The King Air Academy’s third King Air Gathering (KAG) was the largest one yet with 80 people attending and 42 King Airs flying in that filled the ramp at Gillespie County Airport (T82).
Held Sept. 28-29, 2018, the Hangar Hotel and Conference Center located on T82 at Fredericksburg, Texas, was the perfect setup to hold the event. The King Airs were parked right on the ramp in from of the hotel and conference center, so it was easy to go look at the vendor-improved aircraft on display, as well as the other attendees’ King Airs. For those who could arrive early, a golf tournament was held Thursday, Sept. 27 at the Lady Bird Golf Course located near the airport.
Friday morning started off with a keynote presentation by Dr. David Strahle, Father of Datalink NEXRAD and King Air 200 owner/pilot. Attendees listened intently as Dr. Strahle discussed how to interpret various NEXRAD images and other weather information on specific websites and using it in advanced preflight planning. Friday afternoon, King Air expert and King Air magazine columnist Tom Clements presented his keynote talk which included accident reviews of “nonevent results that turn into a catastrophe,” King Air best practices, etc. During a break, one of the very few Beechcraft Starships that is still flying surprised everyone by flying by and landing to allow those who were interested to look over.
There were two full days of presentations given by King Air experts focusing on upgrades and modifications – avionics, engines, performance, fuel and weight enhancements; a return on investment perspective; planning for cost-effective maintenance; using maintenance consultants; the importance of acceptance inspections and flights – pre-buy, maintenance, etc.; how to efficiently run your engine, and more. King Air owners/pilots also had time to visit the many vendors who exhibited at the event, which provided an extra benefit for attending.
Friday after the seminars, attendees and their spouses had the opportunity to socialize with vendors and other King Air owners at a cocktail party compliments of Blackhawk Modifications (cocktails) and Lee Aerospace (hors d’oeuvres). Hosted in the Pacific Showroom of the Hangar Hotel and Conference Center, it provided the same World War II “feel” as the hotel and presentation room and gave everyone a surreal step back into aviation history.
Saturday ended with Keynote Speaker Captain Chuck “Sly” Magill, retired U.S. Marine Corps, who delivered his experience and insight from being a naval aviator in Desert Storm and Desert Shield to his civilian life of Flight Operations at Southwest Airlines.
This third Gathering provided activities for spouses and guests during the day, and Fredericksburg had a lot to offer. On Friday, a group visited Main Street Fredericksburg that showcased shopping at over 150 boutiques, art galleries, wine tasting rooms, and a lunch at one of the special restaurants. Saturday, guests visited Wildseed Farm, the nation’s largest working wildflower farm where visitors saw the blooming fields and plant nursery. After that, they enjoyed a six-course lunch and sample wine pairing at the Woodrose Winery.
Thanks to Platinum sponsors Textron Aviation and Blackhawk Modifications; Freeflight Systems, who sponsored the coffee and pastry bar each morning; Pratt & Whitney who sponsored lunch each day; the many exhibitors who attended, and King Air Academy for setting up and hosting the event.
Stay tuned for details regarding King Air IV or visit the website at www.KingAirGathering.com.