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Flying in Wichita

Feb 20 ’08

View of the Cessna factory from approach of a landing

This was my third trip to Mid Continental Airport and believe it or not, I did not even have to request for progressive taxi anymore. I was able to taxi back and forth from the active to the Cessna factory or to Yingling Aviation ramp without stops and figuring out which way to go.

It was a great feeling to see all different jets parked in the ramp like they were Cessna 150s during our 100 flying machine attempt in Clark last February.

I was in Wichita to do the Acceptance Flight on Grand Caravan SN.1000 after we have modified it from a hauler to a personal plane of my Thai friend Supap

We configured the Panel with the most sophisticated Avionics and retrofitted the interior with executive configuration complete with toilet and bar.

Chelton EFIS, Garmin++

Because of being the 1000th Caravan and because of the modification we did with the Avionics and Interior, AOPA in America and most of the Cessna executives came over to see how the airplane looked like when it was completed. I had the opportunity to meet Cessna’s Vice President Roger Whyte and VP for Propeller division John Doleman. We usually see their pictures in the Caravan newsletters or the Cessna publication called Directions. They invited us for lunch at the Citation Center and we likewise had a “Thank You” cocktails for everyone. In Wichita, everyone talked, worked, and thought airplanes. A chat with either the executives or the mechanics was always interesting.

Julie Boatman who is an associate editor of AOPA magazine interviewed Supap. I promised to trade newsletters with her and they are always interested in what is happening in the Philippines.

Also met Jessica Myers who is a manager for media relations for Cessna. She has now been forwarding news items from Cessna to me and will be including this in our newsletters.

Cessna assigned an excellent and very popular pilot to do the Caravan transition with us. He was America’s Instructor of the Year last year and we understand why after flying with him. Kirby Ortega was extremely good and pleasant pilot- if he was able to stand flying with Supap and myself for a couple of days, then he must really be good and maybe even very brave!

Joy with Kirby Ortega- voted best instructor
Pilot of America in year 2002

Joy with Kirby Ortega — voted best Instructor Pilot of America in 2002

We got tired of flying around Kansas, doing the usual simulator exercises, and having steak lunches at the different airports. We were able to convince Kirby to do something different one weekend. We flew to Leadville airport in Colorado, which was the highest airport in north America-9,927 ft! Nice FBO with a lot of souvenirs for touring pilots like us. Lunch was in another FBO in Denver and we did about 8 hours in one day. Hard work and without pressurization, we were all beat at the end of the day.

I was ready to go back to Manila and have my rice and dried fish and beach weather.

Caravan 1000 will be at Air Ads Hangar Easter Sunday if you wish to take a look at the airplane.