Colorado group aims to interest young adults in aviation
By James Wynbrandt
July 27, 2017 – What does it take to get youngsters involved in aviation? Simply the opportunity to do it affordably, according to Eddie Clements, founder and general manager of High Country Aviation Workshop for Kids (HAWK). Eddie and seven of his young HAWK members arrived at Wittman Regional Airport flying a group of aircraft, which includes a Cherokee 140 the kids restored themselves.
Based at Mack Mesa Airport in Mack, Colorado, HAWK’s goal is simple: Introduce the youths of Mesa County to the world of aviation. The group, formed three years ago, rebuilds and restores aircraft, and then members fly them to earn their pilot certificates. Every Saturday, HAWK holds workshops where young members spend the day working on aircraft. Along with the Cherokee, the seven-aircraft fleet includes an airworthy Dakota Hawk, while a Velocity, Zenith 601 and 701, and Cessna 172 are undergoing restoration.
The group also has two hot air balloons. HAWK works closely with EAA Chapter 800, whose members help the kids refine their building techniques. A&Ps oversee all of the work done on the aircraft. For each three hours of work a HAWK member puts in, they receive one hour of free aircraft use for flight instruction. Braden Hobbs, who has about 25 hours and has recently soloed, said he’s spent just $66 dollars for use of an aircraft since he started flying, plus $1,500 in fuel. Braden, 16, flew in a recently completed RV-14 with owner and builder Bill Marvel.
The HAWK group, seven youngsters strong, is camped in Row 86 in the Vintage area, with the Cherokee, N9606W, that sports a beautiful new blue and white livery, applied gratis by West Star Aviation at its Grand Junction, Colorado, paint shop. All materials the nonprofit 501(c)3 HAWK uses are donated, and lunch is provided during their Saturday sessions.
Meanwhile, it’s not only kids that the program inspires. After Logan Boe joined, his mother — a lapsed pilot — was inspired to get back into flying. She recently purchased a Cessna 172, with the assistance of HAWK. As a result, Logan and his mom flew to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh this year in the Cessna. “I’m learning how to rivet, and learning how to preflight,” Logan said. “It’s just such a great educational program; anyone into aviation should participate in it.”
My motto is-better late than never since it is now July
As always the Mack Airport Saturdays are busy. EAA Chapter 800 and HAWK shared the duties of feeding breakfast and lunch to the pilots of the Fat Tire fly in May 2017. The weather was perfect for the fly in and there were airplanes from all over the west competing in the short takeoff and landing competition. The weather was good and the flying excelent . Steve Henry of Wild West Aircraft took home the bragging rights with his usual precision flying style in Yee Haw. He has lots of videos on the web of his exploits in the airplane- he can sure fly it.
Braden Hobbs in now our webmaster and is doing an awesome job of keeping the hawkaviators.org website up to date so watch it for HAWK happenings. This has really relieved my time to work on airplanes and not type newsletters. Braden keeps the sight current so HAWK’s happenings can be followed on it. Not bad for a 16 year old. As a side note, Braden also helps teach Solidworks at his High School while building airplanes, helping mentor in the shop, and flying any aircraft he gets access to.
HAWK is taking 7 kids, including Braden, to Oshkosh this year (Braden’s 2nd trip). EAA 800 has reserved 2 campsites in Camp Scholler and HAWK will be sharing it with them. Come by for a visit and meet the kids. Last year Charley Becker EAA National donated Oshkosh passes to EAA 800 for our young eagles since we had the HAWK Fisher Products Dakota Hawk the kids put together on display in the teen build fly area. (Thanks Charley Becker for the passes last year). The plan this year to get kids passes was to take the HAWK balloon out for the glows but most of the HAWK kids are flying out in airplanes and none of the airplanes going have trailer hitches on them. The one pickup going will be loaded with camping gear and is going on to New York to pick up a glider and trailer so the balloon to Oshkosh idea has been shelved. It would take some real skill and lots of good winds to fly it to the show – Maybe next year. So far, it looks like there will be at least 5 airplanes from our area going to Oshkosh. Including HAWK’s Cherokee. Braden snagged a ride with Bill Marvel in his new, just finished, RV-14. (Lucky Kid). For a 16 year old, Braden has flown balloons, and all sorts of airplanes including conventional geared airplanes. Heck, 2 years ago he could not even spell pilot now he are one!. I would bet he has a private balloon pilot rating before he gets his fixed wing rating.
The Cherokee N9606W has an awesome custom paint job donated to HAWK by WestStar and the paint shop employees. (Thanks Mark, Adam, Eric, Kenny G and all the other WestStar employees that made the paint job unreal). Look for it at Oshkosh. Like last year, the Cherokee will be used to give HAWK kids instruction as it transitions to the fly-in. The HAWK logo, Weststar logo and sponsor list still need to be applied to finish the paint job. WestStar’s crew went so far as to polish the spinner, the cowl hinges, and the stainless cowl latches. The airplane was stripped, etched, Alodined, primed with epoxy primer, base coated, finish coated, clear coated, hand sanded with 2000 grit sandpaper then 3000 grit sandpaper, then polished until the metal looks like plastic. The control surfaces were balanced by Adam before they were reinstalled. Anyone that has seen the airplane cannot believe the finish.
When the airplane was Alodined the Micro AeroDynamics VG’s were installed so they could be painted at the same time the airplane was. (They perform awesome. In stall the airplane has full aileron authority. Also the stall speed was greatly reduced. Thanks Anne Brogan president of Micro AeroDynamics)! They made a new airplane out of the old Cherokee. At the same time the Cherokee had the Power Flow exhaust, donated by Don Coleman, installed. Power Flow gave HAWK a deduction on the exhaust and that helped HAWK secure it. Power Flow also donates $100.00 to HAWK for each exhaust sold by me. So far there has been 3 exhausts sold, including the Cherokees exhaust. Anyone needing a new exhaust is welcome to contact HAWK. The Power Flow is one quiet exhaust and does make the engine perform better. Aviall (A Boeing company) has become a prime supporter of HAWK and supplied all the new wing seals and other piper parts as they are a Piper dealer. Thanks Eric with Aviall for all your support! Aircraft Door Seal, LLC donated a new padded instrument panel cover to the airplane so the interior will look better. (Thanks Steve and Sara Brown). Sensenich Technologies donated new prop bolts, decals and T Shirts for the kids, to the project. WestStar cleaned and repainted the prop with the paint required by the Sensenich type certificate. WestStar employees wanted to polish the prop but could not because of the type certificate. Jerry F installed the KX-155, and Icom Radio Donated by Roy Evarts (it was originally going in the Dakota Hawk but is now in the Cherokee. (Thanks Roy-Roy is the one that donated the Dakota Hawk to HAWK). The Cherokee now has a decent radio stack, plus an audio panel Jerry found in HAWK stuff, Jerry also installed a good intercom including one headphone plugin for the back seat. (Gulf Coast Avionics exchanged the WestStar donated 28 volt KX165 for the 12 volt KX 155 at Sun and Fun this year). It is Awesome to have a former aircraft radio shop owner in HAWK- thanks Jerry) The Cherokee is one nice airplane. Not bad for an airplane that HAWK has about $500.00 in so far.
N838CP, The Zenith 701 is coming along nicely. Pat W has taken that job on and is doing an excellent job. The partially donated 912 rotax engine is about ready to install- HAWK just needs an engine mount. The Continental C90 engine is going on the Zenith 601. Hopefully the 701 will make Oshkosh next year.
N13245, the HAWK 172 is now in pieces and the wrinkled firewall is almost out. This has been William, Logan, Jake and Solomon’s project. Solomon is one of the best 11 year old riveters I have ever seen- when he drills a rivet it is always centered and he is very careful to only drill the head off so he does not elongate the holes. He did an awesome job on his tool box build and it shows in his work on the 172, at the end of the work sessions Solomon does not want to go home- watch for him at Oshkosh 2017.
There are lots of new kids that have signed on with HAWK and every Saturdays’ build sessions are very busy. Logan is learning a lot and is starting to be a backup mentor for Braden. He should solo in August as he turns 16- Logan is flying to Oshkosh in the family 172 with his mom Shay B as pilot. Shay purchased the 172 (Rosies Angel) a few months ago and has gone from a rusty pilot to a confident pilot thanks to HAWK and its instructors. Jaden worked with Braden at WestStar on the Cherokee paint and also helps out in the shop along with William. It is nice to have the older kids mentoring the younger kids. I do not think anyone in HAWK would have believed that there are so many kids interested in aviation. HAWK has some turnover in kids but not a lot. Most of it happens because the parents move out of the area. On Saturdays when the weather permits, both the HAWK airplanes, The Dakota Hawk and Cherokee, are busy flying Young Eagles. The Cherokee is usually busy giving instruction or rides to the kids. Sterling is really Sterling as he loves flying the kids, and now is not embarrassed to fly the Cherokee as it does not look like an escape from a junkyard. Herman Allmaras, the person who gave HAWK the Cherokee, got the first rides in his old redone airplane. Both he and his wife Jean were really impressed with how it is turning out. There is more work to be done, but it is getting there. At Least there is absolutely no corrosion in it- that is surprising for a nearly 50 year old airplane.
The Mack Airport 10CO really comes to life every Saturday- If you are in the area, check out what is happening at the best airport in the Grand Valley. Heck, HAWK will even treat you to lunch. (If you get there before the kids).
HAWK’s website is now set up to receive donations through Pay Pal.
Just go to www.hawkaviators.org and click on the “Donate” tab, and then on that page scroll down to the “Donate” button.
With all the things HAWK has happening and 3 hangers to pay for, any donation is appreciated. REMEMBER THE KIDS! Without outside financial help the programs could not exist. Any donations are good for a tax write off, as HAWK is a 501(C)3 educational non profit.
After nearly two months of construction and nearly two months of painting HAWK’s Piper Cherokee has returned to service.
During the construction, the plane was jacked up and the gear removed to replace a wing skin. Also during that time all of the fiberglass was removed and repaired. Thank you to Don Coleman for donating a powerflow exhaust system for HAWK’s Cherokee. A new cowl was made, and the power flow exhaust system installed. These updates allowed the plane to be sent to West Star Aviation for paint.
At West Star Aviation the plane was taken apart and stripped of its paint. During this time a set of micro VG’s courtesy of Annie Brogan with Micro AeroDynamics were installed.
The Cherokee was then primed painted and buffed. West Star Avation donated new screws and hardware to reassemble HAWK’s Piper. This donation is in addition to primer, paint and masking/buffing materials. There are far to many names to mention but HAWK would like to thank each and every person involved in the Cherokee project at West Star Aviation.
Sterling Hurst flew the Cherokee back to Mack Mesa just in time for the EAA 800 meeting where everyone admired the brand new 1967 Piper Cherokee.
Herman Allmaras, the Cherokee’s original donor, was given the first official ride in the Cherokee.