MINNEAPOLIS, October 2, 2008 – A cool cloudy evening didn’t faze the hearty bunch of aviation enthusiasts who came out for the Lindbergh Foundation’s “Spectrum of Aviation Hangar Party”?? on Saturday, September 27 at the Golden Wings Museum in Blaine, Minn. “Many people were attracted by the stellar list of prominent aviation leaders scheduled to speak, including: Linden Blue, and Larry Williams,” said Lindbergh Foundation Chairman John King, King Schools, Inc. “Add to that the BRS rocket launch and the intrigue of the latest infrared technology to be featured by Patrick Farrell of Forward Vision and you’ve got a block-buster line-up. The folks forgot about the cold, though, when the Cirrus Perspective, and Cirrus Design CEO Alan Klapmeier arrived.” The doors to the new plane were open and it was plugged in so everyone could see it up close and personal.
After enjoying a lip-smackin’ good pig-roast dinner, John King gave everyone a warm welcome and turned the program over to Master of Ceremonies Miles O’Brien of CNN. O’Brien introduced Linden Blue as the innovator of the Spectrum Freedom S-40, a new light business jet, built using a revolutionary graphite-epoxy construction, which reduces the plane’s weight by about two-thirds. Linden Blue addressed the technological innovations used in manufacturing airplanes over the years. The new composite material used on Spectrum Aeronautical planes is not only stronger, but also lighter weight, making them much more fuel efficient than aluminum and steel planes. Remembering “Rosie the Riveter”?? Blue explained that decreasing the number of parts that are punched through the body of the plane makes the planes stronger and provides fewer opportunities for corrosion. Blue’s philosophy is that by making parts big (his company builds one-piece wings and fuselages) and automating the system to reduce human error, his company can make stronger joints, which translates into safer, and more fuel-efficient flying.
Inviting Alan Klapmeier to the stage, O’Brien said, “Tonight we are surrounded by the living history of aviation and we’ve had a nice glimpse of the current state of the art.” Alan Klapmeier spoke enthusiastically about the dichotomy of new aviation technology within the space of the beautiful classic airplanes of days gone by. “The Lindbergh Foundation is a unique organization because of its dedication to the environment and new technology,”?? Klapmeier said. He went on to say that he believes technology can lift the barrier to entry by making flying easier and safer, and in this way, more people will be drawn to aviation. “Aviation has a bright future,”?? said Klapmeier, “but it will come as a result of new technology.”
Back on stage, O’Brien commented on how technology is drastically changing general aviation in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago. “The latest cool thing to reach the kinds of cockpits I sit in is FLIR. I am not talking about that which lies below the ceilin’,”?? O’Brien joked. “I am talking about Forward Looking Infrared Radar. It is not just for black helicopters anymore.” Patrick Farrell, CEO of Forward Vision, took the stage and fascinated the audience with his talk on the new infrared technology that allows pilots to see in the dark, through snow, fog, and rain. He agreed with Klapmeier that by making flying safer, more people may become interested in aviation. Farrell pointed out that many of the major causes of aviation accidents are related to vision, such as bad weather, night disorientation, and animals on the runway. He explained that the military has had this technology for years, but Forward Vision’s EVS 100 is something that can be put on every plane, not just the business jets. A video demonstrated the technology and the level of detail that can be seen. He even pointed out a herd of mule deer in a field at night. After the event, Farrell said, “We were honored to participate and are inspired by the ideals that are represented by the Lindbergh Foundation. These ideals will remain timeless.”
Larry Williams, CEO of Ballistic Recovery Systems, capped off the evening with the story of Icarus’s fall from the sky and explained that BRS is focused on “the fall.” Williams pointed out that a centuries old idea, like parachutes, have led today to a product that has resulted in saving 214 lives. As a director of the Lindbergh Foundation, Williams spoke eloquently, weaving parachutes and Lindbergh history together, including the fact that Charles Lindbergh himself used a parachute four times. “I feel Mr. and Mrs. Lindbergh would be proud to see the growth of aviation, the innovations of today and the expressed commitment and concern by our industry to realize their vision of a balance between the technological advancements they helped pioneer, and the preservation of the human and natural environments they cherished,” said Williams. “The Lindbergh’s helped establish and certainly influenced aviation as we know it today.”
Before the evening concluded, Foundation President Knox Bridges announced that the 2009 Lindbergh Award Celebration would be held at the EAA Eagles Hangar in Oshkosh, Wisc., on May 16, 2009, and he invited Elissa Lines from EAA to join him on stage to greet the audience. “Oshkosh is all about innovation,”?? said Lines. “So we feel that Oshkosh is the perfect place for the Lindbergh Award event.???? EAA is where innovation and technology take flight.”
About The Lindbergh Foundation
The Lindbergh Foundation is a public 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, based in Anoka, Minnesota, which supports great innovations that foster the environment for a planet in balance. The Lindbergh Foundation also values individual initiative and accomplishments. Its programs are devoted to supporting, honoring, and educating individuals, through three major programs: the annual Lindbergh Award, presented to individuals for significant contributions toward balancing nature and scientific innovation in their work; the Lindbergh Grants program, which provides grants in amounts up to $10,580 (the cost of building the Spirit of St. Louis in 1927) for research or education projects that will make important contributions to the technology/environment balance; and a variety of educational events and publications centered on the balance theme.