• S. Gornell

President's look back at a great 2017 and a look ahead to an even better 2018

Happy New Year my fellow Members!

As I pass the role of president along to Bob Kutzler and I am taking the opportunity to say something about 2017, and looking forward to another exciting year but with more flying. Especially for me.

2017 was just a great experience. You all made it an absolute pleasure. It was very fulfilling to see our hard work unfolding and returning to a 5 plane club and watching membership grow and member retention improve.

No matter the circumstances or “no agreement” OUR CLUB WAS UNSTOPPABLE! The cooperation and fellowship was contagious. It was so uplifting to see new members at every meeting. Their enthusiasm for flying was a real injection of energy to the club. I am still amazed that we have our fleet back to the wide variety we enjoyed before 2001. We are now re-aligned with our mission, and we ALL collectively made that happen!

It felt great to see our financials get stronger every month. I love the refresh done on our club website. FaceBook is alive as well and I am just loving our new email scheduling system.

We secured our hangar lease for another 5 years, and we have made the request to LNAA to install a permanent bathroom at our hangar. You know we are going to make sure it is heated too.

I have no doubt our community recognizes The Lehigh Valley Flying Club as a solid, well run club that will always be there for the general aviation community. We ARE known for being that organization for people to pursue their dream of flight.

Now here are some acknowledgements. So make sure you read this part! I got to tell you this part would be much longer, but I know I need to keep it short so you all can go about your flying stuff. So please forgive me if I did not acknowledge everybody.

First, I acknowledge YOU! Yes YOU our members for your participation and keeping the flight hours up, and your contribution to our wonderful gatherings, and all the little things that you do to keep this club going. Taking the time to recruit other members, to wiping every bug off the plane, to providing support to another member that just makes that difference in their flying that you just don't get when you fly on your own all the time. For stopping at that other airport for cheaper fuel, and spending a few extra minutes cleaning up the club house. It is all the little things along with your presence at our meetings that make this a rich experience. THANK YOU

Our maintenance team, Joe Buffy, Steve Marshallek, Dan Loikits, Pete Ayers and Chris Sosa THANK YOU for your amazing commitment to maintain our fleet and keep those planes in good working order with minimal downtime. I still am amazed by how you get it all done.

Dan Mortensen for making our finances the best they have been in years. The amount of time you spend to make sure we know where we stand is an absolute gift to the club.

Megan Everett, Dan Mortensen, Fernando Pacheco, Bob Kutzler and Frank Lane. THANK YOU for your work on Facebook and bringing in a new website and schedule system. You all really made a huge difference in keeping us up to date and love how you made a smooth transition for our reservation system.

Bob Kutzler for ushering owners willing to lease back their planes to our club. This really expanded our fleet into complex and low cost trainers without having to use our own capital. For our membership to expand we had to expand and the “build it and they will come” strategy worked.

I acknowledge our instructors: Steve Marshallek, Bob Sacco, Bob Kutzler, Tom Fox, Rob Christian and Daren Vuono for being there for our members on a moment's notice, and your commitment to keep us safe. Encouraging us to shake the rust off our wings and get in the plane really helped our active member retention. Your unrelenting promise to pull and push members to obtain their certification and ratings, even when we sometimes think we can’t do it, or even we scare living daylights out of you with those sideways crosswind landings. You all just keep us going.

To the Board of Directors, I acknowledge you all for being really considerate, present and spending your flying time at our board meetings, committee meetings and conference calls. Your ideas were really thoughtful and lifted my spirit when I did not have a solution. Even when the motions and discussions would get heavy, you all were great at keeping it light and fun.

The food!!! Dan Mortensen and Kevin. What a menu! You all really made our meetings a real treat. I remember Bob was inspired to have steak for one meetings. So darn good. Thank you very much.

So where do we go from here? Well maybe that is not the right question? I think the question is where do you want our club to go? I always go with what is exciting and affordable and can reach as much members as possible. Perhaps we add another small fun flyer, like a tail dragger to the fleet? That would be an interesting change? Rest assured we know how to run a club. There are just no two ways about it. We are the experts. So let’s create the future of our design live into that future.

I look forward to seeing you in the hangar, or hearing you over the radio, sharing some flights… and of course scoring your landings on 24 and hope you only see my best landings!