BlueSky Business Aviation News

Ashley Bowen Cook, vice president, at Greteman Group, a marketing communications agency based in Wichita, the Air Capital.

Celebrating Aviationís Own

e shouldnít have to continually rationalize and promote the value of aviation. But we do. One of the best ways Iíve found: celebrating those who make a positive and lasting difference.

Iíve had a front-row seat to aviation excellence as the Wichita Aero Club Trophy Selection Committee chair for the past five years. This year, we had 15 stellar candidates. I found it both humbling and inspiring to pore over the nominations. These nominees have made so many contributions over the years and had such an impact on our industry. Aviation relies on R&D, innovation and uncovering the next big thing. But itís good to pause. To reflect. And to congratulate.

Sky of Dreams

Each year the Wichita Aero Club selects a trophy recipient whose contribution can be within the calendar year or represent a cumulative career of significant contributions. It can go to a living person, group, or organization connected to the Air Capital. Past recipients include . . . .

2010: Velma Wallace.
2011: Jeff Turner (second from right) and Spirit AeroSystems. 2012: John OíLeary (center) and Airbus Americas Engineering.
2013: Russ Meyer (second from right). 2014: Al Higdon (third from right).

And the Winner Is . . .

The 2015 trophy was announced at our recent October Wichita Aero Club meeting and will be celebrated more extensively at our January gala. This yearís honoree: the Docís Friends Restoration Team. This WWII-era, Wichita-built, Boeing B-29 Superfortress has quite a story, which we've shared in an earlier issue of BlueSky (Rollout for Doc B-29 Superfortress). Itís captivated the hearts of those diligently working to restore Doc to flying condition.

Photo: Ricardo Reitmeyer.

For the past 18 years, Restoration Team volunteers have donated thousands of hours of labor, expertise and resources. Theyíve carried off something of a miracle. What was once a disassembled, nearly unrecognizable hulk left in the desert as a bombing-range target now gleams with promise. Indeed, it is on track to fly yet this year. It will be one of only two flyable B-29s left on the planet.

What Generation Gap?

It isnít often that a cause appeals to young and old. Docís Friends does. Its volunteers range from boundless-energy millennials to veterans in wheelchairs (who also seem to have an endless reservoir of energy). Docís Friends exemplifies the Wichita Aero Clubís mission of networking and education. Itís most deserving of the clubís efforts to elevate those who make aviation great.

Jump on the Doc Bandwagon

In an effort to raise funds needed for fuel, maintenance, insurance and more; Docís Friends launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. It has until October 30 to reach its $137,500 goal. If they donít achieve that, the way Kickstarter works, they get none of it. To learn more about how you can get involved with Docís Friends and support its educational mission, visit or the Kickstarter campaign at And if travels bring you to Wichita next January 23, join us at the gala so you can fete Docís Friends in person.

Gather details and secure tickets here:

Group photos Courtesy of the Wichita Aero Club.

©BlueSky Business Aviation News | 22nd October 2015 | Issue #337
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