VASI March 2019 Meeting Recap

VASI March 2019 Meeting Recap

Recap:  VASI March Meeting

Another well attended meeting at Venice City Hall.  A number of aviation enthusiasts from as far away as Punta Gorda were in attendance to listen in and learn about the history of Jet engines.

Scholarship Update

Our VASI board member, Doug Griffin gave an update about the status of aviation related scholarships given to local youth by the local pilot community.  And what an impressive report that was!

If you remember from the last newsletter, I mentioned that Sun-n-Fun as well as VASI were donating three scholarships.  Well through Doug’s efforts that number has gone up to six!

Count’em six scholarships – for a total of $22,000 dollars. 

As you know college is so expensive these days that students cobble together as many scholarships as they can to help take the edge off.  With the pilot shortage and college being so expensive this is probably one of the best community outreach activities done by VASI and EAA local.

Although these are not all final.  We are looking at:

  • VASI for $1000 (two at $500 each);
  • Sun-n-Fun for $10,000
  • AOPA for $10,000; and,
  • EAA local chapter for $1000 (two $500 donations)

Scholarships are usually awarded in May at the VHS commencement ceremonies so we will learn about them soon enough.  To keep things impartial, scholarships are awarded by the school based on merit and need.

Airport Update

Mark Cervasio, Jim Eppley along with the new Property Grant Manager, Wendy Keller presented the membership with a detailed presentation outlining Airport’s planned improvements.

You can download a copy of the presentation slides by clicking here. And then you can follow along with my notes below.

Slide 1 – 4: Amazing airport improvements that many of us have all already seen, but did you know that the Airport had the contractor setup a concrete crushing station onsite to reuse the concrete as underlayment for the asphalt?  Rather than produce material that would have to be hauled away and dumped at expense all material was reused in an environmentally sound fashion.

Slide 5: Taxiway “D” work to be performed at night to minimize interruptions to aircraft traffic.

Slide 6: New Admin building to support much needed amenities along with additional conference room space.  And the room will be air conditioned!  Woohoo!

Slide 7: Will replace and upgrade the gates and install new cameras.

Slide 8: Washracks are delayed due to bids coming in above budget.  Still in the works though and it will be a concrete slab with drainage for the runoff.  They will be for exclusive use of the tenants as they will use their swipe card to activate the service.  Gives Hangar tenants another thing to brag about KVNC!

Slide 9: Taxiway “A” drainage correction.  No more puddles after rainfall.

Slide 10, 11:  Safety – Fire Marshall inspections will be looking for extensions cords and storage of hazardous material and flammables.  In one case storage of open fuel and empty cans of oil contributed to a major fire at a hanger.

For a list of what is permissible to be stored at KVNC hangars click here to download the notice from the Venice Fire Department.

For more information of what type of extension cords are permitted click here to download that recommendation.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THESE REGS COME FROM THE FIRE MARSHAL AND NOT THE AIRPORT ADMIN, and they are way tougher to deal with than Jim (but its close)

Slide 12:  Parking automobiles on the grass near taxiways is dangerous for the aircraft passing by.  In one case a heavy aircraft had to maneuver very close to the edge of the grass to navigate around a parked car.  Aircraft stuck in dirt are difficult to extract.

Related to that – do not drive on taxiways on your way to the FBO/ Restaurant from the Hangars.  Larger jets do not see the smaller vehicles.  Please exit the gate and drive on the public road to your destination and then reenter at a different gate.

No long-term parking  is allowed in the tie down areas.  Parked cars will pose a problem if in the event of an emergency or routine maintenance they need to be moved by the Airport.

Slide 13: Fly Friendly.  This has been covered here before but as another reminder click here to download the recommended procedures to reduce noise and keep our local residents happy.  We are glad that Jim brought this up again as it has been a focus of VASI Board’s attention this season more than previous years.

Altogether VASI greatly appreciates the Airport Administration sending three senior representatives to our meeting and taking the time to not only give us an update about all the exciting new improvements but to also field a number of questions from the membership.

In fact many of our members showed in force for the Airport’s mandatory public presentation held on March 28th in support of the plans.  We thank all members who responded to our call for participation.

GE Jet Engines History

Our main speaker of the night was Terry Viel of Venice. He is a recently retired GE Aircraft Engineer. He worked at GE Evendale Aircraft Engines for 25 years as a Senior Engineer. Retired in 2009 and worked as a consultant from 2010 to 2015. He worked in development Engine Testing in the instrumentation area, applying instrumentation on engine components for stationary as well as rotating sensors.

His multi-media presentation was full of cool pictures of various historical as well as state of the art engines.  I apologize that I was not able to get his presentation in time for this writing – but will get them and upload to the website.  Here are some highlights of what impressed me the most about the information that he shared with us.

Wrights Brother plant continued to build aircraft engines well into the war and manufactured a few radial engines.  Those Radial engine which were state of the art along with prop driven warbirds became obsolete by the German invention of the Junker Jumo 004 jet engines.    Far more superior than the Allies state of the art fighter planes being the P51s.  The German Jet Engines had approximately 1000 lbf which means that it was about 90mph faster!

After the war with the captured German technology, innovation in jet engines accelerated through to the 60’s with lots of experiments.  Even a nuclear powered engine (X211) was designed in 1950’s designed to almost run forever!
Fast forward to today – the latest GE9x engines cost $50MM and put out something like 99,000 lbf of thrust.
They are significantly more complicated with attention given to shapes of blades that are now mostly made out of composite material
This exponential increase in complexity of newer jet engines has made the job of testing them an art form.  Our speaker, Terry Viel, spent a lifetime at the GE Evendale plant testing them.

According to Terry, when you have to monitor, for example, fan blades that spin at supersonic speeds at their tips and can reach temperatures of 2000 F and are subjected to 100,000 Gs you can well imagine that the sensors are marvels of engineering themselves.


Once all the sensors are hooked up the engines are then subjected to a full suite of tests.  For example, they are subjected to cross wind tests of 100’s mile per hour winds using special fans through to bird ingest testing.

They shoot 16 small, 7 medium and one large bird during each test!  Well not really, they were gel packs of the right density and weight.  Before you say “but wait what happened at the miracle on the Hudson”, remember that was a whole flocks of Canada geese (large birds) that got sucked into BOTH engines.  The pilot in command did his job and found the nearest landing spot after that.

So the jet engines that we take for granted have evolved significantly since those German inventors during WWII and a lot of it happened at GE.

We thank our speaker and Venice resident, Terry Viel, for assembling an intriguing set of slides and videos and more over we thank Chas Pickering for inviting him to our meeting.  Thanks Chas.

By the way, if you know anyone interesting who can do a presentation that you think would be interesting to the membership please send an email to

By: Sina Adibi, VASI Communications

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