November 2008

The Aerodrome Newsletter

Columbus, New Mexico, November 2008

Annual Meeting – The by-laws of the First Aero Foundation require an annual meeting of the membership. The 2008 Charter Year will close with the first annual meeting which will be held in Columbus NM on Tuesday, January 13th at 6:30 PM. The tentative meeting place will be Martha’s Place B&B. All members are invited to attend, and will be welcomed. Plans for the event include an examination of the actual Aerodrome site on Tuesday afternoon, a welcoming party for early arrivals on Sunday evening at the First Aero Squadron Airpark north of Columbus, and dinner at the famous Pink Store in Palomas, Mexico, late Monday afternoon (bring passport). Informal tours of the area will also be available.

There are rooms available on a limited basis in Columbus at Martha’s Place and at the Pancho Villa Motel. Several local members have volunteered guest rooms as well, but all are available on a first-come-first-served Basis. For more information call Martha Skinner at 575-531- 2467 ( or Bill Wehner at 575-531-7044.

We can arrange pick-ups at El Paso (ELP) if you arrive by Kerosene Queen. If you plan to arrive in light aircraft, limited hangar or tie-down space is available at First Aero Squadron (NM09). Please note that RW 28L is preferred for landing because of its 3% grade toward the mountains, unless winds are from the east at over 15K. The runway is 4000’x 50’, well maintained dirt/gravel; 122.9 is monitored.

Elections – Enclosed with this newsletter you will find two other documents: a proxy assignment, and a ballot. If you do not plan to attend the Annual Meeting, please vote by checking or otherwise marking the ballot. Your signature on the proxy will permit the First Vice President to vote for you on matters before the board.

We cannot stress the importance of these two pieces of paper enough – this group was formed to be an entirely grass roots, member run organization; without your participation in the process we will certainly fail.

Keeping Chuck Straight – A couple of months ago at a board meeting we were discussing candidates for the Advisory Board. It was noted that Gen. (Ret.) Bob Cardenas had been the pilot of the “mother” B-29 that had launched Chuck Yeager and “Glamorous Glennis” to fame. A voice down the table was heard to say, “Anyone who could ride herd on Chuck Yeager has my vote…”

Newest Member – As of this writing, Ken Emery of Columbus is our newest member. Ken is a retired Cultural Archaeologist from “Down East”. He is a member of the Columbus Historic Preservation Commission, and though not a pilot, is vitally interested in the future of the Aerodrome. He and wife Sheila are veteran fire-watchers who man a tower in the Safford AZ area every summer. Ken notes that they have retired at the end of this season. One wonders if the 10 rattlers they found in the cabin when they opened it this year had anything to do with that decision…

Box 1516 – We field questions from members and non-members alike from time to time. One of those is “Where are you actually located?” and “Why is the Foundation address 1516?”

First, you must understand that Columbus is a very small town- maybe 1800 or so souls. Charter Member Eddie Booth of South Carolina visited us a week or so back and remarked on the large sign on a Government edifice that read “Main Post Office.” Simple explanation: If you have only one Post Office, that makes it the main one, doesn’t it?

At any rate, because Columbus is so small, we employ only the Postmaster and one part-time helper, and there is no mail delivery… all residents have PO boxes. We were granted the use of Box 1516 because the block of boxes that contains #1916 (our original request) has not been made available to the public yet. Welcome to small town USA.

Jail Time – The Old Columbus Jail was built in 1917 by the Village of Columbus which still owns it, although it has been many, many years since the last resident occupied it. The last resident, by the way was a mother cougar and her cubs… but that is another story. Incidentally, the two cells inside are rumored to have come from the old Yuma Territorial Prison. The jail is on the National Register of Historic Places, and has recently been given by the village to the local Historic Preservation Commission to refurbish and preserve it. The Commission, in turn, has offered office space to FAF, so maybe in the not-too-distant future we will have an actual home.

Gold Membership – Our most recent Gold Membership has been granted to John D. Benham of Pipe Creek TX. John D. has been in general aviation most of his life and is a founder of the Cessna 170 Club. He shares this Gold Membership distinction with Advisory Chair Jim Greenwood. Gold Membership is awarded to those who have donated $1000 or more to the First Aero Foundation. Will our GM next be you?

Challenge – One of our members has issued the following challenge: He will advance $10,000 toward the purchase of the Aerodrome site if 5 or more others will join him. It is planned that the buy would be made and held for eventual purchase by the Foundation from these member/buyers. The buyers would retain title to the property until the FAF buys it from them, or a specified time elapses. (This could be a year or even two. If time expired, the buyers could resell.) Given the present state of savings interest, and the fact that the invested money remains yours, you might consider volunteering 5 or 10 grand in this effort. Who will step up to the plate for the Aerodrome?

Bill Wehner and Ruth Smith, Public Education 575-531-7044

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