The word “hangar” can conjure many different meanings to different people – storage, workplace, hangout, shelter, man cave, retreat – or in some cases – home. It’s amazing the multiple titles and sentiments that can be applied to this one simple structure. But, of course, we all know it is what is inside and around the structure that brings the real meaning.
The word that comes to the top of my mind is “community.”
During the summer I learned to fly (2010), I practically lived at Stearman Field in Benton, Kansas (1K1). The residential airpark was hitting a major growth spurt, with a restaurant recently added and the construction of new hangar homes flanking both sides of the runway. Almost every day, I was at the airport either flying, waitressing or spending time with local pilots. While the flying was spectacular (J-3 Cub!), it was my time with the local airport community that ultimately made it one of my favorite summers. We all shared a passion for flight and light-hearted fun – there was something so freeing about my time there.
Down in Vero Beach, Florida (KVRB), my father Randy regularly hosts a Friday afternoon “hangar party” at his T-hangar. It’s become quite the affair, with a dozen or so hangar neighbors and local aero club members attending. Beer tops are popped, stories are exchanged, and of course at the heart of all conversation – airplanes. Whenever I am able to attend these hangar parties, I am taken back to 2010. There is an obvious comradery among the group that brings me similar comfort. They’ve even recently taken to recounting their stories one by one in a circle – their “funniest” one week, most “humbling” the next. Undoubtedly, you have similar experiences and relationships thanks to your local airport and pilot community.
But that has all been put on hold for now.
I write this briefing during a time when “community” takes on a new meaning. Our country – our planet – was recently turned upside down by the COVID-19 outbreak. To document changes to date here, in a print article, feels pointless as we face a barrage of updates on a daily basis.
It is an eerie and inexplicable feeling knowing the country, along with much of the world, is on pause. But I also find the experience humbling. It is a reminder of our humanity and reliance on each other. And I have no doubt our readers and our industry will be there for each other in community during the difficult months ahead.
In the interim, I encourage you to utilize the tools and resources available to stay connected with your neighbors, friends and owner organizations. This is a time when support and kindness can make all the difference. I find a simple text, email or phone call right now takes on a new meaning than it did a few weeks ago. You can also take this time to connect with us on Facebook (@twinturbinemag) or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with feedback or topic ideas for future issues. In this period of uncertainty, one constant remains: T &T is a reflection of the owner-pilot community – in both its ups and downs. I would love to hear from you.