Jay Leno and the Collings Foundation TP-51C

Nice little piece coming out of Hollywood today – Jay Leno’s Garage featuring the Collings Foundation (who I used to work for) and their new North American TP-51C Mustang.  Jay talks with Rob Collings about the aircraft and the foundation…

Good press for Collings Foundation and I am sure Jay Leno had a blast as well!  While I was at the foundation, Jay Leno was a great friend of the crew’s and came out to visit the planes many times when they visited Burbank.  Jay’s garage is based right at the airport.

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A shot of space today

ne_198 Long, long ago — far before I found the passion for aviation within our atmosphere, I had a huge passion for space exploration and astronomy.

OK, I am not sure how “huge” a passion can be at the age of seven, but I am sure I was one of the biggest post-toddler fans of NASA way back in the mid-80′s.  I had so many books on the subject that they covered my bedroom floor, and acted as “stepping stones” for my mom to avoid stepping on the strewn particles of my LEGO collection.  I can’t figure out where the interest came from, but I had it bad for space.

Unfortunately, January 1986 negatively impacted my interest in becoming an astronaut.  It’s not easy for a 3rd grader to watch images like the Challenger tragedy and be easily scared at the sudden realization of human mortality and fragility.  As it happened, my teacher was completely enthralled with Christa McAuliffe and the Teacher in Space mission prior to that fateful day.  It was surreal when the passion and enthusiasm he displayed turned to extreme sadness and horror within such a short time.  Needless to say, I drifted away from space over the next few years until I found my calling with warbirds and General Aviation in 1989 at the age of 10.

Other than the occasional news stories I’d catch on TV, I rarely ever followed anything related to space after that time.  My teen years were swallowed up by WWII aircraft and flying on planes of the past; far from the forward-thinking visions of space travel. 

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Hawker Beechcraft Opening Service Center at KIWA

Aero-News reported yesterday on Hawker Beechcraft’s announcement of their plans to open a $14M service facility at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport (IWA), formerly known as Williams Gateway Airport.

See the story at: http://www.aero-news.net/news/commbus.cfm?ContentBlockID=d710a628-84cf-4c53-95fe-1377bb13a864&Dynamic=1

IWA is quickly becoming something of a center for corporate aviation service… Cessna is already well into the construction of their Citation Service Center on the field as is Embraer.  Intel has their corporate shuttle terminal there as well.

Even Mesa’s MD Helicopters currently based at Falcon Field (KFFZ) is being courted by the airport to move manufacturing facilities to the former air force base.  MD has been searching for a possible new home as lease rates have increased at FFZ in recent years. 

Local officials always seem to highlight the airport for airline service, but I think the strong point for the rebirth of the former military base lies in its ability to capture manufacturing and maintenance operations. No other airport in the Phoenix metro really has the space or accessibility that Gateway has with the exception of Goodyear.  I don’t think IWA will make a name for itself with low-cost airfare to Las Vegas or the occasional budget carrier flight… their strength is in their wide open spaces and three massive runways for flight test operations and the like.

I am excited to see what else is around the corner for the airport!

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Mentoring Does Work

This week in the Brazen Careerist blog, Penelope Trunk discusses the role of the mentor in the career of a person and how she found her own favorite… a good laundry list for beginners to networking:

http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2008/05/17/how-i-got-my-current-favorite-mentor/

From the moment I started realizing the value of other people and their wisdom (around the age of 15), I have taken similar steps in finding mentors in my life.  Being around a group of people much older than myself, common in historic aviation groups, I quickly learned respect for their knowledge and got the gumption to talk to them and become their friend… not sit in a corner and pick daisies like most of the kids my age.

It always frustrated me while I was at the college to hear of graduating students complaining that they had no contacts and no network to help in their career beyond graduation. This is inexcusable at an airport like Nashua, NH.

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