Friday, July 8, 2011

Short Wing Family

We had a great time at the Short Wing Piper Club convention, the annual gathering of people who own, fly and simply admire "short wing" Piper airplanes. This year's convention was held in Spearfish, South Dakota. About 170 people attended and 42 Short Wings airplanes.

The convention is full of social activities, some meetings and presentations and a lot of hanging out and looking at airplanes. It's the ninth convention our family has attended, last year we flew to Middletown, Ohio and other years have brought us to Vancouver, WA and as far northeast as Kingston, Ontario, Canada. We figure that since 2003 we've flown over 8,300 miles in our little Pacer just attending conventions. That's about 80 some hours in a little airplane.

This year I, Owen and the kids did a presentation titled "Short Wing Family" at the convention. The secondary title, by the way, was "How to fly all over the country with your family and still like each other when you get back home." We've never done a presentation as a family so it was a bit nerve wracking to prepare for it and run through things before we went live - but it turned out well.

Some people who couldn't attend requested that I post our slideshow so I'm including it in my blog entry today. Find the link to "Short Wing Family" at the end of this blog entry and click to open it. Now, keep in mind that looking at 60 slides is not as much fun as experiencing the family-led presentation and hearing stories like how Ryan used to think our airplane was voice activated or how important it is to make sure everyone goes to the bathroom before you set off on a long journey. But it's the best I can do.

Here's a bit of set up of what we did for our presentation...The kids handed out little treat bags to everyone who attended - each zip-lock baggie had inside two pipe cleaners, a Dove Promise candy and a sucker. During the presentation, I explained why each of these things, including the zip-lock baggie, are important when flying with kids. We gave out chocolate to anyone who asked questions (something borrowed from fabulous author Lorna Landvik who gives out candy at her book readings) and put forth a pipe cleaner art challenge to the members of the audience. The winner (someone made a cool airplane with two pipe cleaners) got a prize.

By the way, since you weren't at the presentation you may still be wondering what the pipe cleaners are all about - I read a suggestion in a parenting magazine years ago that pipe cleaners are a great thing to give kids on road trips. The idea is that they, instead of saying they are bored, will make things out of them. I decided to equip the kids with pipe cleaners on our flights and though they don't totally eliminate boredom they do help.
Here's Rose in our Pacer with some flowers she made from pipe cleaners

As for the suckers? They are a little something to help keep the kids quiet. The chocolate? Something I need to survive every trip. As for the zip-lock baggie? We recommend you travel with gallon-size zip-lock baggies. They are great for trash and putting stuff in...and are a perfect barf bag (we've only had to use one enroute once but won't fly without them).

Blue Skies!

Short Wing Family (Adobe PDF file)

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