All Hail The Aero-Heroes of 2008!
Final Compilations by ANN Editor-In-Chief/Blame-Taker, Jim
It is both the most "fun," and most difficult, task facing the
ANN staff at the end of every year -- determining who, or what, did
the most to promote the cause of aviation in the past 365 days...
while also chastising those people or entities that did all they
could to undermine the many successes the aviation/aerospace
community has managed to accomplish.
Thankfully, 2008 was a year in which we saw the best and
brightest among us step forward and work tirelessly on behalf of us
all. No doubt about it... the challenges we faced in 2008 were
numerous, and ongoing... so was the quality of expertise and
passion brought to our defense by those who heroically demonstrated
to the world the very best side of aviation... via their deeds,
words and actions.
It is ANN's honor to recognize Ten persons/organizations or
groups that qualify as our Aero-Heroes for 2008... in something of
an informal order, starting from the 1st to the 10th. Let us know
what you think of our selections... whom YOU would have liked be
included or omitted from such a list. In the meantime, we thank the
folks who made this year's list. Thank you, folks... we really
needed you this year, and you didn't let us down.
Rich and Ginger Davidson
We've been talking to Rich Davidson and his wife Ginger for a
number of years… and our discussions have always been
positive, brutally frank, and somewhat wistful - as we discussed an
aviation life that seems to be disappearing as fast as an SR-71 in
full burner. Rich and Ginger are two of the most visible
members of a vanishing breed of aviators… people who live a
down home, folksy, aeronautically uncomplicated lifestyle on a
little grass strip airport in Mid-America with no pretense of
making $1 billion dollars or even a desire to do so. What they are,
though, are two gifted people who live and breathe and love
aviation with a passion that few of us can match. They are
maintaining and even improving on an extraordinarily lovely little
grass airstrip in an isolated part of Indiana, called Lee
Simply put, it is an oasis for the aviator's soul.
Each year they host a fly and with no agenda, few rules, no
schedule, and none of the hype and accompanying disappointments
that we have seen at far too many so-called aviation centric
events. It is a simple gathering -- a place where hundreds of
pilots fly in, camp out, hang around and talk, visit with each
other's airplanes, and just plain enjoy the fellowship of
like-minded flyers. It is as low key and 'below the radar' an event
as I have ever seen - and it instantly became my favorite aviation
event of 2008.
Rich Davidson calls it "the most nothing you'll ever do" and on
the face of it, he's quite right. But below the surface of that
statement, there is something much more extraordinary going
on… Like an old-style tent revival meeting, it presents a
quiet place to recharge the batteries that motivate an aviator's
soul and presents a spectacular alternative to the $500 hamburger
flights that have become all the rage among today's flyers looking
for a reason to fly. Rich and Ginger have become gatekeepers
to a disappearing mode of aviation… the simple, easy, quiet,
love of aviation that relies on a pure fascination and affection
for flight - absent the hype, complication, overt regulation,
excessive marketing, and other negatives of the modern world.
Their annual Fly-In at Lee Bottom field should become a
pilgrimage for all those who seek the pure roots of aviation and
wish to recharge their souls with the simple pleasures of a grass
strip in the company of true aviators.
The Wonders Of The Lee Bottom Fly-In For Yourself... On