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Dustin Steinhoff/Staff Photo  

Emerson Elkins, 2, puts his eggs back into his basket before crossing the street to get more candy as Warrensburg Main Street hosts its Downtown Trick-or-Treat event Oct. 31.

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Alumni fly in, take off for the UCM School of Aviation's 50th anniversary event

WARRENSBURG — The University of Central Missouri School of Aviation hosted an anniversary weekend Friday, Oct. 25, through Saturday, Oct. 26, to celebrate its 50th anniversary, which included the breakfast and airplane and car show, Fly-In Drive-In Show, on Oct. 26.

The anniversary weekend began with an open house at Gaines Technology Building on the UCM campus and a social at Fitter’s Pub on Oct. 25.

The activities on Oct. 26 kicked off with a pancake breakfast and Fly-In Drive-In Show, followed by a UCM Mules Football game and Aviation Fundraising Banquet.

UCM School of Aviation alumni from across the country were invited to take part in the weekend’s festivities.

One UCM Aviation alumni (an airline pilot who lives and flies out of Guam) and his wife traveled more than 7,000 miles to attend the weekend events.

The Fly-In Drive-In Show was open to the public and took place at Skyhaven Airport, which is owned by UCM.

Skyhaven Airport is the state’s only university-owned public airport.

“Not only are we allowing our students to gain experience through watching and being a part of airport operations, but we also serve the flying public,” UCM School of Aviation Chair and Associate Professor Terry Hunt said.

Chris Cakes provided pancakes and sausages to attendees in one of the airport’s hangars, which Hunt said is a tradition familiar to pilots and airport personnel.

“It’s kind of a tradition for airports from time to time to have a pancake breakfast or fly-in on a Saturday morning,” Hunt said. “It’s a great time for a pilot to get out on a Saturday morning, fly 80, 100 miles or so to an airport, rub shoulders with other pilots, eat pancakes, visit for a while and then load up in their airplane to fly home and get on with their Saturday afternoon.”

Activities during the event included the airplane flight show, a car show, tethered hot air balloon rides, a ride in one of the airplanes, for a small fee, and a landing competition for alumni.

“Many of our alumni have been flying heavy transport category airplanes for the past 25 plus years and it was the first time they were in a light general aviation airplane in many years, so they had a lot of fun with that,” Hunt said. “They got to fly with one of our instructors.”

Alumni were also given the chance to tour the School of Aviation facilities during the weekend, reminiscing the sections of the facilities that remain the same while discovering the new technology and operations that have been added since their time at UCM.

“One of the things [alumni] were surprised to see was the Boeing 737 next-generation flight simulator that all of our senior students use to transition into flying heavy, complex aircrafts, transitioning to automated flight and learning the rudiments of a crew approach to flying large transport category airplanes,” Hunt said. “I had several alumni say, ‘This replicates a Boeing 737-800 and I was flying one of these yesterday, this looks just like it.’”

The School of Aviation has grown significantly in terms of graduates as well, having started with only a handful of students before reaching a couple hundred in the 1980s and 1990s and reaching almost 500 students in 2019.

Graduates from the School of Aviation have gone on to obtain jobs as airplane pilots, airport managers, administration positions, education positions and Federal Aviation Administration workers.

“The UCM School of Aviation has graduated a lot of fantastic people who are out there and have represented us very well in every facet of the aviation industry,” Hunt said.

Open house kicks off aviation celebration weekend

WARRENSBURG — Alumni, retired faculty and aviation enthusiasts attended the open house Friday, Oct. 25, at the T. R. Gaines Technology Building for the 50-year anniversary of the aviation program at the University of Central Missouri.

The aviation program began during the 1968-1969 school year at what was then Central Missouri State College after the Skyhaven Airport, 160 N.W. 251st Road, was deeded to the college in 1966.

This year marks the 51st year of the program, but with Skyhaven under construction last year, the celebration of the half-century anniversary was postponed.

The open house was followed by a social event at Fitter’s Pub, 131 W. Pine St., and a “Drive-In, Fly-In” the morning of Saturday, Oct. 26, at Skyhaven.

Several alumni traveled from across Missouri and out of state to attend the weekend of events.

Roger Waeckerle and his wife, Sandy, traveled from St. Louis for the event. Waeckerle graduated from the aviation program in 1985.

Don Ellerbusch, Ashland, Nebraska, said it is interesting to see the changes in the program and the classrooms, pointing out the different simulators, cabins and technology that have been integrated into the program since he was a student.

Ellerbusch has a Master’s Degree in aviation, 1999; airframe and powerplant license, 2001; and education specialist degree, 2003.

“You always hope you can live up to the education,” Ellerbusch said.

About 50 people attended the open house.

“UCM School of Aviation has experienced a significant increase in student enrollment and currently serves over 400 students across the undergraduate and graduate programs,” School of Aviation Chair Terry Hunt said. “It offers a state-of-the-art, Bachelor of Science education in the areas of professional pilot, flight operations management, airport management, aviation maintenance management 2+2 and a Master of Science degree in aviation safety. UCM Aviation owns and operates its own airport, has a highly qualified and engaged faculty, is supported by UCM leadership and, again, has a 50-year track record of educating the next generation of aviation professionals.”

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Col. Calhoun to speak at Veterans Day program

WARRENSBURG — The 2019 Veterans Day program, hosted by American Legion Post 131 and VFW Post 2513, will take place at 11 a.m. Nov. 11 at 733 E. Young St.

Col. Matthew Calhoun, the vice commander of the 131st Bomb Wing of the Missouri Air Guard at Whiteman Air Force Base, will be the guest speaker.

Calhoun is second in command of the National Guard’s only B-2 unit.

He is a command pilot with more than 3,000 flying hours in the T-37B, T38A, B52H and B-2A aircraft.

He has flown combat sorties in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

After piloting the B-52, he was selected for the B-2 program and was qualified as a B-2 pilot in 2004.

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Public invited to Missouri Veterans Home Veterans Day Ceremony

WARRENSBURG — American Legion Post 131, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2513 and the West Central Missouri Veterans Assistance League are teaming up to host a Veterans Day program at 3 p.m. Nov. 11 at the Missouri Veterans Home — Warrensburg, 1300 Veterans Road.

The public is invited to attend.

Jeremy P. Ämick, Jefferson City, will be the keynote speaker.

For several years, Ämick has volunteered as public affairs officer and military historian with the Silver Star Families of America—a Missouri-based organization recognizing the service and sacrifice of veterans wounded or injured from their service in a combat zone.

In this capacity, he composes articles for several Missouri newspapers and websites highlighting the unique experiences of military veterans from all eras.

To date, he has had more than 600 articles published in addition to 10 military history books, the most recent of which is a history of Camp Crowder, Missouri.

His next release is scheduled for May 2020, which is the biography of Missouri veteran Bryce Lockwood, the only U.S. Marine to survive the June 8, 1967, Israeli attack on the USS Liberty.

Ämick spent 11 years in the Missouri National Guard — nine years of that on active duty — and received a medical discharge in 2004 because of service-connected injuries.

He is the recipient the national Jefferson Award for volunteerism and was presented the Distinguished Author Award in 2018 by the United States Tiger Foundation.

In addition to his work with the Silver Star Families of America, his volunteer activities include membership on the executive committee for Operation Bugle Boy and board member of the historic Enloe Cemetery near his hometown of Russellville.

Refreshments will be served following the program.

For more information, call Latisha Koetting, supervisor of volunteer services, at (660) 429-4661.