Avionics News February 2013 - 49
Just as I started the holding pattern, Center advised,
“RVR is now above minimums; what are your intentions?” I told them, “We’ll shoot the approach at Wichita.
If we miss we’ll go to Kansas City.” They said, “You’re
cleared to Wichita.”
John Winter was in the right seat. I told John, “When
we get over the outer marker, I want you to help me with
the clock count. If I don’t have the ﬁeld in sight in the
required time, I want you to conﬁrm this, and we will declare a missed approach and proceed to Kansas City. So
let’s check the time when we are over the outer marker.”
John said, “We can do that.” We get over the outer marker inbound and I said, “Are you helping, John?” Just before I was about to declare a missed approach, John said,
“I have the lights and the runway.” When we broke out of
the clouds, I believe the size of the snowﬂakes were as big
as grapefruits. After landing, the line guys came out and
asked, “Where did you guys come from? We haven’t had
an airplane here in two hours.” I went inside the FBO and I
said to the girl, “I thought they said light snow?” She said,
“We were talking about the color.”
How long have you been flying?
I have been flying for more than 35 years. I started
flying after I started my career with Aerosonic.
What aircraft do you fly?
We don’t have an aircraft at this moment, but I have
flown Beechcraft, Cessna and Piper; there are so many
I can’t remember. We would always use aircraft for
business at Aerosonic. I would visit customers though
their hangar doors instead of through the lobby. For
many of my customers, I would taxi up to their hangar.
It was much nicer because when I got out of the
aircraft, they knew who I was. When you flew in, it
gave them a better feeling about you. Not only do you
work in aviation, but you are part of aviation. You do it
What is your favorite aircraft to fly?
It’s a toss-up between the Bonanza and the Cessna
210 and 182RG. I enjoy the Bellanca, as well. It is a
wooden-wing aircraft that I got from Castleberry Instruments. My Bonanza was having a problem on the way
to Oshkosh, Wis. I immediately thought of Don Castleberry and said, “Hey Don, do you still have that Bellanca
for sale?” He said yes, and I told him I wanted to rent it.
I asked him how much, and he said “whatever was fair.”
So he rented it to me for “whatever was fair.” I went to
Austin, Texas. He checked me out and said I was good
to go. He never saw that airplane again. I kept it for several years.
When did you know you wanted to become a pilot?
When I was in the Navy, I was a crew member on a
patrol bomber. I thought, “You know, I sure would like
to sit in the front seat.”
Not having the opportunity to do it in the Navy, when
I got out and started working for Aerosonic, I started
learning to fly. Herb Frank, founder of Aerosonic, asked
me when I was going to get my instrument rating. I told
him I was working on it. I had passed my written and
just had to go to a flight school and do the flying. Frank
offered to pay for it. I called the school, and they said
to be here Monday morning and we’ll fly every day for
six days. On the seventh day, I got out of the aircraft
with the FAA examiner and he said that I was an instrument pilot. That opened the door to travel more for the
company. VFR would get you stranded a lot. There’s a
lot more go power with instrument power. When I got
that, Frank called me and said, “Congrats, now go buy a
plane.” I asked him what kind he would like me to buy.
He told me a Bonanza. I said, “OK, I like those.” I got a
used Bonanza and flew it for several years. I have flown
the whole U.S. and part of Canada in single-engine aircraft. Ahlers doesn’t have an aircraft yet, but I would
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