Monthly Meeting Minutes – October 2023

Quite a Difference from Fly In 3 Weeks Ago! – The hanger door was cracked open to ventilate the grills but keep some warmth in the hanger.  A little lighter turnout with some members taking advantage of milder weather for Fall travel.   We ended up with about 62 in attendance for the meeting and 40 breakfasts sold.

Call to OrderPresident Dick Keyt called the meeting to order and recognized the breakfast food prep and service crew.  Paula, Lori, Pat, and Kris came forward for recognition.  The Normark family was chipping in with Jordan learning the pancake grill from Dave and Keith, Grant training on scrambled eggs by expert chef Scott, and Lizzie keeping the pans full on the service line.  Bob and Sid were cranking out sausage links.

Dick sought out the guests in attendance.  Zach Minton is part of the sales team for Landings.  He has completed 2 hours of private pilot instruction at In The Pattern and looking forward to getting more into aviation.  Hodge Albritton lives part time at Pecan and flies for American.  His 17-year-old son Nathaniel, now a certified glider and private pilot, is working on his instrument rating.

Project Reports

Auto Gyro – Ray Lewis is still in troubleshooting mode before taking flight.

Zenith 750 – Pat and Mary Hoyt are making good progress on their project.  With more NC machined parts this one is going together faster than their previous Zenith.

Breezy – Mike Hustak reported on a Breezy that has come out of hibernation to complete its second “first” flight. Mike said it flew well with no real issues.

Glider – Dick Keyt reported that the glider club is held up fixing the tow plane cooling issues. Tania Magallanes, winner of the 2023 Air Academy scholarship from 983, is a consistent helper on the baffle improvement.  They are hoping to complete the modification after the meeting today and be ready for glider flying on Sunday.

Reno Air Races 2023 – Dick mentioned how he has worked with his former intern Joe who recently raced in the Sport category at Reno.  He has been doing speed improvements in parallel with Michelle’s Lancair Legacy.  He saw a 28 knot improvement in qualifying speed.  Dick also noted that this is the last air race at Reno due to residential encroachment.  There are about six cities interested in hosting a future air race and a series of demo races will be conducted over the next year to test the viability.  Las Vegas, Las Cruces, Amarillo, and Vancouver were mentioned as possible sites.

December 9th Christmas Party – Sporting her Santa cap, Claudia Sutter went over plans for this year’s Christmas party in the Pecan Plantation ballroom.  Similar to prior years there will be tables for 10 and everyone is encouraged to organize their own table.   Fajitas will be served with meat and veggie options.  Jimmy De La Garza will once again be providing the dance music.  An email will go out later this month with more details and a request to collect money at the November meeting.

Secretary Report – Greg Walker mentioned paid membership in the chapter is at 178 which is among the highest in chapter history.  He is working on getting new nametags available for the new members that joined in the last couple months.

Dick went over the Fly In finances where almost $7K was raised between the food service and auction.  Greg responded to several questions on the Fly In and requested additional feedback sent to him.  He recommended a similar small committee start convening in January toward planning the 2024 Fly In.

Greg mentioned that the chapter still has a bunch of “Sectional-themed” items for sale including the very popular aprons, coffee mugs, and coasters.

Young Eagles – John Bowen discussed the successful Young Eagles flights during the Fly In where 45 kids took to the air.  He thanked the 12 volunteer pilots and several on the ground for handling registration.  John also mentioned helping Cleburne with their Young Eagles event last week.  He is planning to incorporate a similar short familiarization briefing they used to help get the youth familiar with airplane basics before the flight.  Bob Moreau has volunteered to help assemble that brief overview.  The next Young Eagles event is on November 4th.

John is planning to start preparing for next year’s Air Academy scholarship soon.  Chapter members should help identify candidates that could receive a full expense paid scholarship.

ArkanSTOL 2023 – Don Christiansen mentioned that our own Jordan Normark competed and took 2nd place in his class.   Dick noted there were five from the chapter there and it has become a very popular competition at venues across the US.

November Meeting – Tom Woodward reported about plans to recognize Wright Brothers and Charles Taylor Award recipients in lieu of the next chapter meeting.  The plan for the day will be to start the presentations at 10:00 where Joe Murphy from FAA will spend 2-3 minutes speaking about each awardee.  Tom is planning to have an ROTC Color Guard, flags for each branch of service, and a fly over.  At the conclusion a potluck lunch is planned around 11:30. It was decided to have coffee and donuts instead of the usual pancake breakfast.

Nominating CommitteeNot discussed in the meeting but listed per by-laws for November meeting elections.  The following candidates are nominated.

  • President – Dick Keyt
  • Vice President – Bob Pastusek
  • Treasurer – Bill Eslick
  • Secretary – Bruce and Geneva McJunkin

Featured Speaker – Following a short break, Wes Clark introduced Paul “Hatt” Hattendorf who is the F-35 Chief Test Pilot from Lockheed Martin Aeronautics in Fort Worth.  Paul has over 5000 hours in the F-16 and F-35 combined.  He noted Ret Gen Gary North gave a nice overview of the F-35 program several months ago but he could provide what it’s like inside the cockpit.  He noted how the 3 variants of the F-35 fly essentially same except the basing-unique aspects of the F-35B (STOVL) and F-35C (Carrier Based).

Paul provided an overview of the different types of flight testing he experienced at Edwards AFB for flight sciences, flutter, loads, and mission systems.  Unlike many legacy aircraft, where limits had to be managed by the pilot, the F-35 has all the system information on fuel loading and weapons to automatically handle loads and controllability limits.  He noted how previous single engine fighter development programs plan to lose 2-6 test aircraft during the test program – F-35 has not lost a single one.  All the aircraft losses have been after delivery to the customer.

Paul explained what it is like to see through the aircraft with the Helmet Mounted Display and a 6 camera Distributed Aperture System.  Sensor Fusion is the most impressive aspect in not having to manage each sensor like legacy aircraft.  One side effect of this display centralization is the pilot’s eyes are typically in the cockpit and there is noted degradation in precision flying skills like formation.  This may seem detrimental but unlike legacy fighters where 50% of the pilot’s attention was on flying the aircraft, the F-35 pilot spends 90% of their attention on the fighting aspects.  Responding to a question on autothrottle, Paul noted that it is available on all the service aircraft, but the Navy is now requiring it be engaged for carrier landing.  The F-35 has an advanced autothrottle mode called “delta flightpath” that holds glideslope so tightly that it is nearly hands off on carrier approach.

The F-35 program has aircraft number 1000 on the production line and producing 14-15 a month with final assembly facilities in Italy and Japan in addition to the one in Fort Worth.  This was a very interesting discussion, and we thank Paul for coming out and giving us an inside-the-cockpit perspective of the F-35.


After a short break to view the eclipse, about 20 members assembled in the hanger for the VMC and IMC club.   The VMC question on when to lean the engine brought on numerous opinions with some consensus.  The IMC question was on decoding a complex METAR that was quickly figured out by Michele Sonier and Mike Hustak.  An interesting flight scenario to Bar Harbor, Maine brought out a lot of discussion with no definitive answers on the best course of action.

Thanks to all who stayed to store the tables and chairs and help put the two airplanes back in the hanger.

About Walkergp

Retired Lockheed Martin Engineering Senior Manager