May 2019 Newsletter

New Member Profile – JAMES REITZ

The Back 40 Flying Club welcomes one of our newest members, James Reitz. James has always been a neighbor to aviation, as he grew up in Ludwig Park, just south of Smith Field Airport. While he did a few Young Eagles flights as a young boy, and spent a lot of time playing Microsoft Flight Simulator, it was a Discovery Flight at Sweet Aviation just a few years ago that convinced him that he had to get his pilot’s license.

He started his flight training at Sweet Aviation, but soon transferred to Century Aviation in Auburn and finished his instruction under CFI Lara Gaerte. James completed his checkride in January of 2019 and joined the .2% of Americans that hold a Private Pilot’s Certificate.

James contacted the Back 40 just prior to completing his checkride. As much as he loved flying at Century Aviation, after-hours availability of airplanes was a significant impediment to his ability to fly around his schedule. After meeting with David Wilkins and learning more about the club, he joined in February, and has recently completed his checkout rides in both Back 40 airplanes.

James is a Project Manager for the City of Fort Wayne, where he designs roadway projects. He obtained his degree in Construction Engineering from IPFW in 2016. James also has a Part 107 Unmanned Aerial Systems license, and flys drones commercially for both the City of Fort Wayne, and for Aerial View Solutions, a company that he began as a hobby a few years ago. (www. fwavs.com) The City of Fort Wayne just purchased a $30,000 drone that will be used for – among other things – bridge inspections, flood control, and surveying. James is excited to be the captain of this new, high-end drone.

Fort Wayne’s Newest Drone
The highway project on Dupont Road
Headwaters project

Life is about to change even more for James in the coming months as he is engaged to be married this July in the Dominican Republic. He said that his fiance’ Stephanie didn’t really understand his passion for aviation, until he was able to take her flying. “Now,” says James, “she understands!”

When asked about his initial impressions of the Back 40, James lists the quality and highly maintained fleet, the full service and heated hanger, and the virtually around-the-clock availability of planes. The Class C airspace was initially intimidating, but he now says that he feels much more comfortable, and more importantly, safer knowing that there is always an extra set of eyes watching over him. One of James’ constructive criticisms of the club – the need for better communication – fostered the launch of this newsletter.

Welcome James! We are glad to have you a part of our club.


62503 Annual

New Shimmy Damper

Skyhawk N62503 completed annual inspection in March. A summary of the annual, which cost the club $X,XXX, is included below. The Back 40 has, and always will maintain their fleet to the highest standards. This can be an expensive proposition, but the safety and reliability of our airplanes is of the highest importance. Plus, keeping current on maintenance and repairs helps prevent “Annual sticker shock.”

This is another example of why “It’s better in a Club.” The cost of the annual is covered by the hourly rates paid by members. There has never been an assessment for members of the Back 40.

  • New Lord Shimmy Damper
  • New pilot-side shoulder harness support

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