Shockingly enough, I’ve been a “good influence” on young people once or twice.
Krista is one of the few female members of the High Country Aviation Workshop for Kids (HAWK) in Mack Mesa, Colorado. I interviewed her in 2017 for an article I wrote for EAA Sport Aviation magazine about the amazing work that this non-profit organization does getting kids involved in aviation.
I visited her home airport a couple years ago and she came along in the backseat when I took the A-Star up for a whirl. She shadowed me at Oshkosh in 2018 and 2019, getting a behind the scenes peek of EAA AirVenture media. You can imagine my shock when people kept asking if she was my daughter! (I guess there IS a resemblance.)
I’m not her mama, but I am SO PROUD of her shiny new private pilot certificate! Her voice, in the final paragraph of the story I wrote:
“The sky is such a different place; it’s like a different world,” she said. “You get freedom that you don’t get anywhere else.” Krista thinks she would like to become airline pilot. “I can’t imagine myself flying those huge airplanes, but I think I could do it,” she said. “I have no doubt that I’ll be able to become a pilot because of HAWK. This is the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
As posted by Beth on Facebook 18 August 2020
Reposted on HAWKaviators.org with permission.
HIGH-COUNTRY AVIATION WORKSHOP FOR KIDS
Also Known As
Mack Mesa Airport, Mack, Colorado
GREETINGS, members, donors and supporters around the USA…. Please accept our apologies for the long gap in our communications with you. Personnel turnover, relocation of our facilities to one 3-hangar plus classroom configuration and, of course the Pandemic and its related 3-month shutdown have all combined to interfere with our schedule, and it’s time to get things back to normal. A lot has happened in the last year, and here’s a thumbnail summary for you:
NEW GENERAL MANAGER
The loss of our General Manager Eddie Clements in 2018 created (to no one’s surprise) a significant negative impact on our leadership group. HAWK’s corporate officers shared duties and did their best to cover for this loss of talent and commitment, and we have now transitioned to a new General Manager. Tim Allen (and his father) were long-time friends of Eddie, and long-time members of the local aviation community. As an owner of Allen Industries (machine and production services), Tim brings impressive skills in designing and creating with multiple materials to build, repair and restore our aircraft. Our Junior Members are learning a lot from this craftsman and aviation mentor. HAWK’s Board is much relieved it has filled this critical position, and considers this appointment an important first step in our return to normal operations.
HAWK’s Chief Pilot and Flight Instructor Sterling Hurst now has some key backup. Retired American Airlines Captain Bruce Erickson (ATP, MEI, CFI/CFI-G) has joined HAWK. He is giving flight lessons and has assisted Junior Members with scholarship applications. HAWK President Bryan Miller has completed the aviation degree program at Colorado Mesa University and now also holds a CFII rating, and is providing instruction within HAWK. All three also assist our Ground School Instructor Michelle Hobbs with the classes we hold 2 Saturdays each month.
HOT AIR BALLOON PILOT
When we lost Eddie, we also lost our only licensed hot air balloon pilot. HAWK Member James Mullin, who worked for many years as a balloon ground crew volunteer with other organizations, has completed balloon pilot school and is now HAWK’s pilot. James is in the process of accumulating hours and proficiency. The kids love the balloon, and can hardly wait.
The Ray Aviation Scholarship Fund is a program funded by the Ray Foundation, managed by the Experimental Aircraft Association (national) and administered through the EAA Chapter network. This program provides up to $10,000 to deserving youths for their flight training expenses. HAWK flight instructor Bruce Erickson took the initiative to get the local EAA Chapter 800 approved for this program, HAWK Member Randy Owen was selected to administer the funds and supervise the student, and HAWK Junior Member William was approved as its first Scholar. Initial funding has been received, and William’s lessons have begun. If EAA and the Ray Foundation continue this program in years after 2020, HAWK has a ready pipeline of aspiring future participants.
MOTOR GLIDER GRANT
While working through the Scholarship paperwork, Bruce noticed the Ray Foundation also gives grants for other worthy aviation causes. As a motor glider owner and pilot, Bruce long believed that motor gliders would be great for student instruction – the 80HP Rotax motor only burns 3 to 4 gallons per hour (car gas) and students can begin instruction a year earlier than in conventional aircraft. Flying a glider also teaches students much about weather, reading terrain and aerodynamics. Under Bruce’s direction, HAWK applied to the Ray Foundation for funding for a used Pipistrel Virus motor glider for student instruction, and the Ray Foundation has generously approved this project. These gliders are much less expensive if purchased in Europe, and then shipped to the USA and reassembled. This is the plan. However, the Pandemic has stopped transportation to Europe (to find the one we want) from the USA for the immediate future. We are eager to get past the Pandemic and get this project under way.
Early in 2018, Ron and Gayle Huddleston very generously donated a beautiful several years old Lightning (dealer-assist assembled from a kit by Arion) to HAWK. Since we take Junior Members to the EAA AirVenture event every summer in Oshkosh, WI, we decided to exhibit the Lightning there to sell it (the Lighting is no beginner’s aircraft for our student programs). Unfortunately, the nose gear collapsed upon landing at Oshkosh, and the plane ended up in the repair shop there for the fall and winter. There, the motor was removed and sent to Jabiru for inspection and other damage repaired. We got the plane back better than new (Thank You Falcon Insurance!) The Lightning was sold and delivered it to its new owner near Phoenix last November. The proceeds of that sale were a lifesaver as HAWK worked through reduced contributions revenue this year while hangar rents and fixed costs like insurance were uninterrupted obligations.
Another consequence of our loss of Eddie Clements is that he held the A&P/IA certifications necessary to rebuild certified aircraft. Without those credentials, HAWK decided to abandon the certified aircraft restoration projects then underway, and/or waiting in line. Both of these were donated by HAWK Member Russel Franke. The 1947 Luscombe N1338B was sold to a gentleman who needed its wings to repair the Luscombe he inherited from his father which he had ground looped in Michigan. The Cessna 172 N13245 had been stripped to a bare shell, and was sold for parts. Selling these projects enabled HAWK to vacate one hangar and reduce its monthly rental expense.
DAKOTA HAWK N280DH
The Fisher Dakota Hawk N280DH, restored by HAWK’s members as our first project and displayed in the Youth-Build area of the AirVenture 2016 event in Oshkosh (flown there and back by HAWK member retired flight surgeon and Brigadier General Don Coleman), cannot be used in our flight training programs because we cannot find an insurance company which will insure experimental aircraft for student flight instruction. This fabric over wood frame plane developed a leak on one wing fuel tank, and the wing had to be opened to do the repair. Closing it up has been a challenge without Eddie’s expertise with fabric. We are close to finishing this, and this plane may also be sold to create room for future build projects.
Zenith 701 N838CP
This aircraft has been the current HAWK build project for about 2 years, and is nearing completion. Project Manager Pat Wheling (retired career pilot with NOAA) has begun discussions with a DAR from Denver regarding paperwork and documentation for this project with multiple builders in its history. It came to HAWK after initial assembly by students of the Aeronautical Engineering Dept at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. HAWK has changed the motor from a Continental to a Rotax, and repaired transport damage to one wing and the tail, and modified the fuel tanks and flight controls and finished a myriad of items for completion. With its Dedalus gravity-slat STOL wings, it will be a fun plane to fly when finished, perhaps by year-end.
ZENITH 601 KIT
A partially completed Zenith 601 kit was donated to HAWK in 2016 and later years. It came with a Subaru motor modified for aviation, which we sold and used the proceeds to buy the Rotax motor for the above Zenith 701. The Continental C85 motor which came mounted on the Zenith 701 is a better fit for this 601, and will be installed in this project, which we expect to start in early 2021.
NEW SONEX KIT
A builder in Cheyenne, WY has made a partially completed Sonex kit available to HAWK for a price we could not refuse. Two of our members have Sonex aircraft, so this is a craft with which we are quite familiar. It comes with a Jabiru motor mount, but no motor. Coincidentally, a couple years ago another builder in Green River, WY gave us a Jabiru motor with 500 to 600 hours on it. We hope to make an aircraft from these two transactions. Since AirVenture 2020 has been cancelled due to the Pandemic, our Junior Members missed their out-of-town trip this summer. As a substitute trip, General Manager Tim Allen is this month taking a half dozen of them in the bus on the overnight trip (including camping at the airport) to pickup this kit and bring it home.
Junior Member and Student Pilot Christa soloed on June 12 and completed her long cross-country on June 23….. we knew she was a natural!…..
HAWK’s new summer hours are Saturday mornings 9:00 am to 1:00 pm (we still provide lunch), except for the 3rd Saturday of every month, when EAA800 Chapter uses our facilities for their monthly meeting…….
HAWK has new mailing address: P.O. Box 321, Loma, CO 81524 (we still accept donations using the PayPal Donate button on the website at HAWKAVIATORS.org)…….
Junior Member Trevor is now working with our webmaster Lyle Bingham to update our web pages – you should see improvements soon…….
A HAWK member wishing to remain anonymous has donated $1,500 for a scholarship to pay $150 for the FAA written test fee for each of 10 HAWK student pilots….. Thank You, Sir!
Lastly, as Eddie used to say” “And, the Build continues……….”
“While we can’t gather in Oshkosh, we can still share The Spirit of Aviation. EAA Spirit of Aviation Week on July 21-25 will celebrate the entire aviation community by showcasing the spectrum of flight in a virtual way. Share your favorite aviation experiences on social using #EAAtogether!”
As four planes approached the Mack Mesa Airport Saturday night in a V-formation, one broke rank, pulling up while the other three continued on.
The “missing man” formation was a worthy tribute for Eddie Clements, a man who dedicated much of the last years of life to educating youth in aviation. Shortly after, a trumpeter belted out “Amazing Grace” in what was to be a fitting end to Clements’ memorial.
The only problem was attendees just had too much to say about the man.
Around 100 people attended a service for Clements at the airport Saturday to say goodbye to their friend, husband, father and mentor. Clements died July 22 at age 69 while attending … more
Founder and general manager of High Country Aviation Workshop for Kids (HAWK) leaves behind extensive education legacy
By Beth E. Stanton
Eddie Clements, EAA 841022, a founder and general manager of the High Country Aviation Workshop for Kids (HAWK) at Mack Mesa Airport in Colorado, died unexpectedly on July 21 shortly after arriving at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 with the HAWK students and mentors. He was doing what he loved until the end: flying airplanes and passing along his passion for aviation to the next generation.
HAWK Aviators (whose story was featured in the April 2018 issue of EAA Sport Aviation, “Spreading Their Wings”) is a nonprofit organization that is the brainchild and extension of EAA Chapter 800. HAWK mentors expose youths to multiple facets of aviation: building, repairing, designing, and flying airplanes and balloons. Participants earn flight time in exchange for assisting aircraft maintenance or building. “The reason why we are where we are today is because we had Eddie who put in so much time and effort,” volunteer John Caldwell said.
Eddie’s aviation career spanned decades and a variety of capacities, creating a vast network of contacts he was able to draw upon for resources to help support the HAWK program. His enthusiasm for hot air balloons was all consuming, and he competed and instructed in them for more than 30 years. Eddie recited the Balloonist’s Prayer to his passengers countless times over the years. Now those whose lives he touched say it for him:
The winds have welcomed you with softness.
The sun has blessed you with its warm hands.
You have flown so high and so well
that God has joined you in your laughter
and set you gently back again
into the loving arms of Mother Earth.
Eddie’s son, Tres, was one of the reasons for the founding of HAWK. Tres, a former Scaled Composites employee, owns an aircraft engineering firm in San Luis Obispo, California, and is the pilot and caretaker of Burt Rutan’s Boomerang. In an interview, Eddie said, “I started HAWK because I watched Tres grow up around aviation and watched the effect it had on him. If I can pass the good aviation does to other kids, then HAWK is a success. I have had a front row seat as to how aviation improves kids’ lives.”
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