August Chapter Meeting

EAA863’s August chapter meeting focused on safety and alertness. Member Gary Soloway organized a panel of pilots, also Chapter Members, to share their experiences when dealing with less than ideal circumstances.

Russ Stiles discussed “Bingo” fuel, or the point you need to use reserve fuel while flying a CH-53 helicopter. Russ was able to eventually link up with a C130 refueler that he had called for earlier despite not knowing where the refueler was since he was below the cloud layer.

EAA863 member Russ Stiles

Mike McGrew shared how he “analyzed the situation, made a plan, and excited that plan” when he lost an engine while descending from 6k through 3k feet over Memphis, TN. Mike was able to land safely on a road.

EAA863 member Mike McGrew

Finally, Michael Kennedy shared how handled a loss of an engine, and visibility when the oil from the engine coated his cockpit windows while flying at an air show. Michael did land safely despite not being able to see and loss of his engine.

EAA863 Michael Kennedy

Well done guys! Many takeaways from this meeting.

July Chapter Meeting

EAA863 member Bruce Thomas

EAA863’s own Bruce Thomas led the July chapter meeting presentation with a focus on safety. Bruce presented, “Passenger Ready – A look at Airworthiness and Pilot Currency.” Bruce highlighted that the decision to fly, with or without passengers, is up to the pilot in command.

Bruce stressed the emphasis on currency, in the aircraft that you fly, and how comfortable you, as the pilot in command, feel about your aircraft. Bruce noted that pilots should be mindful of how their aircraft flew the last time they had it out and if the aircraft had just come out of maintenance. Both scenarios, if adverse, should be addressed before carrying passengers on the next flight.

Bruce kept the presentation interactive, and polled the audience with two scenarios, having his children assist with the collection of the ballots. First, Bruce polled the audience with which aircraft the audience would feel comfortable letting their children fly in. Second, Bruce polled the audience with which pilot, the audience would feel comfortable letting their children fly in. This led to some great conversations, laughs, and ultimately, a safety discussion which is what Bruce intended.

Thanks Bruce for a great presentation and a job well done!

June Chapter Meeting

Our June EAA863 chapter meeting was a lot of fun! We had pizza, laughs and learned about flight simulators. That’s right, anything to do with airplanes is fair to discuss at EAA863. EAA863 is a group of aviation enthusiasts promoting aviation through events and community outreach.

Member Jeff Wreyford, and private pilot, presented his 10+ year build on his home flight simulator. However, this is not any flight simulator with rudder pedals and a yoke. This is more! Way more! Jeff has built an entire Boeing 737 flight deck in his basement. Complete with new throttle quadrant with full motorization of the throttles and speed brake, Jeff routinely takes flights around the world.

Jeff shared that life’s journey had put a little turbulence on his flight journey. He began several years ago with his private pilot license and continued on and attempted to get his instrument rating. However, working full time and family demands slowed his progress. While Jeff admitted that he didn’t complete his instrument rating, the most important thing is that Jeff never lost sight of his dream. He knew in full high definition what he wanted – to fly a jet.

After the kids were grown and out of the house and off to college. Jeff set out about 10 years ago to build a 737 flight simulator. The 737 is Jeff’s favorite aircraft and it shows in his work on the simulator. Jeff did not build all of this from scratch. He enlisted the help of well-known flight simulator and actual certified flight training device manufacturer, Flight Deck Solutions (FDS).

Having a keen eye for detail, Jeff flew up and met the owners of FDS before committing to the purchase of the products. Jeff purchased the enthusiast line of products. The enthusiast line are products that mimic the real aircraft but are not certified for actual flight simulation time. Meaning, Jeff could not use his simulator as an officially certified flight training device.

Next, after having met the FDS team Jeff placed his order and the first piece to arrive was the main instrument panel (MIP). After the MIP, he continued on with the flooring and sides of the cockpit. Jeff continued adding pieces until he finished the cockpit shell and instrumentation, complete with seats. Additionally, Jeff has worked with others in the flight sim community and flies with live virtual ATC and files flight plans just like in the real airplane.

What’s next for Jeff? Jeff says that he is currently working on a heads-up display (HUD). Jeff recently bought a HUD, out of a real aircraft, on eBay and is writing software to make it work with flight sim. Additionally, Jeff says that he still has to work on wiring the overhead panel too and other little things. Jeff’s passion for his flight simulator is evident and there are sure to be little projects that flare up to keep him busy. For now, Jeff said he is actually enjoying flying the simulator and not working on it so much.

Learn more and Join Us

Are you interested in learning more or becoming a member of EAA863? Check about our About Us page for more info, or signup here to become a member.

Cook Out and Flyover

Our special chapter members only cookout on Saturday May 30th was a success! We had beautiful weather, lots of planes, friends, hamburgers and hotdogs. What more could you ask for?! We even had a special fly over of Wilson County Schools to honor graduating 2020 seniors.

Grilling and Fellowship

Several EAA863 members parked their airplanes on the ramp and came into the Sattler Hanger for good conversation and fellowship while we waited for the delicious food to finish grilling. It has been said that pilots love to talk about their airplanes as much as they love to fly them. EAA863’s members are no exception. EAA863 even had a live-stream of the NASA SpaceX launch. Airplane lovers are natural space and rocket lovers too. It would be fair to say that we love anything that flies. It does not matter if it has wings, rotors, or rockets; as long as it flies, we enjoy it. Five minutes before launch of SpaceX, member Brian Thompson threatened to pull the power cord on the back of the TV. We can safely say, the majority ruled, and Brian left the TV plugged in. Thank you, Brian.

Flyover honoring graduates

This flyover was organized by EAA863 members Parker Loughney and Toby McCrary. Parker is an aviation enthusiast and likely future pilot who wanted to pay tribute to the 2020 graduating class. Parker said he got inspired after watching the military flyovers honor the hero healthcare, military and other first responders. Parker contacted Toby and they began planning the flyover with four planes in total. Their scheduled timing of the flight plan was impeccable and surely beneficial to those on the ground at the respective schools. Parker and Toby were featured by Wilson County Schools. Thank you, Parker and Toby! Indeed, there is no better way to commentate these 2020 graduates than with an airplane flyover!

Learn More and Join Us

Are you interested in learning more or becoming a member of EAA863? Check about our About Us page for more info, or signup here to become a member.

Hamburger and Hotdog cookout instead of breakfast


This Saturday 5/30/20, instead of our 5th Saturday breakfast, we are grilling hamburgers and hot dogs at noon!

Sides and desserts are welcome!

Masks available if you need one. We are making the needed accommodations for social distancing and safe food preparation.

No charge for this event, just come and enjoy time together!