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Pilots association prepared for takeoff

July 15, 2018

A new organization for Norfolk area pilots has earned its wings and taken flight.

Now, organizers are hoping more like-minded people come along for the ride, said Chuck Olsen of Norfolk, one of the charter members of the Norfolk Pilots Association.

The organization grew out of discussions among Olsen and fellow pilots Dave Amick, Dan Spray and Pat Carney, who thought it would be nice to have a forum where pilots could meet, talk about issues and share experiences.

Teri Wachter, manager of the Norfolk Regional Airport, helped them send invitations to area pilots she was aware of. Nineteen of them attended the first breakfast meeting a few months ago.

During that meeting, they brainstormed about what they wanted the group to be, said Olsen, who is a partner and certified financial planner with CalmWater Financial Group in Norfolk.

They came away with a number of goals, one of which is to simply encourage camaraderie among people who have an interest in aviation, Olsen said.

One of their first events was a hangar grill-out. Forty-five people brought their grills and food and had a potluck outside the hangars at the airport.

Now the group meets the third Thursday of the month at 7:30 a.m., at Barnstormers Family Bar and Grill, which is located at the airport.

During that time, they talk about experiences they have had and share information on any aviation-related subject — from upcoming fly-ins to fun vacation destinations, Olsen said.

They are planning to have speakers at some of their meetings who will also discuss a variety of topics, Olsen said. Some of the programs planned so far are on how to read weather patterns and understanding new technology that can make pilots safer, he said.

But being a licensed pilot isn’t a requirement for participation in the group.

Anyone who is interested in aviation is encouraged to attend, Olsen said. And if someone wants to learn to fly, members will do their best to connect them with an instructor.

Olsen, who has been flying since 2010, often takes to the skies on business trips.

“My job requires me to be on the road, and flying allows me to be home more often,” he said.

While the new organization will offer recreational opportunities for pilots and their families, it also will, hopefully, help make them safer.

“One of the goals is to enhance education,” Olsen said. “If I can learn from another pilot, it will make us all safer.”

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