Look Up and one might see something wonderful!
Hot air balloons inspire awe and adventure. The sight of a colorful and majestic balloon crossing the sky is a sight to behold. They are classified as lighter- than- air aircraft and have a long storied history. Two balloon launches were achieved on a cool and quiet morning at Sugar Valley Airport the first weekend of June. Conditions were ideal for the crews to gather and prepare the “envelope” for inflation. They worked as a team expertly lead by the balloon pilot. Not only did he give clear instructions but he inspired everyone with anticipation and wonder. And then they were off. The balloon enthusiasts are a tight-knit community that extends from coast to coast, and we are delighted to welcome them here at SVA.
A Prayer of the Balloonist
The winds have welcomed you with softness.
The sun has blessed you with its warm hands.
We have flown so high and so well
that God joins you in laughter,
And sets you gently back
into the loving arms of Mother Earth.
And here is a first hand account from one of the lucky guys (Daniel) who got to experience this adventure.
"So we got the balloon up and ascended around 8:30 this morning. The experience of getting airborne and being in the stillness of the lower atmosphere is quite unbelievable, really. Winds were actually moving us along pretty quickly towards Mocksville and after we'd traveled about 4 miles, Rich decided it would be prudent to land. We spotted a Church on 158 that has a large field next to its cemetery as an initial landing spot. Rich pulled the chute to let some air escape the top of the envelope but it became clear we would not be able to descend quickly enough to make it. So we drifted along the treetops, unable to see what was ahead, but confident a "spot" would emerge.
As we cleared a line of trees, some stately homes were in front of us on a cul-de-sac.
Rich exclaimed "I love cul-de-sacs! We're gonna land in the middle of that one!" I didn't quite believe him, but I was in no position to object.
Rich masterfully put the balloon down precisely in the center of the cul-de-sac as a couple of bewildered neighbors came out of the surrounding homes. One man who was mostly dressed in a suit (but had only one sock on his right foot and barefoot on the left) walked out and asked if we were ok. He said, "I've never seen THAT before!"
At the other house there was a guy on his phone videoing the whole thing. Funny thing is, the guy looked a lot like our friend D. Somehow, we managed to land that balloon in front of D's house. We caught up with D. and his wife. Landing in the front yard of our friend made the whole thing even more fun."
Sandra, one of our Ground School instructors had the joy of offering Tsering Skeele, a visitor from Tibet, his very first flight in a small airplane. Tsering has grown up in Nepal, adopted by an American mother, who is an entrepreneur. He will be leaving America soon to spend three years in the Peace Corps working in Senegal. So wonderful to fly and connect with our friends on the ground and in the air. Thank you, Sandra, for your skills in action, and Tsering, for visiting and enriching our world with your presence and fascinating stories!
The NC 100, a non-profit organization from Rockingham County, invited service groups from all over North Carolina to an “Umbrella Community Event” at Sugar Valley Airport. NC 100 sponsors programs that inspire and educate by exposing youth and their families to new possibilities, like aviation and aerospace. More than fifty people including adults and children came from fourteen different service groups. It was an amazing gathering of folks and families from around the state and across many different walks of life. They came to recognize and celebrate unity and the good work being accomplished. Shout-outs go to Felton Foushee and Merald Holloway for holding the vision of groups coming together and working in joyful harmony. Enjoy this short video detailing a great time had by all...
Video Credit: TooMuchTv Inc.
NC 100 is a non-profit collaborative connected to and working directly with local and statewide leaders that believe in the power of community organizing and extending networks as an avenue for supporting education, community and workforce development.
Recently, Sugar Valley hosted a "Friends" gathering, celebrating CommUnity and the lighting of the "Unity Blaze", led by Black Folks Camp Too (BFCT) founder Earl B. Hunter and friends.
As Earl shared, "The Unity Blaze is the campfire symbol in the middle of our Black Folks Camp Too logo, and it means 'Treat Everyone Everywhere Equally.' Your race, age or gender does not matter. We ALL have something to say!"
There is a lot to the story behind BFCT and you will likely find it very rewarding to take time to explore their website and see more of what, how and why they do what they do.
Here is a little glimpse at what took place that evening.
Enjoy the images and then read on for a few of the comments from folks who took part in the event:
“Looking out at everyone visiting and connecting and with the Unity Blaze – all looked Golden – as in a dream.
Celebration, Joy, Unity, (and S’mores 😉)….”
“This is so beautiful and magical. My heart is so full and beating gratefully!”
“An evening of respectful relations at work on the part of everyone present. So grateful to have met Earl and to be part of what he is doing for inclusiveness and equality.”
We are honored and delighted to extend our wholehearted support to BFCT and to contribute to an emerging sense of joyful togetherness!
“The event was FANTASTIC! I am very grateful and humbled by the genuine LOVE displayed by all.
The invite was key but the welcome was out of sight! I met a ton of folks who gathered for a Night of Unity, and my heart is full because of such!
While driving home, I felt a sense of “togetherness” as I looked in my rear-view mirror to see the awesome hand-crafted Unity Blaze symbol sitting between my children.
Again, thank you to EVERYONE! We are certainly better together!
While we remove generational fear, add knowledge and invite “more” Black folks to camp, and enjoy the outdoor lifestyle with any and everyone. We also promote Unity in the outdoors and beyond!"
We are very grateful to all who joined us and made this experience real on many levels!
by Daniel Lobb, one of the SVA pilots...
My son Luke and I went to Salisbury today to have lunch with the campers at EAA 1083’s ASCEND Camp. 10 years ago, a few of us from SVA helped the 1083 group create the camp and then we basically got out of the way so they could take off!! It is the 10 year anniversary, and Sandra Smith taught a class for campers earlier in the week, and today they were still talking about how much they enjoyed it!
A very nice article came out in the Salisbury Post, highlighting what an amazing opportunity the camp represents. If you agree to a hundred or so advertisements, you can read the article here. https://www.salisburypost.com/2021/06/24/dreams-of-flight-become-reality-at-ascend-summer-camp/
I gave a short talk about how I got into aviation as someone who flies mostly for pleasure, which was a little bit of a different story for them. What was particularly inspiring was seeing all the young people who’ve participated in ASCEND in year’s past and gone on to start some very impressive careers. They had 4 graduates present today, all of whom have pursued their aviation interest, catalyzed by ASCEND. One young man whom I remember meeting about 5 years ago, was struggling to get his pilot’s license then. He’s now a 2,200+ hour pilot flying corporate and loving it! So neat!
Go ASCEND! EAA founder Paul Poberezny has encouraged the "Spirit of Aviation" which the EAA 1083 members continue to express in inspiring and empowering ways. The volunteer spirit is making some remarkable ripples!
Donald Sweeper is a STEM teacher and a friend of Sugar Valley Airport who wanted to expose his “scholars” to a unique environment and opportunity. On May 6, 2021 Donald Sweeper's group of 5 students and 1 parent from Quality Education Academy (QEA), a charter school in Winston-Salem visited the airport. The afternoon activities included a tour of the maintenance shop by mechanic Nick Tuttle, followed by a walk around explanation by the pilots Sandra Smith and Daniel Lobb on how an airplane achieves flight. The day was capped off by taking a short flight over the countryside. The scholars even had an opportunity to take hold of controls. Mr. Sweeper brought a larger group for a comprehensive aviation day experience in 2019.
If you've been or flown to Sugar Valley in the last couple of months, you may have noticed a new, rebuilt T-hangar, with a bright red roof - a sure landmark for pilots.
We want to thank Kirk Clearly with Clearly's Construction LLC for a fantastic job in breathing new life into the old T-hangar. We have greatly appreciated working with Kirk and his dynamic team!
And here is a little glimpse into the transformation journey, captured by our photographers Deborah Leighton and Aaron Lobb. Enjoy!
This is a list of past events (starting 2020) to offer the viewer a spectrum of programs offered here:
~ 3/3 Sugar Valley Composite Squadron welcomed Charles Willard, who talked about the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute, near Brevard, NC. This is an old NASA tracking station which has been turned into everything from an astronomical research facility to a stem-based summer camp. This event was open to all.
~ 2/13, FAA Safety Seminar: "When an Annual Inspection Does Not Go Right"
Topic: Failure to Follow Maintenance Procedures / Manuals Can Sometimes Have Disastrous Consequence
In this Seminar, we looked at several accidents related to maintenance personnel who failed to follow the maintenance manual, standard practice, or the manufacturer procedures.