Chapter 863

Lebanon, TN

David Gray

It is with great sadness I must announce the passing of Dave Gray.  He passed very peacefully last evening surrounded by his family.  Dave was a staple member of our chapter.  Always volunteering to help in every way.  Please do remember Hope, Cheryl, David and the rest of the family in your thoughts and prayers.

Our chapter has experienced 3 losses in the past two weeks.  I don't want to send any more emails of this type for a long time.    I will share the  arrangements when they are made. 


Richard Porter

It is with great sadness I must announce the passing of Richard Porter.  Richard has been a part of chapter family for many years.  He volunteered countless times and was always present at most of our functions.  Our prayers are with the family during this tremendous loss.  I will let everyone know when the arrangements are complete.  If you have a picture of him, please send it to me at

Dan Decker

 It is with great sadness I announce the passing of one our members, Dan Decker. Dan passed suddenly yesterday afternoon from a medical situation. The two greatest loves of his life was his wife Lisa and anything aviation. He was currently completing a Zenith aircraft and was a well known and respected paraglider instructor. His presents around the Lebanon Airport will surely be missed. Please pray for Lisa and their family as they cope with this terrible loss.


A Great Eclipse Picture

Doug Eshelman sent this to me.  One of the better ones I've seen.  Don't know the source.

EAA Chapter 863 Fall Classic Fly-In Sept. 30

BreakFast @ 7AM - Fly-In continues throughout the day - Homebuilt, Antiques, Classics, Warbirds and Ultralight/LSA all welcome - Aircraft Judging with awards - Aircraft Fly Market - RV-14A Display and demos with Vic Syracuse.

Contact: Myron Lasater 

(615) 347-9108


BBQ Cook-Out Sunday June 4th

Randy Hooper and Chris Cook are hosting a chapter BBQ cookout this Sunday June 4th at M54 in hangar 2. Gathering time is 1PM, serving starts at 1:30. This is an Add-A-Dish event and your support is greatly appreciated. The chapter will provide the drinks and ice, Set up is at 12:30 if you would like to help. We look forward to seeing you for this fun event to kick off the summer. Please call Chris Cook with any questions @ 615-513-0269.

4/29/2017 Breakfast

Wow!!! What a great breakfast and Young Eagle Rally we had this morning.  I hope you were there.  Thanks to the many volunteers (I hope I got you all listed):  Please see more photos on the 5th Saturday Breakfast page in the menu on the left.

Dan Allen, Chris Burgess, Chris Cook, Dan Decker, Lisa Decker, Hank Dowler, April Eshelman, Doug Eshelman, Gary Farmer, Julie Farmer, Allison Jones, Jim Jones, Chuck Jonston, Myron Lasater, David Logalbo, Bill McNutt, Kathy Pesak, Robert Pesak, Jerry Pepper, Janet Pipe, Larry Pung, Robert Redmon, Paul Rotenberry, Mike (Big Foot) Russell, Cameron Taylor, Brian Thompson, Jackie Turnipseed, Michael Turnipseed, Brad Wolf, Jan Wolf and Trish Yates

If you were there and helped and are not on this list, please forgive me and please reply to let me know you were left off the list.  You all should be acknowledged. 

April 2017 Meeting

Our very special guest was Byrom Stacey.  His presentation "The Story of US Navy 155" was a fantastic description of his complete restoration of a 1961 Cessna 150.  From this...

                                       To this...


Michael Turnipseed

Michael had open heart surgery (12/13/2016) and is recovering well.  He has been to every chapter event since and will be released to fly in mid February.  Let's get him in all of our planes.  He is eager to fly.


A Great 2016  Looking Forward to 2017

The Christmas party was a tremendous success with a record attendance.  The money tree was also record breaking, coming in at $580 and was won by Miss Brandy Woods, a member of our local Women In Aviation chapter.  Everyone had a wonderful time.  A special thank you to Katherine and Elizabeth Cartwright for helping with the ticket drawing. They were very helpful and lots of fun to work with.

Congratulations to our new President Mr. Myron Lasater and Vice President Mr. Jim Jones for year 2017.  Thank you Miss April Eshelman for continuing on as our Secretary/Treasurer.

We have an annual Black Eyed Peas party every New Years Day at 1:00 in hangar 2.  I’ll send out a flier as it gets closer.  The gist of it is, bring your favorite black eyed peas recipe (a southern New Years good luck tradition) or cornbread or a dessert and join us to kick off the new year.

And finally, we have a Young Eagle Rally next Saturday the 10th at 10:00 in hangar 2.



As many of you know, the Alpha taxiway is now open.  Have you seen the new lights?  Plus, the front gate is operational.

Our annual Great Chili Cook-Off netted a good turnout with some fantastic chili recipes, cornbread and deserts.  Thank you all for coming and thank you to those who brought the awesome chili and fixin’s.  We introduced our latest new member Michael Turnipseed who shares a family membership with his mom Jackie.  Welcome to the chapter.  Y’all make sure to introduce yourselves to Michael and Jackie and see that they get plenty of aviation fun.  We also introduced a few guests: Roger and Linda Gregory, John and Kendall Mouvery and Tim Gerrard.

Our chili contest ended with 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize winners for the best tasting chili.
1st place was Janet Piper
2nd place was Chris Cook
3rd place was Cameron Taylor

We also held our officers and board members elections.  The results will be announced at our Christmas party on December 2nd.  The flier for the party is once again attached.  Please RSVP to Deborah.  Her contact info is on the flier.  We are very grateful to John and Deborah Baugh for hosting our Christmas party every year.


Aluminum Overcast Tour was a Huge Success

Our EAA B-17, Aluminum Overcast, was at Lebanon (M54), arriving Monday the 3rd. Operations begin October 6th through the 9th.  Click on the link below to see tour package and advanced ticket sales.

 A lot is going on during this event like other visiting aircraft, merchandise sales, food, etc.  Contact Bigfoot at the number to the left and down to sign up to volunteer to help.  It takes a lot to make this happen.  Let's make this a wonderful experience for the community.



Missing Man Tom Draus

 Member Tom Draus passed away early yesterday morning after battling stage IV lung cancer.  His family and our chapter are hosting the memorial and service in hangar 2 at M54 Saturday the 18th at 4:00.  It will be a celebration of life in the place he loved to spend his time.  BBQ and sides will be served and desserts are welcomed.  Stories will be shared as well as pictures.  If you have any pictures, electronic or printed and would like to share them with the family, please contact Bonnie McCrary at   A printed photo album is being put together as well as a streaming video of pictures. En lieu of flowers, you may make a donation in Tom’s name to EAA Young Eagles, EAA Chapter 863 or Alive Hospice. Anyone interested in a flyby or the missing man formation, please contact Paul Rotenberry ( or Toby McCrary (

Full Circle

Farewell to a friend

December 1, 2015 by General Aviation News Staff 7 Comments


Life has a way of coming around full circle, just one of the many lessons learned through owning a Luscombe.

Another is that you never know where that Luscombe will take you and who you will meet along the journey.

Our journey began in 2007, when my wife Sally and I embarked on the search for an aircraft for our personal use. A licensed private pilot from the 1970s, I had taken a 20-year hiatus from flying while our children attended college. Sally, who soloed in the 1970s but then abandoned pursuing her license, was game.

The search was initiated looking for a Stinson, but we soon found a 1949 Luscombe 8-F. Not familiar with the Luscombe brand, we took to the Internet to find out more. Our research eventually led us to Bill and Sharon Tinkler of Tullahoma, Tenn., who became our mentors in all things Luscombe.

We were in Nashville, and the Luscombe for sale was in Lebanon, all very close together in the state of Tennessee. So we found ourselves on a cold winter’s day heading to Lebanon to look at the airplane once again.


Ken Poley and the Luscombe.


When I first spoke on the phone with Ken Poley, who had owned the Luscombe for 17 years, his first words to me were, “It’s not LSA,” and our rela

tionship never really got much better after that. He did reveal a few things: He had worked

for Piper Aircraft Co. in Lock Haven in his teens, had flown B-26s in the Air Force, and was an engineer. He was selling the Luscombe as he was of an age where he had chosen not to pursue his third class medical.

That first meeting with the Luscombe was dreadful. It was a raw, cold winter day and there we were on the tarmac, learning that the Luscombe was an 8-F Special, meaning it had the Continental 90-hp engine, which had no starter or alternator. Consequently, the engine had to be hand propped to start, a talent with which I had no experience.

Ken provided direction to me as the starter, while Sharon held the brakes, but we achieved nothing other than a fully warmed up Jack. We decided to quit, rolled the plane back into the hangar, and Bill, Sharon, Sally and I went to lunch.

Bill was strongly of the opinion this was an aircraft to avoid, noting that hand-propping would lose its attraction. Later, we learned that the Luscombe had been involved in an incident in which it got away from Ken while starting it by himself. It knocked him down and proceeded across the tarmac until it did considerable damage to a new BMW and a nearly new Mooney, requiring an engine overhaul due to the prop strike damage.

It is an axiom among Luscombe owners that their aircraft found them rather than the opposing consideration, and this Luscombe had spoken to me. Sally deferred to my desire, and Ken and I negotiated a deal, which included an IA’s review of its mechanical health.

Arrangements were made to fly it to Lewisburg, Tenn., to have the evaluation performed, which was then rolled into our first annual. While the annual was being performed, another prior Luscombe owner and CFI, Mike Kellems, entered the shop. He agreed to teach me how to fly the Luscombe. The Luscombe remained tied-down at Lewisburg as I received 25 hours of instruction covering changes in regulations over my hiatus from flying, transitioning to a taildragger and the necessary license endorsement, buffing the rust off of any piloting skills I may have had and, of course, the required experience to insure the aircraft.

Owning the Luscombe in Middle Tennessee was a wonderful experience. We promptly named the plane “Huckleberry” after Mark Twain’s character Huckleberry Finn. We became frequent attendees to the Experimental Aircraft Association chapter-sponsored Saturday morning pancake breakfasts in Murfreesboro, Shelbyville, Moontown, and Winchester, and were welcomed into a new family of friends through the Luscombe.


Jack Hoke and his grandson Brennan Maxwell with the Luscombe.

Along with a new plane, 2007 brought yet another challenge for our family. We became third generation owners of the Hoke family farm in Carroll County, Maryland. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to which we agreed sight unseen. While we bought the property in December 2007, it was 2009 before we could sell our home in Nashville and move to Westminster, Md. Exploration led us to 6W6, an airfield with a turf runway in Hanover, Pa., to house the Luscombe in a large common hangar.

We settled into our new community and learned our new roles as stewards of the farm. But little did we realize how much change we would experience, and how much it was to affect our use of Huckleberry.

Our close proximity to the Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) around the nation’s capitol curtailed opportunities for flights to the south. Soon our much-loved Luscombe was to find itself a neglected orphan. While we kept legal with timely annuals, there was little aviating.

There were two exceptions: An attempt to fly to Oshkosh in 2013 (which ended in Fort Wayne, Indiana, as a result of IFR-only weather conditions) and completion of the “Explore Maryland by Air” campaign in 2013.

In late 2013 we concluded that our commitments to farm, job, family, and an aircraft not welcome in the SFRA meant that the time had come for us to find a new steward for Huckleberry. Advertisements “For Sale” produced a call from a young man who asked if this Luscombe had been Ken Poley’s.

A one hour conversation ensued during which I was to discover much about the caller, Ryan Mudry, and Ken Poley.

As we talked, I learned that when Ryan was just 9 years old, he scraped together $40 so he could join EAA. This membership allowed him access to the presidents of local EAA chapters, including Poley, who was president of EAA Chapter 863 in Lebanon, Tenn., at the time.

Ryan called Ken. Their initial phone conversation was reported to have lasted over one hour while the professional engineer-pilot and the 9-year-old discussed everything about aviation, including Bernoulli’s Principle and Ken’s experience in the Air Force, where he was qualified in the B-25, F-102, F-89, and F-94C.  The call ended with the invitation for Ryan to join Ken for an aviation outing to an EAA pancake breakfast.

Thus began a friendship that was to last nearly 20 years, with Ken mentoring the wanna-be pilot, teaching him to hand prop the 90-hp Continental, introducing him to long-time friends as the Luscombe’s new starter, and allowing him training time in the Luscombe.

All of this led to introductions to three Congressmen from the state of Tennessee — Sen. Lamar Alexander, Sen. Bill Frist, and Rep. Jim Cooper — in a bid for the then-flying high school senior, with a perfect score on his SAT exam, for an appointment to the United States Air Force Academy. Alexander called Ryan on the day after Thanksgiving during his senior year and gave him the good news: He had secured the appointment.

Poley sold the Luscombe to us while Ryan pursued his aviation career at the academy, graduating as an officer and a pilot of the Air Force’s AC-130U gunship.


Ryan Mudry, the newest owner of the Luscombe.

While Ryan reached out to ask about the Luscombe, he wasn’t really in the market for an airplane, just curious. But I knew that Ryan was who the Luscombe belonged with, so I soon called him back with an offer he couldn’t refuse, and the sale was completed.

Arrangements were made for hangar space in Florida at Peter Prince Field, and I flew the Luscombe from 6W6 to its new owner.

And so yet another Luscombe friendship has been fostered, with the aircraft placed into the hands of a true steward.

Deborah Makes the Back Cover of Women In Aviation

42 Kindergarteners at M54

42 pint-sized students from Merrol Hyde Magnet School in Hendersonville came by for some aviation theory and fun.  Janet and Gary Piper along with Myron Lasater made sure they got what they came for.  We all had a very fun time.


March Meeting

John McMahon and Billy Payne shared their stories of building and flying the Just Highlander.


Great Video of Our Airport

 Below is the trailer of a great documentary celebrating our home airport and it's colorful history.  Below that is an excerpt featuring our chapter.


Mike McGrew wins Bronze Lindy at Oshkosh

Our own Mike McGrew won the Bronze Lindy for a "plans built aircraft" at Oshkosh this year.  He, along with fellow member Nelson Willis, flew his beautiful plans built Hatz for it's first visit to EAA AirVenture.  Congratulations Mike on a job impeccably done.


Scott Eshelman Featured in New Fighter Technology

Some Naval history I knew nothing about

The Great Lakes provided vital support for the war effort in WWII, from building 28 fleet subs in Manitowoc, Wisconsin to providing the bulk of US industrial output, we could not have won the war if not for the benefits of the Great Lakes and their related industry. 
However there was another benefit of the lakes that is often overlooked. 
Japan quickly lost the war because, among many other things, its navy could not replace its carrier pilot losses.  We could.
But how did we train so many pilots in both comfort (calm seas) and safety (no enemy subs)?   
We took two old side-wheel Great Lakes passenger steamers and turned them into training carriers on Lake Michigan!
Virtually every carrier pilot trained in the war got his landing training on these amazing ships! 
Sadly nothing but these great photos and the wrecks of the aircraft that ditched alongside them remain to tell their fascinating story.
Check out the USS Sable and USS Wolverine and see for yourself.


Never Forget Our Brave Veterans

Spitfire 944


What Really Happened to Hoot at Reno 2013

Contact Us


Newsletter/Web Editor:   Gary Piper                                                                                            Email:                                                                                                           Phone:    (615) 480-6471

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