Monday, Aug. 13 2012 11:15AM
Experimental Aircraft Association
Failure’s not an option
Local aircraft association EAA 91 succeeds with placing monument at Lee’s Summit municipal airport
By Toriano Porter
Larry Young and Chapter 91 of the Experimental Aircraft Association were intent on repairing a derelict Cessna 152 at Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport.
The idea wasn’t to fix and fly the plane, but instead repair the aircraft to look like new, put it on a post and call it the “COP” – Cessna-on-a-Post.
“It was a basket case,” Young said of the plane. “It was just torn up.”
Young, president of EAA Chapter 91, convinced Midwest Executive Aircraft owners Linda Pepper and Carl Kraus, both members of the chapter, to donate the plane to the chapter to begin the process.
“We thought it was a pretty neat idea,” Pepper said Tuesday. “Otherwise we wouldn’t have agreed to donate the airplane.”
Only the process wasn’t so simple.
After getting the go-ahead from Chapter 91’s board of directors, the refurbishing of the aircraft began. Young said the plane had been through at least three wind storms and the wings had to be repaired, along with the added problem of destroyed control surfaces including one flap, the nose wheel and wing tips, among other defects.
“We had to get lots of parts,” he said.
Undeterred, the mission went ahead, Young said, gaining support from White Industries, an aircraft salvage company in Bates City, and Deason Aircraft Services in Paola, Kan. Custom Trailers got in on the act by cutting down to nine feet what started out as a 20-foot-long, heavy steel lamp post.
Still, after much patching, bird-proofing and sanding, Young said the plane was in need of a paint job. The paint was donated by Bill’s Auto Paint and Supply Company in Olathe, Kan., and Rick Stangl of Rick’s Auto Clinic in Raytown applied the paint at no cost to Chapter 91.
“We did this all with donations,” Young said. “Chapter members did all the (manual) work together.”
After deciding the COP would be at the intersection of two streets on the southwest corner of the airport, Young and the chapter hit a snag. The plane needed approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, which took six months. After the F.A.A. signed off, the chapter had to gain approval from the city of Lee’s Summit, which owns the airport.
Young said the city had plans for the initial location so the plane’s position was changed to just south of the chapter’s first hangar.
Because of the change of location, Chapter 91 had to gain approval once again from the F.A.A. which took another six months. Only this time the F.A.A. denied the request because the location would be in a runway protection zone.
So, after another change of location and another approval from the F.A.A. six months later, the plane was ready to go on display.
Young and the chapter then learned they needed a building permit, and off he went to the city’s planning department where they learned they couldn’t put a sign on a post within city limits.
“The city has certain things you have to go through, so we just go through ‘em,” Young said. “Failure is not an option.”
At that time, Linda Tyrrel, the city’s deputy director for planning and development, recommended the chapter make the plane a monument instead of a post.
“Linda is a thinker,” Young said of the suggestion. “She gave us the way to do it by making it a monument.”
Finally, the monument was approved, and the project was completed in December of last year after the dream started in October of 2008.
“I think it’s pretty neat,” Pepper said of the finished project. “It’s quite a conversation piece for anybody that pulls up to the airport.”