Achieved: Glass Shelves

Our goal is to extend the shelves at the height seen here around three walls of the room.

‘Twas a tumultuous December. Visitors numbers were down so much I said not a word to a wandering soul for 16 days. Business flying seemed to go on hiatus for the month, and since most visitors are pilots and passengers aboard business aircraft ranging from Cirruses to Cessna Sovereigns. No G-V crew has visited yet, though I’ve seen a few parked on the ramp outside our host FBO. A new member who joined Abe Lincoln’s Air Force in mid-December and visited, helped, and chatted every day (and chatted and chatted and chatted) came to demonstrate his word was as good as a $7 bill when he reneged on his promise to pay for the rest of the glass shelves needed to complete development of that part of the Museum. He is now persona non grata in the office and the rest of the collection. I was in something of a tailspin over that unhappy antic because at the rate membership support alone (sans major donations) is coming in it would be months before the shelves, produced and waiting for pick-up, would be installed. The outlook changed for the better late in the month when I was putting the January Capital Crosswinds together.

The monthly newsletter of the Springfield Chapter, Illinois Pilots Association, is a four-page production (sometimes two-page, sometimes six-page) I produce on computer, send to our Chapter President who prints it at his business and distributes via e to our members who have email and returns to me for stamping and mailing to members who don’t. I’ve done this with IPA for more than a year, attended most meetings, taken lots of pictures and maintained an IPA/SPI website at the AeroKnow web site I also launched a page at Facebook. Darley Copp is Vice President of the chapter who also maintains records of wedding anniversaries, birthdays, who’s in the hospital, who earned a new rating . . . and one of the members I call when putting the newsletter together. Darley and her husband Bill were also the first local pilots to become members of Abe Lincoln’s Air Force. When I called her in late December to catch up with the latest social buzz, she explained to me that at the January 5 Chapter meeting she would move for IPASPI to lend significant support to AeroKnow Museum.

And so she did. I prepared for the gathering by upgrading the Museum brochure to distribute, and considering what I wanted to say. The first consideration was HOW MUCH? There was no reason to ask them to underwrite the cost of completing the set-up of the entire Museum. I didn’t want to hit a home run last Wednesday; I just wanted to make it to second base. Up to December we had made a respectable showing hitting the ball as far as it had gone. Everyone who has visited believes we have a bonafide museum. I decided, based on what the glass fabrication company said, $300 would do it. That is what I asked for after Darley moved for Chapter support. I also answered questions from those attending. One wondered why we aren’t at the airport terminal, and I explained we are exactly in the right place. The museum needs to demonstrate what we can do, the support we can earn, in the wonderful space that is ours today. When he have accomplished that goal, the rest of success will follow in directions I can’t imagine. Given the irregular open hours at the airport, it’s not surprising more local pilots haven’t visited and chipped in. Additional volunteers working at the office when I’m setting things up upstairs and when I’m not even at the airport will improve our chances will help solve this problem. Abe Lincoln’s Air Force member Tom Fitzgerald seconded the motion. I departed the meeting to go pay my bill for the tasty dinner while members considered the request and waited by the cash register for all of 18 seconds out of listening range before a member appeared in a door in the partition and bade me return. The Chapter had approved the support!

The next day I paid for 26 Plate Glass shelves that will complete that part of establishing the museum as it should interface with the public who we hope — after seeing what we’ve done and understanding the mission — will continue the process with additional support. It’s taken three trips to transport them to the airport because the bundled shelves are HEAVY. Today they are all there! Most are up. We still need some more concrete blocks before they all are set, and I expect that process to be complete by the end of the week.

Thanks to the Springfield Chapter Illinois Pilots Association!

CAVU and soft landings.


About Job Conger

I am a freelance aviation, business and tourism writer, poet, songwriter. My journalism appears regularly in Springfield Business Journal and Illinois Times. I am author of Springfield Aviation from Arcadia Publishing and available everywhere. As founder/director of AeroKnow Museum (AKM) and a volunteer with American Aviation Historical Society (AAHS), I created this blog to share news about AKM activity and aviation history.
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