Lakeland, James Ray, Cubs discussed on EAA's The Green Dot - An Aviation Podcast


Pick the speed up your number one big lingering dot. Not God got. Hello, and welcome to the green dot as podcast for anyone, and everyone who loves aviation, the green dot sponsored by GE aviation. My name is Hal Brian, and I'm as senior editor for print and digital content and publications. And sitting here next to me. I'm Chris, Henry. I'm the aviation museum programs coordinator. And today, we are joined in studio by a guest someone is very kind to take some time out of his his world wind visit to EA. Please welcome. Mike Junius, who is president of the lakeland aero club group and Florida's doing some really, really pretty interesting stuff around aviation, and education. Hey, thank you, Doug. Good afternoon or really, really glad to have you here, Mike. Appreciate it. We understand that, that if we really want people to know who you are. We just say Mike Z that's correct. Right. Because no one can pronounce my name spelled the way it's pronounced so confusing. I have a first name for a last name. So I get used to be called all sorts of things. Well, let's let's get a little bit of your history before we dive into the, the aero club in the chapter and all that, Mike. How do that was your first introduction aviation? I'll my first aircraft ride. I was a little kid. My grandfather was worked for the port authority of New York, and I was probably four or five years old. And he got me a ride off of helicopter off the top of a skyscraper in New York, and I barely remember it, although I've seen the video of it. If you're moving wasn't video at those days, but my aunt Betty learned to fly in nineteen forty seven got her pilot's license not for some heroic war effort, because she had acute flight instructor who she ended up marrying, and she used to take my mom flying when she was a little girl. And, and when I was about, oh, I'd say ten or so. She would tell me all these stories about flying and they flew seaplanes planes and cubs on floats. And I built my first stick and tissue. Cub balsa cub model with her. So she's the one that got. Me into into. Wow. And so was she taking flying as well at that time she wasn't flying anymore, but the aviation bug had hit, and then I in high school went into force ROTC, and we got to fly some things with that and started learning to fly when I was a junior in high school. My father wasn't into airplanes at all my mother was I solo d- airplane before my dad would let me solo the family car. So here I am pedal into gear or on ten speed. So I could go fly by myself in an airplane. That's fantastic. So long your your career. How did you end up being a part of chapter four fifty four? Well. I've been a member of EA chapter several of them. In fact, at one point, I was a member of three or four of them. So I was going to more meetings than alcohol ick. Much healthier addiction. Yes, indeed. Well, probably every bit is expensive anyway. True. But in our area in lakeland, there are year chapters within about a twenty five mile radius. And so for a while I was base over plant city, so that chapter and then the one that Vandenberg, so I kind of floated around now that I'm based at lakeland I got involved with four fifty four, which was the chapter credited with founding, Sunan fund, which originally wasn't he a event. Right. And anyway, it like many chapters had a lot of older guys, and they weren't doing very much and this year, I kinda got the put up or shut up speech because I was complaining about the chapter a lot and. One of the founding members said that I needed to run for election. I thought okay. I'll do that. I didn't think I had his chance of winning. And lo and behold, they didn't even have to do a recount. It's florida. No, hanging chads. So here I am I came up here. I've been a member since ninety six I think, and so came up here to leadership academy in January that was fantastic. So for somebody in snow and probably thirty years just enough. It wasn't one of your your monumental are famous blizzards, by the way, we're recording this on April twenty fifth and we're expecting snow this coming Saturday, my flights out Saturday afternoon. So I'm just hoping that I can beat that in. But if I'm stuck his tongue, I promise, as, as we're getting the snow blower back out of the garage, one more time this season. We will feel really sorry for you. Heading back to Florida. I promise you that. So. Ben at the chapter now for while you've got a leadership position in the chapter. What tell us about the beginning, what led to the formation of the lakeland aeroclub is a as a separate entity. Okay. So the is a public high school, located on the lakeland airport on the sun fun campus. It started out with about sixty students or so in one, a son and funds old buildings they'd converted into classrooms, and it was part of a workforce academy initiative with the public school system to try to get kids teach the cores skills, you know, the stem skills through things that they were interested in aviation was one of them, James Ray came to sun fund was brought there by Rick Garcia from Gulf Coast avionics, who's been that guy who's been supporting youth aviation activities for as long as I can remember I, he bought Mr. Ray around, he saw this thing and built a high school. Fifty three thousand square foot three story. Those are you go to sun and fun to go to the forums. That's in that building. So it's a public aviation high school. So all the electives are aviation based will part of that deal was this is how our version of the Ray scholarship started was the money that the school board was paying in rant went into the flight training scholarships. Oh, wow. And so we started putting those out into two thousand twelve two thousand thirteen on started putting them out, onesie Tuesday couple of kids getting interested getting the bug and today, we've done ninety one teenage private pilots with over a hundred fifteen solo d-. Wow. And there are currently thirty five teenagers in our scholarship program taking flight training right now. So you're seventeen years old and your junior in high school. And you've got a private outside since what he do next. Some history decided that the best thing to Bill time in was cubs because they're inexpensive to fly, and they'd require stick and rudder skills, and they're, they're really slow you're building time. Who cares how long it takes? So he donated a cub that needed restoring to the lakeland code the airplane was built in nineteen fifty three by the piper aircraft corporation for the Turkish air force. So it went straight from piper to Turkey where it trained. Turkish Ehrman for years. Wow. About fifteen years ago, the Turkish air force retired that fleet airplanes and Americans went over and bought him by the container full only to find out that they never had an airworthiness certificate from the United States, interesting so that we just buy a whole bunch of experimental whole bunch of experimental airplane. So the choices were made experimental. Sell it to somebody who didn't know it had that problem. And we were that entity and, or you could make it meet its regional type design and provided you had an FAA office that was willing to work with you. And we're blessed to have a wonderful physio in Orlando worked with the micro office and after three years after schooling weekends the teenagers got its first US air worthiness certificate, April second of two thousand fifteen and then we started flying it here from lakeland. So the airplane is flown from lakeland to Oshkosh now. Three times if flew in the air show in two thousand fifteen if you go back and look, there was a little demonstration with one of our policies. Now captain flying RJ for endeavor. So it's been flown here. Three times and the oldest person to flat. Here was nineteen. Well, that's that makes me feel really old. But that's that is just that is just patacula and I had never I never heard about like the Turkish using cubs, of course, it makes sense. But, but interesting that they were just as you said, with no type certificate, or actually, if you look up a piper LA, teen. See you'll find out that they built a bunch of them. But most of them went into Europe somewhere interesting. So they were there, Germany had some a whole bunch of different countries out. And they weren't very popular here. Wow. Now you've mentioned missing James raise being figuring very prominently in, in the efforts that you've got going in lakeland. And of course we've launched. You know, in partnership with the foundation, we've launched our own scholarship program that we're starting to administer through other chapters around the country and, and in so far. In fact, I had just looked at the numbers and now they're escaping me. But I know that forty three forty three total right now. They've given out that's terrific on glad you came came armed with that, that number James Ray, of course, also benefactor today in terms of our, Eric Hatemi the lodge over there, and that whole program. I don't like asking you to speak for somebody else. But you have a sense for what was it in him that made him? So passionate about

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