SWS 99s Spring meeting – North Hollywood, CA – May 4-6, 2012

…Report from Emissary Kitty Houghton

SWS 99s Spring meeting – North Hollywood, CA – May 4-6, 2012

One hundred ten 99s from the four states of the Southwest Section converged on North Hollywood last weekend for the spring meeting of the Southwest Section. Fifteen of them flew in, navigating VFR over the top and down through holes in a persistent cloud layer to land at non-towered Whiteman Airport. There they were met by friendly San Fernando Valley 99s who offered home-baked cookies and scooted them and their bags via golf cart from planeside to waiting vehicles.

Many who came to the spring meeting didn’t have far to drive from their Southern California communities. Those who could get there by Thursday afternoon had the fun of touring a house that Amelia Earhart had once lived in – a tour given by the cordial couple who now live in it. Friday arrivals not tied up in officers’ meetings could join the group that visited the Gene Autry Museum, a treasure trove of the early history of the American West. That evening, documentary film-maker Brian Terwilliger screened his excellent 70 minute film on the history of Van Nuys Airport: “One Six Right”. As one viewer said afterward: This was really the history of every airport in the United States!

The business meeting Sat. morning followed the standard format. There was the usual push to get people to donate money to the Endowment Fund. Seven SWS women have just been awarded AE scholarships, and they were congratulated. Members who have been introducing girls to flying were saluted. A highlight was a brief spiel by PR professional and San Diego 99 Connie Charles on how to promote an idea such as the 99s, or how to organize an event. She had some good tips, a few web-based resources, a list of basics (e.g. use a checklist), and excellent templates (for a media alert, a media kit, a pitch letter, a press release, and a public service announcement). Why reinvent the wheel when the pros have already put together these tools for you? Her best quote: “Doing business without advertising is like winking at someone in the dark. You know you did it but he doesn’t!” These tips will come in handy for the San Joaquin Valley Chapter, which is organizing the start of the Air Race Classic at Concord Buchanan Field in 2014. (Gnoss Field in Novato was an early contender, but lawyer types in the local pilot association nixed it for insurance reasons.)

New SWS officers were installed. Penny Nagy continues as Governor for a second term. Carol Andrews takes over as Vice Governor for Diane Cole, who is going over to the International Board as a Director. Chapter Chairs had exactly one minute to give their blurbs. Standing in for Cindy Pickett, Kitty Houghton gave the Marin County Chapter report in 50 seconds.

Two seminars in the afternoon – on Flying with Your iPad, and on the Explorer Aviation program – attracted a few attendees, but many went off to downtown LA to shop. In the evening the banquet featured an unusually good meal, several Section awards, and a one-woman show by professional actress Roberta Bassin portraying Amelia Earhart.

As is always true, the best thing about the weekend was the camaraderie, and the chance to catch up with friends and hangar fly whenever there was down-time. A few AE Peak climb veterans have spawned a plan to assault the peak again this summer. Almost everyone on this side of the country who went on the hike five years ago has signed up for the repeat climb in July. And there are one or two new recruits. Dates are 7/20-25.

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