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2011 Central Ohio Aviation Holiday Dinner


Villa Milano Banquet & Conference Center - Tuesday, December 6th.

We're happy to announce the final report on this year's Holiday Dinner which is co-hosted with The Professional Pilots Association.


The dinner was held at Villa Milano Banquet and Conference Center which is located at 1630 Schrock Road, Columbus, Ohio 43229 just to the east of Westerville. We want to thank Villa Milano and their staff for a wonderful evening of Holiday spirit. Please Click Here for a map and directions to their Banquet and Conference facility.

The social gathering started at 5:30 pm with dinner being served around 6:30 pm. The night included presentations by COPAMA President, Gene Sprang, PPA President, Tom Lusch and PAMA President, Dale Forton.

About the Holiday Dinner.

There's something about this time of year that draws people together to share in the festivities of the Holiday season. This event allows friends, spouses, friends and families to enjoy good food, a light non-technical aviation presentation and a night of fun and prizes. Regardless of where you're from or what your beliefs, we share the bonds of peace and joy the Holidays bring.

This was the third year that we held the event at Villa Milano and, while we've worried in the past about not having enough space, there's plenty of room for all who wish to attend at this venue. The decorations that greet you at the entrance of the restaurant are sure to get you in the spirit of this marvelous time of tinsel, trees, lights and music.


This year's Program

Central Ohio PAMA Chapter

Our guests arrived and co-mingled, selecting their tables and getting various beverages at the bar. We made pre-purchased beverage tickets available which could be used by vendors to provide a Holiday drink to their patrons. Smiles adorned the faces of almost all the attendees as they exchanged light conversation during the social gathering.

COPAMA President Gene Sprang welcomed everyone around 6:30 and our guests made their way to the buffet tables to receive portions of salad, beef and chicken, mixed vegetables and lasagna. A selection of deserts and spumoni ice cream finished out the meal.

 Bill Reinert receives Award Plaque from Gene Sprang.  COPAMA President Gene Sprang addresses the attendees.

 Ken Wilson and his wife

At the conclusion of dinner, Gene Sprang started to program by updating the group about some of the events of 2011. The Maintenance Symposium which is co-hosted with Columbus States Aviation Maintenance Technology and the Central Ohio Aviation Golf Outing were reviewed. Gene reported that the total scholarship awards from the COPAMA Scholarship Fund was $67,258.00 to date. These funds help reimburse student Aviation Maintenance Technicians for Tuition and Testing Fees that now total $975.00 to complete their A&P certification. This year those funds also helped provide contributions to Youth Aviation Adventures, District Science Day participants and the Champaign Aviation Museum to support their B-17 restoration project.

Gene then presented an appreciation plaque to outgoing board member, Bill Reinert, for his two terms on the COPAMA board and serving as Treasurer for 2011. He also acknowledged the 2012 board with a special welcome to Chuck Jenkins who was newly elected in November for the 2012-13 term.

The program included the acknowledgement of Charles Taylor Awards received by two local AMTs this year. The awards were given to John Harris and Ken Wilson and are the highest Maintenance Award given by the Federal Aviation Administration requiring 50 years of activity in the aviation industry. We were happy to have Ken Wilson and his wife Pat, with us in attendance.

Volunteers work at the raffle tables. PAMA President Dale Forton speaks to group.


The podium was then passed to visiting PAMA President, Dale Forton who gave an update on the move of PAMA National Head Quarters from Washington D.C. to Iona, Michigan. He discussed issues that confront AMTs and how the organization represents them on a national basis. He also presented Jeff Gruber a Certificate of Appreciation for his long time contributions to COPAMA, the PAMA National Board and his current position as Vice-Chairman.

Professional Pilots Association

PPA President Tom Lusch Greg Kulis introduces Mike Strahle

Mike Strahle speaks about the Lima Company Memorial Mike Stehle talks to guests after dinner.

Next, PPA President Tom Lusch spoke to the group about their organization and their honorary award of PPA certificate 1000 to Santa Clause for his long term safety record of aviation operations over the years. He then called on Greg Kulis to introduce Mike Strahle of the Lima Company Memorial for an update on this local project.

Mike informed us that R+L Carriers of Wilmington, Ohio had become a much welcomed sponsor of the Memorial, providing needed funding to help make the display more mobile to share with our nation. It is the creation of Anita Miller of Worthington, Ohio, who painted the eight panels displaying the images of the 23 members of Lima Company who gave their lives in service to our country in Iraq back in 2005. The memorial has been displayed in the rotunda of the Ohio State Capital as well as many other venues around the United States.

The Memorial will be featured in commercials during game of the December 17th R+L Carriers Bowl in New Orleans. R+L has also started a program to display the memorial images using appliqués on the side of a number of their semi-trailers, raising awareness of the fallen and the Memorial to remember their sacrifice.

The 50/50 Raffle dedicated as a contribution for Lima Company was held and won by Jay Randall of Constant Aviation. We want to thank Jay for donating his share of the raffle back to the Memorial making them a total donation of $340.00


The Main Presentation.

Jerry Hissem during Goodyear presentation  Jerry speaks to the attendees.

Guest Speaker - Mr. Jerry Hissem - Chief Pilot - "Spirit of Goodyear" Blimp
Topic: "Goodyear Airship Operations: Past, Present and Future"

Jerry started his presentation with a brief review of his aviation career which has roots here in Central Ohio including how he got the job at Goodyear and the various positions he's held there. The group saw a short video of the history of the Goodyear Airship program with old film footage of the early blimps, the Airdock in Akron, Ohio, their dirigible projects and the ground crews and support equipment that travel with the current blimps on the road. Three blimps are used here in the United States with their bases being located in California, Florida and here in Ohio.

Throughout the presentation, he explained facts and functions of the Goodyear Airship operations, with the discussion of the "Top 10 Questions" from all the various groups they come in contact with.  We want to thank him for making the trip to Columbus and entertaining the group with information about the history of Goodyear Aviation and their upcoming Zeppelins set to go into service in the next few years.

We've included a link in the topic line above to Goodyear's Airship website so you can learn more about their distinct contribution to aviation. We want to thank Jerry for being a part of the Holiday Dinner and Goodyear for all they do to promote aviation and make sporting events even more enjoyable.

Jerry after the presentation


The Holiday Dinner Sponsors.

We want to thank all of this year's Sponsors of our Holiday Dinner!


Diamond Sponsor  Lane Aviation

Gold Sponsors        Duncan Aviation, Hawker Beechcraft Services and Honeywell Aerospace

Silver Sponsors      Bombardier AerospaceComlux Aviation, Constant Aviation, Dallas Airmotive,
                               Standard Aero, and West Star Aviation

Bronze Sponsors   Aerodynamics Inc (ADI), Aircell, Apex Aircraft DetailingCAMP Systems,
                               Flight Safety International, Rapco, Inc, Spirit Avionics and Stevens Aviation


We also want to thank....

All the sponsors that provided raffle prizes for the 50/50 and Sam Dodge Memorial fundraisers.


The Villa Milano and their staff for all their help, food and beautiful accommodations.


Jeff Gruber, all the presenters and volunteers that helped make this event so enjoyable.


Holiday Dinner 2011

The Holiday Dinner features good food, friends, family, raffle prizes and fun in a festive setting.


Jeff Gruber - Holiday Dinner Chairperson
C/O Columbus State Community College
5355 Alkire Road, Columbus, Ohio 43228
For Info call 614/327-8187 or 614/287-7105
614/287-7103 Fax

COPAMA and Professional Pilots Association are both 501(C)(3) Non-Profit Organizations