February 2009

  • 501(c)(3) STATUS OFFICIAL


Election – January 13th saw the Second Annual FAF Board of Trustees meeting elect 1 new Trustee, and reelect 3 others.  In the election of officers that followed, newly chosen Sharan Maxwell was elected Secretary, Pete Oesper was elected Treasurer replacing Tom Willmott.  Kris Lethin and Bill Wehner retained their seats on the Board.  Kris will continue to serve as Webmaster; and Bill on the Public Education Committee. Willmott, a newly minted Sport Pilot who lives in Santa Fe, served as Treasurer in our Charter Year and has the profound thanks of the entire Board.  Oesper served the Charter Year as Parliamentarian; Maxwell has served as Curator of the Columbus Historical Museum.

501(c)(3) Status – President Gene Valdes announced that the IRS had finally given its complete blessing, dating back to February 11, 2008, to our status as a corporate non-profit.  Gene personally herded our incorporation through Santa Fe, and worked even harder with the IRS on this issue.  The meaning of this is that all donations (less the basic $20 dues) can be used as an income tax deduction.

Museum Donations – Our proposed WWI/Golden Age museum has begun to receive donations of potential display or trading materials.  John D. Benham of Pipe Creek TX, has promised a prop, rolls of chain link, and parts of a Porterfield.  An interesting addition to the collection has been donated by Max Klikot of Columbus.  He has given us a Kodak 7” Aero Ektar lens and mount.  These were manufactured into WWII for use on aerial cameras. A side light- these lenses are mildly radioactive from the use of thorium in their manufacture.  The museum gladly accepts donations of aviation related artifacts.

Pledge Update – A polling of the Board of Trustees has produced a little over $30,000 in pledges toward the purchase of the 60 acre Parcel One of the old Aerodrome.  That leaves us about $30 to 35 thousand short of the needed war chest.  Members are being asked to loan moneys to the Foundation, secured by the land itself, for purchase of this parcel, and for others that may be on the market in the future.  Parcel One, by most estimates, represents about a third of the Aerodrome.

Purchase Fund – Here is the way it works: members are asked to loan money to the Foundation for the purchase of Parcel 1.  The loans will no-interest, and may run for a maximum of 5 years, although it is anticipated that they will be repaid sooner.  Loans will be secured by a lien on the property.  The rationale is this:  FAF has been self-supporting since its founding.  Ownership of the 60 acre Parcel 1 will provide a solid base from which we can expect to open doors to a number of grant programs and potential donors.  Another factor is that in this era of poor interest rates, one might as well put funds to work where they could do the most good. i.e., purchase of Aerodrome property.  If you’d like more information contact me, Bill Wehner (see below).  Of course, should you be interested in making an outright donation as some have, we would be delighted to accept.  Donations of more than the $20 dues are tax exempt.

Financial Condition – As of December 31st, 2008, FAF had Cash on Hand of $4269.69. Of this, dues and renewals accounted for $840, donations. Bronze, Silver, and Gold memberships accounted for $4120. Expenses included bank fees, State and Federal Registrations ($760), Post Office and mailing $164.  Planned expenses will be a pair of filing cabinets, and a lap top.

Historic Program- The New Mexico Heritage Preservation Alliance has invited FAF members to present a program about the Foundation at its annual meeting, March 26-28 in Silver City NM.  Representing the Foundation will be Gene Valdes, Sharan Maxwell, Pete Oesper and Bill Wehner.

Board Retreat – The Board of Trustees will meet in retreat at the Columbus American Legion #1916 on March 11th at 9:00AM.  We expect to deal with those eternal questions… Where are we? Where are we going? How are we going to get there?  What is our timeline?  And, of course, perhaps the most important- how are we going to pay for it?  Your input is seriously invited.

Newest Advisory Board member– C.E. “Pete” Adolph of Albuquerque, has over 50 years experience in test, evaluation and systems acquisition.  He started his career as a flight test engineer at Convair (General Dynamics) on the F-102 and F-106 flight test programs.  He spent 3 years as an Air Force officer, then held a variety of positions as a civilian employee of the Air Force from 1960 to 1987.  Adolph served as Technical Director (the senior civilian position) at the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC).  From 1987 until 1994, he held several positions in the Office of Secretary of Defense (OSD).  For most of that period he was Director, Test and Evaluation, Acquisition and Technology.  He served as Interim Director of Operational Test and Evaluation and of Defense Research and Engineering.  He was Senior VP for Science Applications International from 1994 to 2000.  Pete is currently a consultant for the Institute for Defense Analysis and other organizations.

Finding First Aero members.  A project near and dear to the hearts of many of us is the location of information about– and the descendants of – the original First Aero Squadron.  Historian Jim Davis, who we think has a bunk in the National Archives, has been unearthing salient facts about the Squadron and its operations, as well as personal tidbits about the members.  What about some of us involving ourselves in the histories of both officers and enlisted men of First Aero?  This certainly would mean locating the offspring and/or relatives of these young men… it is noted that we have little information on their adventures in France, or the evolution of First Aero itself.  If you would be interested in helping Jim and me in a project like this, give me a holler (see below).

Bill Wehner        (575)531-7044           wehner@vtc.net

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