 41) for dinner and socializing with our fellow members. 
   For those of you who unfortunately missed the June 22nd River Cruise Social, you missed some great food at the Riverhouse Reef and Grill in Palmetto and a spectacular scenic boat ride on the Manatee River with Riverside Tours. We all had a great time and it was a good opportunity to be able to talk to members and meet the spouses that came. The boat ride pictures are posted in the River Cruise Social Album for you to check out. 
   We hope you will come to dinner at 6:30 pm at the Anna Marie Oyster Bar and bring a guest, if possible. Shirley Mandarino, Secretary (941) 922-2796.

EAA180  Monthly Member Meeting 

June 22nd, 2016

River Cruise Social
Bring your family and join us for a fun evening on June 22nd!!! 
In place of our regular June meeting, we will have a fun evening of cruising the Manatee River with Riverside Tours, Inc. to see a sunset on Tampa Bay and enjoy the city lights on our return. 
The fun starts at the Riverhouse Reef and Grill before the cruise for dinner and you get an additional $5.00 per person off the river cruise.
We need 30 people to have the tour boat exclusively for our Chapter. You can bring your own snacks and drinks aboard the boat. It is a beautiful 2 hour outing.
The Details
June 22, 2016      Our regular meeting night.
6:00 pm                 Dinner at the Riverhouse Reef
                               & Grill.
7:45 pm                 RiversideTours - cruise departs
                               the dock at the restaurant and
                               returns at 9:45 pm.
$25.00/person       With Dinner receipt from
                               Riverhouse Reef & Grill
                               from this date.
$30.00/person        Cruise only.
Reservations or      Gary Stevens             
                                  Home: (941) 792-0294
                                   Cell:   (217) 971-8447
*******RSVP to Gary by May 25, 2016******

EAA180 Monthly Member Meeting

May 25th, 2016

The new Air Traffic Control Tower at SRQ
Jeff Litherland, PE - Project Manager/Engineer
Hanson Professional Services
Our next Monthly Member Meeting of EAA Chapter 180 will be May 25th, at 7:00 p.m. at McClure Auditorium. This will include a short business meeting and refreshments will be served.
Jeff Litherland, P.E. is the Resident Engineer who is overseeing the new ATCT now under construction at SRQ. Jeff is an instrument rated Private Pilot and the owner of a 1970 Navion Rangemaster that has been in his family for many years. Jeff is a native of southern Illinois and received his degree as a Civil Engineer from the University of Missouri - Rolla in l986. He has been involved with numerous airport projects throughout his career and Jeff worked with our chapter Board member, Gary Stevens, at the Illinois DOT - Division of Aeronautics for five years. 
Hanson Professional Services, headquartered in Springfield, Illinois recently opened an office in Lakewood  Ranch. Hanson has a long history of airport and engineering projects throughout the world. When Hanson won the bid for the new ATCT at SRQ, Jeff jumped on the opportunity to come to Florida and head up the project. Jeff has a brother in the area and is looking to relocate his family here as soon as his son graduates from high school in June. 
Visible progress on the new tower construction is really starting to show now. Jeff will share with us the planning that goes into this project and the impact the new tower will have for users of SRQ and the opportunity for future development of the airport as a result of the tower relocation. It should be an interesting evening and a good opportunity to bring a prospective new member to introduce them to EAA Chapter 180. 
We hope to see you on May 25th.   
AA180 Monthly Member Meeting

April 27th, 2016

   This presentation is: "Cross County Challenge". It will be Flight Planning and Aeronautical Decision Making on Wednesday, April 27th, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. Location: Dan P. McClure Auditorium, 5900 Auditorium Lane, Sarasota, FL 34243.  
   This Presentation is built around two cross country flight scenarios, one VFR, one IFR. Each scenario consists of nine multiple-choice questions thru short videos. The idea is for the audience (with guidance from the presenter) to watch the videos, discuss the answer choices, and decide on the best one...or perhaps conclude that none of the provided answers is best. This program was presented in Naples and Tampa. It will qualify for Points in the WINGS Program. 
Martin Sobel (941) 539-4806
EAA180 Monthly Member Meeting
March 23, 2016
Multi-rotor airframes, better known as "Drones"
Our next Monthly Member Meeting of EAA Chapter 180 will be Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at McClure Auditorium. This will include a short business meeting and refreshments will be served.
   Something a little different - a Drone Presentation and Demonstration. Come and learn about the hot topic of Drones (also known as UAVs - Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) by Sean Pontzer of, which is the leading US retailer of the finest FPV (First Person View) equipment and is a Sarasota multi-million dollar online supplier of drones for professional use (videography/photography) and military use. They design, manufacture and distribute drones world-wide. Their clients include NASA and the US Army. Most commercial drone applications require a pilot's license. Sean will cover the FAA regulations.
   Michael Smith, a member of Valkyries of Manatee (634 Woodstock Rd., Bradenton), a local UAV Club, which meets most Saturdays (weather permitting), will show his Power Point presentation. They will have different size drones on display. This will be an up-close and personal chance to your questions. This is one of the fastest growing past-times. FPV racing is the next NASCAR!!
   A fun, different meeting - come and bring a friend. 
Shirley Mandarino, Secretary of EAA180


2-24-2016 ---JFK, Jr. Accident Analysis

===Jason Schapport===

Our next Monthly Member Meeting of EAA Chapter 180 will be Wednesday, February 24th, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at McClure Auditorium. This will include a short business meeting and refreshments will be served.
The Presentation will be: JFK, Jr. Accident Analysis by Jason Schapport, of MzeroA Flight Training of Gainesville, FL. 
Jason has given his presentation over 100 times all over the world, including Sun N Fun, Oshkosh, and the U.K. One of our own members, Casey Mannion, has made the arrangements to have Jason come to SRQ. We are very fortunate to have him as our speaker.
Jason's premise is that every accident is caused by a "Chain of Events". Come and learn how to "break that chain" and perhaps save your life and those of your passengers. All responsible pilots should hear what might prevent many GA accidents. 
We all know that JF Kennedy Jr., his wife, Caroline Bessette, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, were all killed in the crash of their Piper Saratoga, but now we can hear the "rest of the story". 
This will also be a FAAST event, so please pre-register, if possible. Come and bring a friend. 


1-27-2016 ---Existence and Role of ARFF

===May Day!! May Day!! - Fire Onboard!!!! ===

Our next Monthly Member Meeting of EAA Chapter 180 will be Wednesday, January 27th, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. at McClure Auditorium. This will include a short business meeting and refreshments will be served. 
The Presentation will be: "Existence and Role of ARFF (Airport Rescue and Firefighting) - by the Sarasota Airport Fire Department. The presenters will be Firefighter Bogie and Firefighter Leighton. The presentation will be brief and will leave plenty of time for past experiences, further discussion and questions. 
No pilot wants to imagine having an on-board fire or similar emergency!! This is a excellent opportunity for pilots and passengers alike to know exactly what to do during such an emergency. You'll have the opportunity to have the firefighters themselves answer any of your questions. This should be a "CAN'T MISS" program for your safety and that of your passengers. 
ARFF Fire Truck

2015-12-09 --- LT. NATALIE MOYER, USCG ---

------ HERCULES PILOT ------

Natalie Moyer is an Active Duty Lieutenant in the United States Coast Guard, stationed in St. Petersburg/Clearwater as an HC-130H Pilot. Born and raised in Oklahoma, Natalie committed to making a difference and after high school, she embraced the military challenges. Following the tradition of both grandfathers to serve her country, she attended the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Operational Research and Computer Analysis, and received her commission in the Coast Guard in 2008. Upon graduation, her first assignment was CG Cutter VIGOROUS, as a Deck Watch Officer, in Cape May, NJ before being selected for aviation. She completed flight training in Pensacola, FL and Corpus Christi, TX then was assigned to Air Station Clearwater, FL.
Throughout her career, Natalie dynamically represented the US Coast Guard. She was selected for All-Armed Forces basketball tournaments; she represented the Coast Guard on the All-Navy Women's basketball team, and won a gold medal. She competed in local races winning two Savage Races and a Tough Mudder Sprint. An avid volunteer, Natalie assists with church activities, aids the local USO and a local HEP (Homeless Empowerment plan) facility.
Natalie is passionate about advocating for veterans needs: she was a finalist for Ms. Veteran America in 2014; she currently is Miss Oklahoma International 2015, with a mission to advocate and be the voice of change for homeless veterans. She is on the board for the non-profit, Athena's Initiative, which continues to support veteran's nationwide.

                         OCTOBER 28, 2015

                                    AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL
Meet controllers Christopher Burri and John Cook as they discuss ATC Operations at SRQ and Class C Airspace

 2015-06-24   ----------   MOVIE NIGHT !!!!!

 ------------- FLYING ROUTE 66 -------------

Join us on Wednesday June 24 as we accompany Russell Munson, the great aerial photographer of our time, in his Piper Super Cub on a low and slow aerial trip above The Mother Road of America.

Route 66, the most famous of all American highways, has become an almost mythical symbol of the spirit of the open road, a uniquely American blend of machines and restlessness, vast spaces, and a love of freedom and adventure that causes an irrepressible, gut level urge to wander. Most of the original road was ploughed under decades ago by the Interstate Highway System, yet the spirit of 66 continues to grow.

 Route 66 by Air
World-renowned aviation writer and photographer Russell Munson has been under the spell of this spirit since birth. In "Flying Route 66", he takes you on a tour of the entire path of Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica; but instead of driving it, he flies it low and slow in his Piper Super Cub. 

Join him in the cockpit for a Sky Bum's tour to see from a few hundred feet what is and what was of this famous road. At the same time, you will experience the freedom of flight in a part of the sky reserved for soaring birds, drifting clouds, and pilots who would rather be nowhere else.   






Martin brings to this program a lifetime of flying, ever since he was 3 years old; when he fell in love with aviation. 
He has more titles than a Bavarian Duke; including CFI,  CFII, CFIG, AMT and was awarded the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award in 2012. He now has over 24,000 hours of flight time and is a Past-President of EAA Chapter 180. As the FAST Team Lead Rep (since 2007), he brings the WINGS Program to our chapter for our education and enjoyment.

Always willing to share his accumulated knowledge and experience; Martin has been instrumental in coalescing a group that has mentored a group of high school youngsters in the building of an RV-12 Light Sport Airplane.
 Martin Sobel at the RV-12
Martin will discuss his role as Chief Test Pilot of the completed RV-12 aircraft; initially as a single pilot in the traditional approach to the flight test protocol; then completing the test program based on the new dual pilot program the FAA has created with the help of the NTSB investigation teams and the EAA. 
This new program is data driven, with Experimental Amateur Build (EAB) accident data the EAA helped to collect from EAA members; in coordination with the NTSB, and has a dual focus:
  • Reduce the pilot loss of control during the first flight and the subsequent first 36 hours of Phase One Test Flights.
  • Reduce the accidents caused by powerplant malfunction. 
The FAA has determined that accidents and fatalities can be significantly reduced by having two qualified pilots in the airplane during the first 36 hours of the Phase One Flight Test Program.
The FAA data shows that 18 percent of the fatal EAB accidents in 2011 occurred during Phase One testing. The data also indicated that 18 percent of the total EAB accidents in 2011 occurred during First-Flight of the Phase One testing and that 65 percent of the total EAB accidents occurred in 8 flight hours or less!
One third of these Phase One accidents involved pilot loss of control (LOC) and one third resulted from powerplant issues. 
 Fatal Accidents
The new proposal from the FAA is to have the builder pilot fly with an experienced test pilot for the first 8 hours of Phase One testing and then have qualified pilot(s) fly with the builder pilot, collecting data and watching for other aircraft in the area until the testing is completed.
Thus, a qualified test pilot conducting the Phase One testing should significantly reduce the accidents in the first 8 airframe hours. And qualified pilots in the subsequent hours of testing should also significantly help the builder pilot have a successful test program; collecting much more data than would be the case with the builder -pilot flying alone.
Come join us for what will be a lively interactive discussion about First-Flights and Phase One flight testing; moderated by this RV-12 Test Pilot!  

 2015-04-22 ---- MOVIE NIGHT --- FEATURING:


We have planned a relaxed evening at the movies for our April program.
This month's Sun-N-Fun event at the Lakeland Airport (KLAL) has siphoned off some of our presenters; who will be featured in programs over the next few months.

April 22 Program-photo 1 
Our movie, a WWII training film, introduces the multi-engine student aviator to the B-26 Marauder as he transitions to combat-ready status.

April 22 Program-photo 2 
So, sit back and enjoy 48 minutes with Don Porter as he portrays the transitioning student pilot.

2015-03-25 --- RIC ROMANOFF PRESENTS: 




This month's program, the second in the series "Mentoring Today's Youth....Tomorrow's Aviators", introduces our chapter member Ric Romanoff, spokesman for the six shareholders in RV-12, Inc.

The RV-12 shareholders funded this project, with the goal in building this RV-12 kit aircraft to recruit young people and chapter members to work together; to expose those youths to aeronautical knowledge, to learn, develop and practice skills; and to hopefully mentor a lifetime interest in aviation.  

This team has guided a group of local high school students in furthering their interest in aviation by assisting in building an aircraft that they could eventually learn to become a pilot in. 
RV-12 The Kids-1

These young men were mentored in the use of tools, how to read drawings, interpret plans, develop leadership skills and expand their confidence in their ability to bring a stack of sheet metal together into a two passenger 120 knot flying machine. An aircraft in which they can plan to become a pilot one day.

RV-12 The Kids-2 
As a group, the students committed their Saturdays to the project, worked each weekend from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm in building the airplane. Now, after three years of dedication, their hard work had a payday.

Commemorating the experience, a celebration of sorts was held in January of this year. This was the students first opportunity to take a flight in the airplane that they built. And here is Ric, taxiing out to the flight line, with one of these young men in the right seat. 

RV-12 photo with Ric Romanoff 
Some of the students, likely those with light home work assignments, plan to be present for the program. Perhaps we can persuade them to give us their insight on this unique experience.


                       LOSS OF CONTROL

                 NTSB FINDING AS #1 CAUSE

                                    GA ACCIDENTS


              ****PHASE 1 FLIGHT TESTING**** 

Chapter 180 member Michael Christmann will explore with us the NTSB's finding that Loss Of Control is the principle contributor to our GA communitie's accident rate.

Michael will focus on the two flight realms where we GA pilots are most likely to experience loss of the aircraft's control:
  • The typical, point A to point B, flight where we as the PIC, or some external event like wake turbulence, places the aircraft in an attitude that we have never experienced and are unprepared for.
  • The Phase 1 Flight Test of a recently completed experimental kit or resurrected certificated aircraft. An evolution often performed by the builder/repairer, now turned test pilot; a test pilot whose piloting skills have deteriorated while laboring over his dream airplane.
     M Christmann Photo

Michael, a CFI with 7500 hours in his log, was born in Berlin after the end of WW2. Growing up near the Tempelhof Airport, he lived through the Blockade of 1948/49; collected chocolates dropped by the Allied aviators.

He knew early on that he wanted to be a pilot ....and so, joined the German Air Force in 1964; spending 23 years during the Cold War, primarily flying jet fighters; including: the G91Alpha Jet, F15, F16, F104 Starfighter, Harrier, Jaguar, Mirage 3 and 5.

After retirement Michael and his wife, a Physician in the USAF, moved to South Carolina where he became a CFI, bought a Decathlon and taught unusual attitude recovery. aerobatics and tail wheel skills leading to the endorsement sign-off.

Michael became a member of EAA in 1989, helped in the building and test flying of a Bower Fly Baby, Rans 7 and finally built his own RV8; which he flew for 5 years/500+ hours 
Now the proud owner of a Super Decathlon, in green trim and dubbed "The Frog"; Michael is once again offering instruction in unusual attitude recovery, basic aerobatics and tail wheel skills leading to the endorsement.
Frog Two





This month’s program, the first of the series “Mentoring today’s youth….tomorrow’s aviators”, introduces Chapter 180 member Gary Stevens and the CAP Cadets he mentored in preparing an in-depth program to identify a safe Emergency Operations Center (EOC) heliport location and strategically located landing zones (LZs) for the Manatee County Emergency Management leadership.


Gary holds ATP/MEL and CFI/Airplane & Helicopter certificates. He retired from the Illinois DOT-Aeronautics Div., having served 24 years inspecting and certifying state-wide airports and hospital heliports.


 Gary Stevens - Helicopter


Gary’s background and experience facilitated his mentoring of the SRQ CAP Squadron Cadets as they developed; then successfully executed on a scope of work for the project that involved establishing a heliport at the EOC and several pre-designated landing zones (LZs) strategically located throughout Manatee County for emergency response. The ultimate goal was to prepare an FAA application for a heliport at the EOC and produce editable documents for the heliport and LZs to be used by emergency planners and first responders. 


That was a tall order for the Squadron’s Cadets as they first met with the county’s Emergency Management Division in August 2013. But after a year’s hard work, with a number of field trips, employing survey equipment and evaluating the site’s conformance with FAA heliport guidelines and standards, the Cadets were ready to report their recommendations.


To facilitate their presentation the Cadets prepared a PowerPoint presentation to augment the written report and in July 2014 presented their recommendations for implementing the project to the county’s Disaster Preparedness & Planning Committee.


Those recommendations were reviewed and accepted without significant change and the heliport at the Manatee County EOC was opened on December 6, 2014 with a nice dedication ceremony sponsored by the SRQ CAP Squadron; with All Hands on Deck.


 CAP Cadet Commander



 CAP Helicopter Group



Knowing that you will want to hear more of this achievement first hand, the CAP Cadets plan to be present on the 28th. They plan to show us their PowerPoint presentation, will answer our many questions and demonstrate what the youth of today can achieve when they are well mentored.


2014-12-10     Martin Sobel   -    Analysis of 3 Accidents

Martin comes to this program with a lifetime of flying, ever since he was 3 years old when he fell in love with aviation. 
He has more titles than a Bavarian Duke ( CFI CFII CFIG AMT A), was awarded the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award in 2012, now has over 24,000 hours of flying time, and is a Past-President of EAA Chapter 180.  Always wanting to share his accumulated knowledge and experiences, Martin has been instrumental in coalescing a group that is teaching high school youth how to build a RV12 Light Sport airplane.
As the FAASTeam Lead Rep (Since 2007), he very conveniently brings the WINGS Program to our Chapter for your education and enjoyment.
Tonight, Martin will be discussing three aviation accidents.

   2014-10-22  Jim Faix -

Restoring a 1956 Cessna 172 Skyhawk -

If you've ever wondered about what really is involved in the processes of restoring an airplane, by all means bring all your questions to Jim Faix's presentation.  Our meeting starts at 7:00pm in the McClure Auditorium (see lavender box on lower-right of home page for directions).  Bring your friends for what will likely be a lively discussion.
Jim has just finished restoring his 1956 Cessna 172 Skyhawk and is mighty proud of the superb results.

Answers born from his experience: 
  •   How long does it take ?
  •   Does the whole plane need to be dismantled ?
  •   How much work space is needed ?
  •   How do you remove the old paint ?
  •   What type of paint remover works best ?
  •   What kind of tools are required ?
  •   Replace or restore parts, and which ones ?
  •   Repainting the outside & Refinishing the interior: where & how ?
  •   Which is more cost effective: restore or purchase another plane?


This is your evening to join with us and ask all the questions you've always wanted answers to. 
Bring your friends for fellowship with a passion for aviation.

2014-09-24   Three Crashes - Members' Experiences - Lessons Learned:   Lyle Peters- Ultralight,  Pete Makowski - CT Flight Design, and Wells Berry - Sonex

Oh my gosh !   
                              What's happening  ?
                                                                      Now what do I do    ! ? !
Our three speakers have each been through this experience in which with good piloting they lived to tell the stories of their crashes.
Come prepared with questions you always wanted answers to as you envision what might run through you own mind in crash situations.
Remember, as Bob Hoover tells it, "Fly the plane 'till it is stopped"
Lyle Peters, ultralight pilot doing the recommended series of taxi tests before first flight in his new float plane, caught a gust of wind as he was expecting to complete his taxi test near the end of Airport Manatee's green grass runway and suddenly found himself airborn with out enough speed for climbing and a barbed-wire fence that seemed to be running towards him.   Here him tell his story and the lessons he learned from this harrowing experience.
  +     +     +
Pete Makowski was taking off from Venice Airport with his CFI friend aboard and at about 60 feet up he glanced at his glass-panel flight display, noted that he was only flying at 43 knots, recollected that stall occurs at 40 knots in his airplane, so immediately pushed the control stick full forward to get more speed and consequently more lift.  Good thing because at that very instance the yellow engine problem icon appeared on the glass panel screen, the next second the engine-out red light blinked on the panel and the prop stopped.   Come to our program to hear what he correctly did next!
+      +      +
Wells Berry, flying his Sonex airplane over Florida gator country,
suddenly heard a loud bang and then experienced a significant reduction in thrust coming from the engine.  
Come to hear his story, how he nursed the engine while he kept the airplane flying away from gator habitat, and was able to extend his descent onto a roadway while facing down an approaching 18 wheeler.  The essential help provided by passers-by, and the lessons learned.
+      +     

We are so happy that these Chapter members were good pilots and survived their crashes without serious injury or death, and are here to tell us about what they learned from their experiences.   Plus, they will tell you the root cause of what caused their crashes.
This is your evening to join with us and ask all the questions you've always wanted answers to. 
Bring your friends for fellowship with a passion for aviation.


2014-08-27   Alan Cate  -  60% of Fatal Accidents Occur at the Airport - Need for Stabilized Approach to Prevent Loss  Of  Control  (LOC)  While in Airport Pattern

The FAA has collected a decade (2001-2010) of statistics about fatal accidents, and 60 percent of the fatal accidents occur due to loss of control while in the airport pattern.   This does not include the declared emergency incidents!
Hence, to reduce 60% of the fatal accidents, we must hone our skills to insure stabilized approaches.  The following graph depicts the data showing that most of the fatal accidents occurred due to maneuvering, approach, and initial climb (not take-offs nor landings).
Alan Cate will be presenting this Monthly-Meeting Program with a slide presentation provided by Jose Figueroa, Tampa FAA Inspector, and looks forward to your active participation in the discussions with lessons that you have each learned about preventing loss of control (LOC) while flying the airport pattern.


2014-07-23   Earle Swan - Owner/Pilot Maintenance

of both the Aircraft and the Pilot

Earle, assisted by FAA Inspector Jose Figueroa of the Tampa FSDO, plan to describe the many preventive maintenance tasks the owner and/or pilot operator is approved to perform on the aircraft he currently operates.
The presentation will also deal with a definition of the persons authorized to perform preventive maintenance, rules governing the performance, tools, equipment and test equipment considered acceptable in performing the task and of course the paperwork aspect in recording the work performed in the appropriate log.
Here's a link to the FAA approved list of preventative maintenance tasks:

I’ve reached the age where most people call me a ‘senior citizen’; sometimes I feel like a teenager in my pursuit of helping to advance the community of aviation.


My interest in aviation was fostered by the United States Air Force; where I think I really grew up, having been a mechanic on the B-52D, & G fleet for 8 years.


After leaving the Air Force, I acquired my first pilots license and have been at it ever since. I now have an ATP and over 21,000 flight hours with 7 type ratings, a Certified Flight Instructor with instrument certificate (CFII), a Mechanic certificate with I.A. (inspection authority), and I recently built a Vans RV-8 aircraft that I spend quite a bit of time with.

Having joined EAA chapter 180 about 14 years ago, I feel a responsibility to return a little of the knowledge that was entrusted to me by many of my peers and friends.  


 2014-06-25   Dr. Dunn - The FAA & Your AME Want To Keep You Flying  - Is A Special Issuance In Your Future? 

Dr. Craig Dunn, MD is a Senior Aviation Medical Examiner, with an established practice in Sarasota, FL since 1988. He is an active Commercial, ME/SE Land Airplane GA pilot, with an Instrument Rating. Dr. Dunn's current airplane is a 2000 C182, based at VNC.....his "next" airplane will be an RV9.
Seen here is the good doctor as PIC in his 182,
with the newest addition to his family.
Dr. Dunn plans to introduce his program elaborating on how the process works at the AME end, and what the Airman can do to facilitate things. He will discuss some of the Special Issuance subjects, with an emphasis on cardiac issues. Dr. Dunn has a great deal of experience in dealing with the FAA/OKC and will review what the FAA is doing to reduce the backlog and give more discretion to the AME. He anticipates a lively Question & Answer session and will discuss the "Drivers License" Medical and Sleep Apnea policies now being considered.

 2014-05-28         Blaise Pierson  --  Pilot / Tower   Harmony

We all want good kharma,  and Blaise Pierson will bring it to us with lively discussions about how and why ATC and pilots need harmony in their communications.
Whether you are a low time pilot or a seasoned pro with many hours in your log book, you will have that day ........... perhaps more than one ........... when you and the tower / approach / center controller are at odds.
        Often we,  the pilot,  fail to communicate our intentions so they are easily understood.  Are we brief or wandering and wordy, taking up more than our fair share of air time and that of the controller as well?
How do we, the pilot, deal with the controller whose instructions are delivered in rapid fire and faster than our ability to assimilate and correctly respond?
And what are the common complaints the controller community has to say about we the pilot?
Everyone is welcome to come and encouraged to join into the lively discussions with our program's presenter, Blaise Pierson.
Blaise has a wealth of experience to draw upon in discussing the pitfalls to avoid in our relations with ATC.   Most notable of these is his career as an Air Traffic Controller, finishing as the Tower Chief right here in SRQ prior to his retirement.  
Blaise is also a pilot, and a builder, and flies his Van's RV-8 tail dragger from the SRQ field - where his bird is hangared.


Martin Sobel - Self Assessing Change When Flying for Life


You may feel exhilarated and all charged up, but when it comes to flying for life, change isn't static.    As pilots, we need to constantly self-assess.
Oft times, we tend to think of ourselves as static entities - - I'm Joe today, just like I was yesterday, and like I'll be tomorrow  - - but the truth is that change is not static, we are different people all the time.




One day we're hyped up.  

     One day we feel "normal", but perhaps not as sharp as usual.
         One day we get a little hint that maybe we're starting to get sick.
               One day we're worried and distracted.
                      One day we've flown just a little too long.
                            One day the weather is just closing in.
Doesn't matter a whit if we are sixteen or ninety.   This is not an aging thing, it is just day to day living that for good pilots demands that we  constantly self-assess.
So there's this huge range of things that change within and around us, even though we may not always be aware of it. 
All of that interacts with whatever flying demands we put upon ourselves on a given day.
Everyone is welcome to come and encouraged to join into the lively and engaging discussions with Martin Sobel.   Be sure to read his lively bio of his experiences from owning an ultralight company, to flying 767 jet liners, to building a light sport RV-12.  

You can always pick out Martin in a crowd!

Martin Sobel Bio      19 April 2014




Born March 4th, 1940; I have over 24,000 hours of flying time and was awarded the Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award in 2012.


On 3rd birthday, I received a present consisting of cardboard combat aircraft and have loved airplanes ever since.


Graduated from Rutgers University with a BS in Mechanical Engineering.


After 4 years in the ROTC program at Rutgers University, received commission as a second lieutenant in the USAF. Served 5 years, the last three as a Thor/Agena Satellite Launch Controller at Vandenberg AFB.


Because of my astigmatic eyesight I could not pass the flying Air Force physical exam. This turned out to be a good thing since I eventually was more senior than my graduating peers with TWA.


Began taking flying lessons after graduation from Rutgers with the Aero Club at Wright-Paterson AFB.   Soloed on 8/3/61 from the grass runway at Dayton Municipal Airport (DAY.)


Took preliminary tests for United Airlines in the fall of 1965. UAL did not ask me to come back. But I figured if they did not want me, the pilot shortage was a myth.


Bought a Piper Cherokee 180C in December 1965. I thought I would lease the aircraft back to the Vandenberg AFB Aero Club. That did not work out but it did provide incentive to finish my commercial and instrument ratings.


Applied to Eastern Airlines and TWA. Was accepted by both. Note: took the same psychological test with EAL that I had taken a year earlier with UAL. Decided to join TWA and was hired in October 1966. Good Choice. Joined TWA with the class of 100766 as a Boeing 707 Flight Engineer. Had about 260 hours total time. Also had flight instructor licenses.

I knew that if I sat back and did not keep my flying skills sharp, I would have a terrible time upgrading to First Officer, so I learned aerobatics and taught with new aviation programs at Long Island University and Dowling College.


Upgraded to International First Officer as soon as I could. Basically jumping from a Cessna 152 to the right seat of a 707. This was before sophisticated flight simulators eliminated the use of real aircraft. International F/O’s had to qualify as ATP on the aircraft they flew.


Flew Boeing 707/Boeing 727/Lockheed 1011/Boeing 767/Boeing 747. Finally upgraded to Captain March 1989.

Throughout my career I advocated fuel conservation techniques. This effort was finally recognized with participation in TWA’s Fuel Conservation Task Force. Wrote the manual for the B727 and edited the manual for the B767.


Retired on my 60th birthday with a B767 flight from Tel Aviv to New York after 33 ½ years with TWA.


Enrolled in the AMT Program at Columbus State Community College. Finished the Airframe rating, but with the economy doing badly and the reduction of the TWA retirement program, I joined FlightSafety as a simulator instructor. With FlightSafety I was a Training Center Evaluator (TCE) on the CE-500 Citation, and a TCE and Type Rating Evaluator for the JAA for the Falcon 2000.


Also, completely revised the NetJets Europe Recurrent Training program to LOFT based scenarios meeting customer needs and suggestions by the JAA in JAR OPS 1.


Presently :

  • FAASTeam Lead Rep (Since 2007)
  • President EAA Chapter 180 Sarasota/Manatee, 2005-2012; now Treasurer
  • Leading a team of volunteers to have high School students build/refurbish a Van’s RV-12 and Piper PA-16 Clipper


I could not be happier with my aviation career. Although they have probably all flown West, I would like to thank all the instructors I had over the years. All of them experienced men willing to share their knowledge with me.




Eugene Vaadi was born in Watertown, NY July 1, 1921. He joined the U.S. Army Air Corps Cadets and graduated as a Second Lieutenant at Blytheville, AR on March 12, 1944. Assigned as aircraft commander of a B-17 and went to the 8th Air Force, 3rd Air Div., 385th Bomb Group, 550th Squadron, at Great Ashfield, England in October of 1944.

Lt. Vaadi flew 19 combat missions over Germany before being shot down by enemy fighters near Dresden on March 2, 1945. Captured by ground troops that were watching the air battle he was taken to several POW camps until finally being liberated near Mooseburg by General Patton’s tank forces at the war’s end.

Returning to the U.S. he served in various duties, including the active reserve. During the Korean Conflict he was assigned to B-29s at Grand Island, NE; then entered duty as an aircraft commander flying B-29s assigned to the 581st Air Resupply and Communications Wing, Mountain Home, ID. Moved to Clark Air Base in May 1952; and assigned to combat duty with the 91st Strategic Reconnaissance Wing in Yakota, Japan in December 1952.

Captain Vaadi was shot down a second time, this time by MIG-15s while on a night mission deep into North Korea, January 12, 1953. He was captured January 13, 1953 by North Korean troops and taken to Muckden for interrogation. On February 1, 1953 he, along with the surviving 10 crew members, was taken on a special train to Peking, China. Each one of the crew members was held in a separate passenger car. They did not have contact with each other, only the armed guards assigned to guard them.

While in the Peking prison, he endured several months of interrogation, constantly chained up, with beatings, torture and solitary confinement. Released from prison by the Chinese, through the efforts of the U.N., on August 1, 1955; the most welcome sight on his return to the U.S. was the good old American Flag.

Maj. Vaadi returned to flight duty at the 1611th Air Div., MATS, McGuire AFB, NJ in 1956 and remained there until 1959. He was then assigned to the European-Mediterranean area as a commander and liaison officer for the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya. He remained there until 1963 when he was assigned to operations in the 314th Tactical Command Wing at Stewart AFB, TN; flying C-130s. He then went to Southeast Asia where he conducted and flew missions as a commander in the Vietnam theater for several tours of duty.

In 1967 he retired from the Air Force, with the rank of Colonel; now a civilian, he continued to work in the aviation community as director of operations for a small airline, instructor for military pilots and chief pilot/director of mine safety for E.R. Jahna Industries.



Join us on February 26, 2014 for Brad Smith, our Chapter180 President and Commander, USN (Ret), as he re-tells the history of his career as a Naval Aviator Fighter Pilot; including the harrowing details of the loss of his A4 over North Vietnam and the ensuing six, well almost seven, years as a guest at the infamous Hanoi Hilton.

 Blue Angel A4 Skyhawk's in formation at the
Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola
Bradley E. Smith
Rank, Service
Commander O-5, U.S. Navy
Veteran Of:
U.S. Navy 1961-1985
Cold War 1961-1985
Vietnam War 1965-1973 (POW)

Brad Smith was born in 1939 in Youngstown, Ohio. He began taking flying lessons at age 15 and already had his private pilot's license before he enlisted in the U.S. Navy on August 31, 1961. He was later selected for Naval Cadet Flight Training where he received his commission and wings in 1964. He was assigned to Attack Squadron VA-76 in February 1965, flying off the Aircraft Carriers USS Roosevelt, America, and Enterprise. Smith began flying combat missions in the A-4 Skyhawk in November 1965. He was forced to eject over North Vietnam while flying his 77th combat mission on March 25, 1966. The North Vietnamese captured LT Smith and held him as a Prisoner of War for the next 2,516 days, until his release during Operation Homecoming on February 12, 1973.
His 2nd Silver Star Citation reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity while interned as a Prisoner of War in North Vietnam. In October 1966, his captors, completely ignoring international agreements, subjected him to extreme mental and physical cruelties in an attempt to obtain military information and false confessions for propaganda purposes. Through his resistance to those brutalities, he contributed significantly toward the eventual abandonment of harsh treatment by the North Vietnamese, which was attracting international attention. By his determination, courage, resourcefulness, and devotion to duty, he reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Naval Service and the United States Armed Forces.

 Click on this link to listen to Brad's interview with EAA's Timeless Voices:  My experiences in VietNam
 After his return, Smith went back on flying status in the A-7 Corsair II. He flew from the USS Saratoga from 1974 to 1977, seeing duty off the coast of Lebanon. From 1979 to 1981, he flew from the USS Coral Sea in the Indian Ocean, including being on alert during the rescue attempt of the hostages held in Iran. Smith served as the Aircraft Maintenance Officer and as a Weapons System Test Pilot at the Pacific Missile Test Center at Point Mugu, California, from 1981 until his retirement from the Navy on August 31, 1985. After retirement, Brad worked for the defense contractor Lear Siegler before starting a Stained Glass business in Florida.


2014-01-22  PLANE MAKERS, Inc.

PLANE MAKERS, a group of multi-talented aircraft builders, will host our January program in their hangar on the west side of SRQ, just south of the Dolphin complex. The firms owner, Chris Dougherty, will take us on a stand-up tour of the projects now underway; which will describe the scope of builder's assistance and certified aircraft repair services that the firm has to offer.

Among these projects we will see: 
  • A completed Sea Wind Amphibian, which the aircraft's owner will fly home to Iowa after flying-off the requisite 25 hours. 
  • An RV-4, where the aircraft's new owner is actively assisting in bringing this early Van's design to flying status from its current 80% level.
  • A Gruman Tiger, recently sold, with the proviso that the seller remove and repair any/all corrosion.
  • And a Velocity XL, an experimental class aircraft in its own right as delivered by Bert Rutan; with its design further modified by the talented PLANE MAKERS team to provide a jet powered primary power plant, backed-up by a VW powered plant with a nose mounted deployable prop. The aircraft will have an extended range of 1200 NM with a fuel capacity to achieve that and further modified with three ballistic parachutes!

Whether you are a seasoned builder or new to the game or have a certified aircraft, you may find the services provided by PLANE MAKERS a valuable resource; you can view those services - Click Here


2013-12-11       ADS-B In & Out        Presented by Ryan Van Kirk

Come join with us at 7:00pm on December 11th, the "Ins" and "Outs" of ADS-B will be discussed by Ryan Van Kirk of Sarasota Avionics. The FAA has mandated implementation of ADS-B OUT by Jan. 1, 2020; Ryan's lively Power Point presentation and hardware display will greatly help in planning to meet that deadline in a cost conscious and timely manner.
Any aircraft operating in airspace where a Mode C transponder is required today, will also be required to carry an ADS-B OUT transmitter.
Come prepared for a good interactive discussion about the "What" & "How" of ADS-B by making a few notes of your questions as you review the Air Safety Foundation course on the AOPA website.  You need not be a member of AOPA, however, you will be required to register or logon to take the course.  To go to  the AOPA Air Safety Foundation course  Click Here
One question I have relates to how the ADS-B data will get displayed in your cockpit.   Another question relates to blind-spots in the ADS-B system; you will likely have others after completing the course. 
We look forward to your questions and discussions about ADS-B following Ryan Van Kirk's  Show-N-Tell presentation.