Blue skies, tail winds

June 26, 2013 

As you may be aware, Midwest Executive Aircraft at Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport is closing July 15 after almost 25 years.

The company started at Lake Winnebego Airport in 1980 by Carl Kraus and some other partners, which he later bought out. In 1988, Linda Pepper partnered with Carl and they opened a location at Lee’s Summit. They operated both locations for about three years and then consolidated to the Lee’s Summit location. Their services included aircraft rental and flight instruction, aircraft maintenance, and aircraft sales.

Hundreds of students have attended the flight school. Many of them have become airline pilots, charter pilots, pilots for the armed services, freight pilots, business pilots, and pilots who just wanted to fly for pleasure.

I am one of those last pilots to graduate from that school. You see, I was a little boy who grew up around airplanes and was always looking to the skies. My dad was a career Air Force veteran and planes were always around. That little boy marveled at planes, inspected them with curiosity and never missed the chance to attend an air show.

One day my wife asked what I wanted for Christmas as she knew I was difficult to buy for. So began my journey for wings. I started my first lesson with some trepidation. I was shy at first as I am one of those people who try to fly under the radar, if you know what I mean. I learned a lot about life and flying from Linda and Carl. Almost four years later I achieved my goal of obtaining my license on May 24. The school officially closed on my birthday, May 31.

As in all stories, there is happiness and sadness. You see Linda Pepper and Carl Kraus are retiring. The school, just like their company that Linda and Carl created, was more like a family. Everyone shared the ups and downs of training as well as life in general. So that little boy, who always looked to the skies and still does, wants to thank you for the memories and life’s lesson. I want you to know you will always hold a special place in that little boy’s heart.

So this is a shout out to all of those little girls and boys who were part of the Midwest Executive Aircraft family. Please make it a point to stop by, call or drop them a line to let them know you appreciate being part of their family.

Jay has lived in the Grandview and Lee’s Summit area for over 45 years. He has been an employee of AT&T for 34 years. He is active in the Grandview Planning, TIF and Enterprise Zone Commission. His new passion is flying.

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