B-29 Pilot Visits Marion
Almost 4,000 B-29 Superfortress aircraft were made by 1946, when production stopped. Many years later there are only two are airworthy and many of the pilots who once flew of these aircraft are now gone. The pilot who was a corporate pilot and flew B-29's on the side was gracious enough to tell us his story. Starting off in the military he flew the KC-97, which was a similar version to the B-29 except in had a larger, double decked, fuselage. After retirement he was asked by the CAF to fly their B-29 'Doc' and remains one of the chief pilot's for them and flies around the country doing various airshows and flyovers. He also spoke of an event happening this year at Oshkosh where both B-29's will be doing formation photograph missions.
Chinook CH-47 Stops in Marion for Overnight Stay
With winds gusting up to 38 knots the pilots braved the conditions in attempt to land and fill up on fuel. The pilots from Montana had flown commercially all the way to Vermont to pick up a retired Vermont National Guard Chinook CH-47 that they had bought to use for firefighting in the mountains of Montana and all over the Western United States. The pilots stopped overnight due to the high winds and incoming severe weather. They left early the next morning and attempted to make their way back to their homestate of Montana where they plan to begin using the helicopter for what the crew said is going to be a tough fire season this year. Due to the high winds the rotors needed to be tied down prevent them from spinning and eventually causing the helicopter to get out of control.
British Pilots Go on Discovery Flight
Steve Ramsden came into the airport to discuss taking a Discovery Flight. He is from the United Kingdom. He is trying to get his helicopter license, and he already has his pilot license. His son, who also came in, is an engineer. Ramsden and his son talked about how if you land at an airport in the UK there are several charges. They have to pay to land, around $45, and to do touch and go’s it cost $25. They fly out of London Gatwick airport, LGW, which is the second busiest airport in the United Kingdom. It was interesting to know that they were charged more for basic flying practices.
Marion High School Flight School
In the coming year Marion High School will have a flight school at the airport. Last year they had an introductory class that taught history, structure, and basic ground school. They also made a wind tunnel. This year they have an intro class funded by the AOPA. There are two sides to this program. There is a flight part which meets in the morning, and a mechanic part that meets in the afternoon. In this class they will also learn a little about the different jobs that are involved in aviation. In the future Marion wishes to have a drone program, where at the completion of the course students will have their drone certificate.
Scott Simpson, who teaches the aviation operations flight class, received his Bachelors from Taylor University. He then got his masters at Anderson University. He had taught at Alexandria, and is now instructing at Marion High School; were he has taught there for 14 years. In total he has taught for 31 years. In the past he has taught math and science, but now he will teach in the new aviation school at the airport. He will teach a class here and one back at the high school. He says that he is excited to teach aviation, because it brings a new hop to his step.