Flyer Hillsville, Virginia
Newsletter of EAA Chapter 1426 Vol. 3, No. 1 – January 2009
December 18, 2008, Twin County Airport: Instructor Scott
Thomas cuts the cord and student pilot (and new EAA member)
Brian Sutphin takes to the skies for his first solo! Congratulations,
Brian! Read more about Brian and his interests on p. 3.
Photographs courtesy Tamara Sutphin.
Important Dates to Remember
January 7: Ground School starts and meets Mondays and Wednesdays at 6 PM.
Contact Bob Steele for more information.
January 8: Chapter Meeting in the TCA hangar at 7 PM. Tyler Ward, 2008 Scholarship
Winner, will talk about his Aviation Challenge experience this past summer.
January 15: Twin County Airport Commission meets
EAA Chapter 1426 Newsletter Vol. 3, No. 1 – January 2009
Report from the January Board Meeting (1/3/09)
Shirley Steele and Sharyl Walker
The Board of Directors for Twin County EAA Chapter 1426 met on January 3, 2009. Present were Mark
Aufrecht, Sam Ayers, Nancy Beasley, Ina and Jake Jacobs, Marcus Ogle, Bob and Shirley Steele, and Sharyl
Walker. President Bob Steele conducted the meeting which was called to order shortly after 9 AM.
Bob presented certificates and pins to the 2008 officers. He then reviewed the forms that need to be filed
to maintain the organization. Insurance and chapter fees are due in to EAA headquarters by January 10th. Nancy
wrote a check to cover the $329 insurance fee and $50 renewal fee. Nancy also wrote a check for $25 to cover
our state corporation registration fee.
Various questions regarding the Chapter’s new tax exempt status and ID numbers were discussed. Ina
will investigate and also order more 501-c(3) information booklets. Mark Aufrecht suggested purchasing a safe
to hold important documents.
Bob reported that Tim Brown, Airport Manager, has advised that we remove all Chapter and personal
property from the Twin County hangar and workshops by the end of January because the building is going to be
There are many exciting new projects that the Chapter would like to pursue and time was insufficient at
the 1/3/09 meeting to discuss them all. Bob recommended that the Board meet more regularly to attend to
organizational details and long-range planning. Several suggestions were made for holding Board meetings in
conjunction with breakfast on a Saturday morning once a month. We will try the last Saturday of each month.
The next Board meeting will be at Corney’s Restaurant at 8 AM, January 31st.
Aviation Challenge Scholarships for 2009: Brad Nester has agreed to start this process. We have
$1844.05 in the scholarship fund right now.
It has been suggested that the chapter have one scheduled event at the airport each month (drive-in, fly-in,
etc.). Marcus said that if we can get on a regular schedule of holding the event, word will get around after a few
months and we’ll build up a good crowd. Nancy suggested challenging members to invite new potential members
to join us. Mark commented that pilot members with aircraft should offer other members a ride in their bird from
time to time to help keep up chapter enthusiasm. EAA membership needs to be about more than attending
meetings – we need to get up in the air!
Other activities for 2009:
Ground school (M,W: 6 PM – starting this Wed. in TCA hangar)
EAA Hangar Plans (Airport Commission meets 3rd Thursdays)
Nancy suggested doing some kind of memorial gesture for Emily Gile. Suggestions included:
Naming the Chapter after Emily (or emphasize her name on the scholarship – it may be
impractical to change the legal name of the Chapter)
Establishing a plaque
Making a presentation to the family; include Retired Teachers and other colleagues and friends.
Asking EAA HQ for publicity support or recognition.
Thursday’s Program: Tyler Ward will give a talk about his experiences at Aviation Challenge. We also
need to set the dates for YE Rallies, discuss fundraising ideas, and recruit volunteers for chapter committees.
The group adjourned at 11:30 am.
EAA Chapter 1426 Newsletter p. 2 Vol. 3, No. 1 – January 2009
Meet Our Newest Member, Gary Craig
First Impressions, Lasting Impressions!
By Gary Craig
My name is Gary Craig and recently, at the invitation of Scott Thomas, I
attended a meeting of EAA Chapter 1426. As I was impressed with Mr.
Thomas’s approach to my flight review and what I perceived to be a genuine
fondness of aviation, I was looking forward to the meeting. I was not
disappointed; I sensed immediately that I was in the presence of fellow aviation
buffs. I was impressed with the welcome feeling that came over me as I met the
others and listened to the commitment they have made to promoting aviation in
The turnout for the Pancake Breakfast and Christmas Party/Meeting was also
very impressive. Having come from a part of the country where it’s very hard to
get anyone to volunteer for anything, I was happy to see that people here do want
to get involved and make this a great place to live.
I consider myself fortunate to be a part of Chapter 1426 and hope that I can
contribute enough to impress the good name of the Chapter to others as I have
been. I have no doubt my impression will be everlasting.
Gary and Marlene Craig at the Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser held in November. Photograph courtesy Shirley Steele.
Meet New Member, Brian Sutphin
By Brian Sutphin
Hi, my name is Brian Sutphin. I am 33 years old and my wife
Tamara and I own and operate a Land Surveying business in Hillsville.
We have four children and we are expecting another in March.
I have been an airplane nut my entire life. I can remember getting
the Sears catalog when I was a kid and dreaming of getting an R/C
airplane for Christmas. I also used to sit at home and draw sketches of
airplanes I wanted to build using the engine from my go-kart. Thank
goodness I never got past the design phase! I took my first airplane ride
when I was eight years old at Twin County Airport. Our church group
was given rides one Sunday afternoon and it was one of the most
memorable experiences that I have ever had! As is the case with a bunch
of people, I was not able to pursue my dreams of flying until later in life
when I could afford to do it on my own. I eventually did get my R/C
airplanes and have enjoyed that hobby for quite some time now, but I
always wanted to fly the real thing!
Last year a good friend of mine finished rebuilding his Citabria,
and he and I have spent some time since puttin’ around and having fun.
We were able to take a week off this year and fly to AirVenture. What an
awesome place, it was the perfect thing to get an airplanaholic motivated!
Since returning from our trip I have been consumed by the thought of
acquiring my Private Pilot’s License (my wife is a great woman, and how
she puts up with me I will never know). I am well on my way now
(thanks to Scott, who has nerves of steel), and I can’t wait to finish up so
N8843U and I can take the dreadful Check Ride. Once I get my PPL, I
would like to work on an Instrument Rating, Commercial Rating, and
Brian the R/C pilot, soon to be Private Pilot!
maybe even become an Instructor. I really don’t know where my passion (Photographs by Sharyl Walker)
for aviation will lead me, but wherever it is, I am sure it will be a fun ride!
EAA Chapter 1426 Newsletter p. 3 Vol. 3, No. 1 – January 2009
(or The Newsletter Editor Resorts to Bribery)
by Mimi Thomas
Calling this a ‘story’ is a stretch. It all came about because of
some hard-to-get-crackers-in-the-Culinary-Capital-of-Hillsville, and
Sharyl’s willingness to trade them for a story. I would rather have
traded a check for the crackers.
With a relatively blank mind, I didn’t think I would come up
with anything appropriately airplane-related. Me? Nope. And then, at
2 am on a sleepless night, an “AHA!” moment: the source of a good
yarn was innocently snuffling and snoring beside me.
It’s a story of several houses, or more precisely, garages. Simply put, our cars rarely saw the
interiors of these garages because they had been turned into AMPs (Aircraft Manufacturing Plants, to
The first to come along was a Duster sailplane, built over a period of five years and two houses
in Virginia Beach, not to mention the USS Forrestal (CV-59), where a good deal of the fuselage was
built. (To appease the skipper of the carrier, Scott wrote an article for Soaring magazine, lacing it
liberally with the captain’s name.) Scott had been instructing in both power and sailplanes at the now
defunct South Norfolk Airport, a grass strip owned by a crusty cigar-chewing old salt named Steve.
Steve let everyone know that he had no use for snotty-nosed Naval Aviators who thought they knew
everything about flying and general aviation, so Scott managed to keep a low profile for a while. He
finally built up enough credibility before it was discovered that he was, indeed, one of “those”,
accompanied by much hooting and hollering by Steve. (They are still friends.)
But I digress. First came the sheets and sheets of plans, strewn all around the house. Would
make good wallpaper. In the garage, the bits and pieces gradually became recognizable airplane parts.
Often I would get home from work, fix dinner, and tap my foot, wondering where Scott was…only to
find that he had been home since 3 pm and never bothered to change out of his uniform before
commencing work on the plane.
I can’t remember all the little stories, but I do think back on the Saturday I came home around
4:30, armed with many shopping bags, only to find the wing spars (very long on a sailplane!) laid out in
the house – from dining room, to kitchen, to breakfast room, laundry room and finally, the bathroom –
13 meters in all! I stepped over the spars and politely reminded Scott we had a squadron party for 30 or
so at 6:30 and I really hoped our guests would not have to hop over it all. The response was an equally
calm and polite, “of course not.” And it all disappeared before 6 p.m. What a guy!
Of course, the sanding and painting took forever, and I’m sure whatever glue was used took its
toll on some of the grey matter (Scott’s, not mine!). We then moved to Pungo, a rural part of
southernmost Virginia Beach. Pungo had – and still has – one lone stoplight, a general store, and about
six families whose ancestors arrived in the mid-1600’s. Everyone is therefore related to everyone else
and one learned to “talk nice” about others, despite the fact that we had some absolutely wacko
neighbors and others whose main cash crop was pot. The sailplane was finished shortly before we
moved there from Virginia Beach proper, and as I remember, and there were many sailplane meets in
Newcastle, VA as well as in PA and NJ; at some point, the plane somewhat disassembled itself in an
off-field landing near the Delaware Water Gap in upstate Pennsylvania; something to do with an unseen
woodchuck hole during an “off field” landing.
EAA Chapter 1426 Newsletter p. 4 Vol. 3, No. 1 – January 2009
Enter the Volmer amphibian, better known by its previous owner’s obnoxious name for it,
“Buck’s Duck.” While Scott was on deployment, my car actually lived in the garage, until ‘it’ appeared.
Ah, the work! (I was happier scooping horse poop from the barn!) The wings were stripped down to the
spars because there were broken ribs, and then relegated to the hay loft to await covering and painting.
The fuselage was re-skinned, wood was replaced on the belly, a new rudder was constructed, and the rot
in the tail was attended to. More brain cells were certainly destroyed in the process; if not from the
gluing of the fuselage, then the covering and doping of the wings and rudder.
I remember a Dremel tool that went clean through Scott’s hand, and having managed to stop the
squirting, we trundled off to the clinic at NAS Oceana. The duty corpsman demanded to take a look
before the doctor arrived, and despite warnings that it was a “gusher”, he removed the bandage and had
something akin to an out-of-control oil well on his hands. And face.
It did fly and it was great fun. There were squadron parties on the banks of the Elizabeth River in
Norfolk, and lots of airplane rides. Many boaters thought the plane had crashed and often called for
help. The most charming, however, was the fellow on his sailboat who assessed our takeoff on the
Chesapeake and raised a toast to us!
The Duck, never able to quite shed its name, moved to D.C. with us in 1987 and nested in yet
another garage. Scott made a new Plexiglas canopy, changed the landing gear, and did a variety of other
modifications. The most fun was flying over to his father’s house on the Fairlee Creek (Eastern Shore)
and amusing the neighbors. And along about this time, the Bellanca was “found” at Manassas Airport,
being sold by an out-of-a-job, newly divorced Eastern Airlines captain. Scott was a prime target, as he’s
had an affinity for Bellancas since he was a teenager. Needless to say, it needed a lot of work. Our son,
Chris, declared that we wouldn’t fly in a “funky old ragbag” like that…until he actually flew it and
eventually used it to get his instrument rating and commercial license. He still loves flying it.
In 1989, we moved to Puerto Rico, and the Duck found a hangar home at Shannon Airport
(Fredericksburg). Chris, then in Virginia Beach, eventually became the caretaker for the Bellanca
during our absence. I’m fuzzy about the sequence of events, but I do remember we had a hard time
getting it back from him when we moved to back to the Annapolis area of Maryland!
The Bellanca and the Duck followed us to Wisconsin; the Bellanca flew, as it should, but the
Duck was relegated to a trailer ride. The Duck found a new owner in suburban Chicago, so we finally
Not much of a story, I’m afraid, but a lot of memories. It can be viewed, for spouses, as a
cautionary tale. Or, as I think, the adventure continues! By the way, today I asked our daughter,
Samantha, if she remembered any funny stories from those days of airplane building. She thought for a
minute and said, “Nope. It all seemed pretty normal to me.”
Odds and Ends from the Editor
Many thanks to all who contributed to this month’s Flyer!
The end result is so much better when more people share their EAA CHAPTER 1426
aviation experiences, so I’ll be cornering a few more of you for Meetings: 2nd Thursdays at 7 PM at Twin County Airport
next month – crackers, cookies, wrenches, or whatever it takes. (KHLX) located at:
560 Hangar Road, Hillsville, VA 24343
By the way, our good friend Jim Dukeman sent this web site Website: www.EAA1426.chillsnet.org
about the restoration of a PBY Catalina for those interested in For more information, contact:
Naval aircraft: http://home.earthlink.net/~cutawaypby/ Bob Steele, Chapter President – firstname.lastname@example.org
Newsletter Editor: Sharyl Walker – email@example.com
Happy New Year!
Hope to see you all on the 8th!
EAA Chapter 1426 Newsletter p. 5 Vol. 3, No. 1 – January 2009