Lester talks about aviation safety during Twin Falls fly-in
Reprinted from the Times-News, Twin Falls
Days spent outside and talking with fellow Idaho pilots on the runway is a favorite part of Frank Lester's job.
On Saturday (Sept. 6), the safety and education coordinator with the Idaho Transportation Department's Division of Aeronautics got to do just that during a fly-in hosted by the Twin Falls Fliers at Joslin Field, Magic Valley Regional Airport.
"This is one of the best parts of my job, getting to get out with pilots," Lester said.
The fly-in drew about 35 pilots from across south-central Idaho, plus Pocatello and Sun Valley, to participate in an educational seminar on density altitude - an important atmospheric factor pilots must consider when taking off.
"With changes in temperature and wind, the distance an airplane requires for take-off changes," said Fliers President John Gallan of Twin Falls. "Participating in events like this, it allows pilots to test their proficiency; it makes safer pilots out of all of us."
Pilots applied the lesson by calculating how much runway space they needed, not only to take off, but also to clear an imaginary 50-foot obstacle at the end of the runway.
"You can tell a lot of the pilots haven't visited this since first getting their private certificates but they've done pretty well," Lester said. "It takes mastering the coordination of pitch and air speed-it looks pretty easy but it isn't."
The club has a long history in southern Idaho and is one of the nation's oldest continuously flying clubs. It participated in various defense activities during World War II, and recently, members volunteered during the Air Magic Valley Air Show at the airport earlier this summer.
Everett Messner, of Twin Falls, said the fly-in was a great refresher on the topic and a chance to socialize with other pilots.
"It was fun and interesting," Messner said. "You get to meet fellow aviators and learn something that all of us will remember and consider in the future."
The fly-in was the first such event for the private flying club in a long time, Gallan said, and members will consider hosting more events in the future. The Fliers have just 25 members who share ownership and access to three planes.