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EAA / Hoosier Hospitality for the Super Bowl

Chapter 1354 helps Greenwood Airport handle increased operations

Pipistrel Taurus G4
EAA Chapter 1354 President Rich Quinnette was one of a dozen chapter members to volunteer at Greenwood Airport for the Super Bowl.

Pipistrel Taurus G4
After flying in for the Super Bowl, several jets and a Cherokee Six parked at Greenwood Airport.

By Steve Schapiro, EAA 1018168, for EAA.org

February 16, 2012 – Super Bowl Sunday, February 5, in Indianapolis was, according to area FBO operators, "the biggest day in Indiana aviation history." And EAA Chapter 1354 played an important role in making sure everything went smoothly and safely at Greenwood Municipal Airport, located 10 miles south of Lucas Oil Stadium, and one of eight area airports that took parking reservations for a record 1,100 private aircraft.

Chapter President Rich Quinnette, EAA 257995, said about a dozen chapter members joined airport staff, Civil Air Patrol members, and other local pilots to help out. The volunteers parked and fueled aircraft, worked the front desk, and provided food and refreshments to the flight crews. "We were at the airport’s beck and call," said volunteer Alan Gluff.

Ralph Hill, owner of the FBO Lighthouse Flight Support and operator of the airport, lauded the effort. "People were willing and capable. I didn't have any fear having them on the ramp handling safety," he said.

"Part of that is EAA; they know what to do."

Added Dave Kovachs, president of the city board of aviation commissioners, "A lot of EAA members chipped in and helped. It's that volunteer spirit."

Wade Kohlman, EAA 1058067, who worked the desk answering phones and taking pilot and aircraft information, mentioned several chapter members opened their homes to pilots who couldn't find hotel rooms. Some EAAers allowed pilots use of their vehicles, while others cooked chili and provided fresh fruit and vegetables for a Super Bowl party at the FBO. "Hoosier hospitality is taking over," Quinnette said. "It's great to see us becoming a community again."

Although the 750 aircraft that parked at Indianapolis International dwarfed the 30 that flew into Greenwood, the star power did not. "One of the best things for me was seeing Joe Namath," Quinnette said. "He came in yesterday and left this morning, real early." Green Bay Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk and UFC fighter Dan Henderson also flew in together on Sunday morning, and the staff from Rolling Stone magazine, which hosted one of the most popular pre-game parties on Saturday night, chose to fly into Greenwood.

Possibly the best compliment Hill received was a call on Tuesday after the game from someone wanting to know if they were taking reservations for the Indy 500. The caller's father had flown in for the Super Bowl and recommend Greenwood based on his positive experience.

"I can't imagine how it could have gone any better. The guys just did a great job," Hill said. "I know if I call EAA it's going to get done. Their attitude is, 'How can we help?' It's who they are."

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