by Cheryl Lenox


When someone smiles,

or tells a joke,

We will remember.


When we laugh at sunset,

or cheer a good finish,

We will remember you.


When we soar with eagles,

or sit like pigeons,

We will remember you, KO.


When we think of dear friends,

or talk of good instructors,

We will remember.


When we tell tales of flights,

and our spirits soar,

We will remember you.


When we help each other fly,

or let others help us,

We will remember you, KO.


As we carry you in our hearts,

and in our minds,

We will remember you always, KO.



Memories of Ken Olson

by Bob Thompson


In Ken’s passing we all, each in our own way, share the loss of a great person. Ken was many things to me.. one of my best friends in soaring, instructor, mentor, mother hen, partner... someone to really look up to. He was the epitome of the All-American guy, knowledgeable, loving, giving, had a great family, had a job doing what he loved best, happy in all things.


In looking back, I remember how amazed I was the first time I was at his home. He showed me around a bit, and he was into all sorts of things.... He had huge library with all kinds of books, including many literary classics, as well as the expected aviation-oriented ones. Being a teacher, and an avid reader, I was very impressed. So few people care to, or make the time to, read books anymore. He had every gizmo and connector to do most anything with our flying instruments, and the knowledge to get them all sorted out properly. Then we went to the garage. Wow. He had not one, but two project cars in the garage he was working on.... a Beemer and a Porsche.


When I first got started in soaring, Ken took me under his wing and was right there to help me with all sorts of helpful hints and information on the club Blanik. He was flying his PIK then. I came back to Arizona after the summer and Ken had his new pride and joy, Ventus 39JL. He was constantly working it, getting it in the very best of shape, and installing the very best instruments. Then Ken attended the SSA convention and saw a Ventus II.... love at first sight.


The idea of owning / flying a Ventus II simmered inside him for the next few months, and at the same time I began contemplating owning my first glider, and Tom Knauff began enjoying flying his DuoDiscus sharing the flights with his wife. Tom offered his Ventus II for saIe, and Ken's feelings soared.... if he could sell his Ventus he’d like to buy Tom Ventus II. I had spent hundreds of hours pouring over all available reports concerning every glider I could find out about, and kept coming back to the same conclusion... the only glider for me would be a Ventus. Ken mentioned his glider might be available to a few pilots, including Hans Heydrich. I happened to call Hans from Colorado the next day, and found out the Ventus was on the market. Ten minutes later I was on the phone to Ken, and a deal was in the making.


There was no better person in the world to buy a first glider from. He really took me under his wing, knowing just when and how much guidance I needed, and when and how much I needed to be on my own. Ken transitioned me into fiberglass gliders the first day I was back in Arizona, first in the Grob 103, then the ASK-21, then into Ventus 39JL. I never had any problems flying it, but had MANY questions about some of the electronics. Ken was SO incredibly helpful and patient with me. No chick ever got any more guidance from a mother hen than I got from Ken. When he was in town and not off flying for Southwest, Ken was available. I could talk to him on the phone, catch him at the airport, drive to his house to get things worked out with a GPS, sit around at the airport after a great day's flying and swap stories and listen to jokes. He was always so happy-go-lucky, an had such a distinctive laugh. And he had such a great in-depth knowledge flying and aerodynamics.... which he loved to share with others.


Ken really took to his new Ventus II, rapidly moving up in the ASA contest standings, winning several of the last few contest days, ending up in second place, less than 1% out of first. He was definitely a contestant be reckoned with the next year.


I had a grand year in Ken's old Ventus, but something was missing.... I like to share the thrill of soaring, but most ASA pilots would rather compete and fly on an individual basis, and the Ventus only had 1 seat, so dual flying was out. What I really wanted was e high performance two-place glider. Realizing owning 2 gliders was out of my reach, I put my Ventus up for sale and began to search the two-place market in earnest. Ken and I talked about it a lot, and soon Ken was working up a partnership for a new DuoDiscus. The dollar had grown very strong against the German Mark, and the Duo had become more affordable. We originally had an October delivery date pending, but it took a while to get the partners organized and money collected. Ken was definitely the glue, bring five of us together and getting things headed up and the glider ordered.


We all have sorting out to do now. Things will never be the same. We shall all miss our good friend, fellow pilot, mentor, and partner. The loss of him is still settling in, and I miss him powerfully. He has had such an immense and positive impact in my life in the few years I have known him. How privileged I have been to have been in the right place and the right time to have been able to interact with Ken and shared a part of his life. The last time I saw Ken was out at Turf, a few days before I was to head out to Colorado for the summer, and I took a picture of him… sitting in his Ventus II, grinning under his hat, laughing, and looking forward to a great day of soaring… the way I will always remember him.



July Board Minutes

by Jeff Turner


Arizona Soaring Association Board Meeting Minutes: July 18, 1997


The meeting was held at Bill Bartell’s home 723 E. Piute, Phoenix, Arizona. The meeting began at 7:15 PM.


Attending: Bill Bartell (Vice President)

Hans Heydrich (Treasurer)

Jeff Turner (Secretary)

Jim Burch (Board Member)

Tony Smolder (Board Member) Kirk Stant (Aircraft Manager)

Barbara Maclean


Minutes of the April meeting were read, and adopted with out any changes.


The Treasurer gave a report of the current finances of the organization, which is summarized as follows:


Checking Account Activity

+ $146 Transfer from Savings

- $69 Newsletter Expenses

$811 Current Balance


Savings Account Activity

- $2000 Payment for G-102

- $146 Transfer to checking

$0 Current Balance

(Account closed 6/21/97)


Contest Series Account Activity

+ $715 Wilcox Tow Payments

- $88 Oxygen System Improvements

$1443 Current Balance


~ $350 Expected additional income from Willcox tow billings


Combined Aircraft Account Activity

- $2565 Insurance

+ $300 New aircraft club member

$74 Current Balance


~ $650 Expected income from 2nd quarter billings


The Treasurer’s report was accepted unanimously.




The club aircraft have been experiencing fairly good utilization. The G-102 flew 98 hrs during the second quarter, most of those hours were accumulated by aircraft club members with only 5 hrs being flown by those paying by the hour. The 1-34 flew 52 hrs. during the same period, with about 40 hrs accumulated by non-aircraft club members. Current records indicate that there are 7 club members who have paid the yearly fee to fly the aircraft.


Bob Blakemore has donated a Borgelt B-50 glide computer system for the G-102, there will be many grateful pilots especially when on final glide. Thank You Bob.


The contest letters have been applied to the tail of the G-102, the wing numbers have not yet been applied.


The party at Turf on the 19th is all set to go, it has been arranged by Jim Burch, Thanks Jim.


At an earlier board meeting it was decided that the cost of the web page would be partially offset by using e-mail to distribute the newsletter to volunteer members avoiding copy and postage expenses. This has not yet been accomplished. Jeff Turner will contact those members on the roster who have e-mail addresses and ask if they would be willing to get Aircurrents in this manner. Jeff will also contact Doug to ask members in the next newsletter for their e-mail addresses. A single format for the electronic version of Aircurrents will be decided based upon the capabilities of the members e-mail accounts.


Steve Fahrner has "discovered" an oxygen bottle owned by the ASA. Cliff Hilty will get this bottle and incorporate it into the oxygen system at Turf.


The club is going to try a new angle to increase revenue from the club’s aircraft, especially in light of the final $2000 payment due for the G-102 in December. Dubbed the "Arizona Soaring Getaway," it is an offer of 5 days exclusive use of the G-102 or 1-34 on Monday - Friday including a years membership in the ASA. The price will be $250 for the G-102 or $200 for the 1-34. It will be advertised on our web page and posted on the Internet newsgroup: rec.aviation.soaring. It is hoped that this will help make the final payment for the Grob as well as new members.




The sad task of replacing our president was made somewhat confusing by the fact that it is not specifically covered in the club’s bylaws. There is a paragraph regarding replacing board members, which is done by the existing board appointing a new board member. In what the board felt was the intent of the current officer positions, the vice-president has been appointed to the position of president. John Goodman was appointed to the office of vice-president. The board also appointed Kirk Stant to the board to bring the board back to its full complement of 8 members.


The board has been contact by a number of members in regards to a soaring related memorial for Ken Olson. There are a number of suggestions from trophies to events to scholarships under consideration. Tony Smolder will coordinate the effort to create the memorial. Ken’s family will be contacted to help decide on an appropriate memorial. Once it has been selected, club members will be asked for donations.


Patty Johnson sent flowers to Ken’s funeral for ASA. She will be reimbursed for the costs involved.


The checkout procedures for the G-102 are somewhat lacking in detail. Barbara Maclean and Jim Burch will revise the current document.


Bill Bartell will attempt to contact the individual from Reno who contacted Ken Olson regarding a trade of a two-place Lark for our 1-34. The trade will be pursued if it is felt that a deal involving receiving the Lark plus cash for our 1-34 is possible. Otherwise, it appears that the most prudent course of action will be to sell the 1-34, use the proceeds to repay the general fund for the additional payments made for the Grob, and wait until such time that the aircraft club has enough reserve to buy a Lark outright.


The meeting adjourned at 8:00 PM.



Electronic Distribution of Air Currents


I was unable to get everything set up to distribute this month’s Air Currents via E-mail. Hopefully, everything will be in place for this in time for the September issue. -ed.




For Sale: Std Cirrus '18' B model, Cambridge C-Nav, Dittel, 1300 hrs. TT $22K.

Steve Johnson (602)-978-9324


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