With this FIRST Newsletter, the Catholic Aviation Association, under the patronage of Our Lady of Loreto, begins a Membership and Fundraising Drive to build an Aviation Corps for our Lord Jesus Christ so that our lofty goals, inspired by the Holy Spirit, may begin to be realized. These GOALS are to:
- Witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ in the aviation world.
- Establish a nationwide network of Chapters to support all those interested or involved in the field of aviation in a community of Faith, Flying and Fellowship.
- Establish a nationwide network of flying clubs, to be known as Cupertino Aviation Clubs (CACs), which will provide for Affordable Flying while Affirming Values.
- Promote the involvement of young people in the field of aviation and rebuild the pilot population through low cost flying and free flight instruction.
This last goal is particularly important for two reasons.
Firstly, and most importantly, many youth have lost the hope that they can rise above their circumstances to achieve their Dream of Flying. CAA believes that the skills and lessons learned in flying, and passed on by dedicated mentors, will help young men and women be more successful in all aspects of their lives. For this reason, CAA is dedicated to giving the opportunity to learn to fly to ALL those who look to the sky longingly and wish to soar with the eagles.
Secondly, there is a severe shortage of young men and women entering aviation careers, particularly as pilots, in the U.S. and around the world. The high cost of flying has discouraged many from pursuing their desire to become aviators. With the CAA club model, the cost of acquiring a Private Pilot (Glider or LSA) license can be reduced to less than 1/3 the traditional cost. As an added benefit, CFIs will be able to build flight time at no cost to themselves. (More about this will be said below.)
Our goals can only be realized with the help of the People of God. All of us, by pitching in a little, can accomplish great things for God. Please read below about our "Christfunding" campaign and our plan to build a Virtual Airport from which to launch our efforts.
Finally, I appeal to you to enlist in our Aviation Corps and become a part of our growing organization; an organization which promises the creation of a new paradigm in the world of aviation that will enable more people to enjoy its wonder and radically change our approach to training future generations in the art of living and flying.
May God bless you always,
Thomas Joseph Beckenbauer
Our Lady of Loreto, pray for us.
You've no doubt heard of "Crowdfunding" campaigns to raise funds for business startups and secular causes. CAA is, instead, launching a "Christfunding" campaign with the goal of raising the Trinitarian sum of $333,000.
For CAA to grow into what God is calling it to be, we will need the support of every person of God who:
- Has looked to the sky and longed to fly
- Knows a young person with the desire to fly or be involved in any field in aviation
- Is already involved in aviation
- Wishes to support those in the aviation world and those who fly or wish to fly
By enlisting in the CAA Aviation Corps and becoming a member during this initial membership drive, you will become one of the foundation stones of an organization, built with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone, which will positively impact our culture. Through CAA, you will help launch an air arm of God's people that will spread the Good News of God's love and mercy through our country, and, eventually, the world, while supporting general aviation.
To achieve the goals stated by our president, an Aviation Corps, with a Headquarters and Base of Operations, must be built. Under the guidance of Our Lady of Loreto, Patroness of Aviation, this effort is underway.
The First Step in our building plan, establishing a Headquarters, has been realized with the constitution of a Board of Directors, the designation of CAA as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the development of a website and a presence in social media on Facebook and Twitter.
Our Second Step, building a Base of Operations, will be accomplished by creating a Virtual Airport, to be known as Mercy Airfield, on our website.
From the resources obtained to build this virtual airport, CAA will continue the development and refinement of its prototype Chapter and Club. These prototypes will serve as the blueprints for establishing Chapters and Clubs around the country, and allow us to grow an Aviation Corps for the Lord capable of training future generations, combating the declining culture we witness all around us and rebuilding general aviation.
The building process will begin with the goal of building a 3,330 foot virtual runway, paved with 5550 virtual bricks at a cost of $60 per brick. This will enable us to reach our initial fundraising goal of $333,000. This amount will be used as follows:
- $3,000 - Support the first Cupertino Aviation Club for 1 year of operation
- $30,000 - Support the CAA Headquarters for 6 months of operation
- $300,000 - Enable CAA Headquarters to hire needed staff, develop promotional materials, provide a presence at events like Sun 'n Fun, EAA Air Venture and AOPA Regional Fly-ins, purchase an airplane for the first CAC and fund the Scholarship program (note: 10% of all funds raised go into the scholarship fund.).
Bricks may be laid in our runway through donations of $60 per brick. Donors will be recognized according to the following levels of support:
- Student Member: $24.00
- (Note: Student is defined as ages 14-18 or up to 26 for full time student status)
- Member: $60.00
- Saint: $120.00 - $239.00
- Angel: $240 - $719.00
- Archangel: $720 and up (Lifetime Membership)
Each virtual brick may be inscribed to recognize or memorialize a person, event, thought, quote, business, etc., and will be clickable. If provided, a picture, article, obituary, website, etc. will pop up when the brick is clicked.
You can enlist in the CAA Aviation Corps here and, if you wish, specify in the memo section that you want to be contacted about what to put on your brick(s).
CAA cannot succeed without your help! As a start-up organization we have many needs. The primary need, of course, is funds. No amount is too little. Every dollar will help us grow. If you don't wish to become a member, but want to support us, you can make a donation of any amount here.
CAA Chapters are the key to the success of CAA. They will serve as the local Air Corps Units where members may gather together to enjoy Faith, Flying and Fellowship. In each Chapter, we hope members will support one another as we endeavor to live life to the fullest and share in God's gift of aviation to us.
Chapters are open to all the People of God who are the Journey of Discovery to find out what God's specific purpose is for them. One doesn't need to be a pilot, or a Catholic, to join in the camaraderie and activities of a Chapter. Only a desire to support general aviation, as well as to grow in your faith, is needed.
Please visit the CAA website for more information about our vision for Chapters.
We all know that flying is expensive and that one of the keys to rebuilding general aviation and the pilot population is bringing down the cost. To that end, there are any number of aircraft sharing and Flying Club arrangements that have been established. Another key to success that has been identified in studies conducted by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) is establishing a friendly community environment where likeminded people may gather together and share their passion for flying.
Cupertino Aviation Clubs, under the patronage of St. Joseph of Cupertino will combine the best that traditional flying clubs have to offer and make it better through Affordable Flying while Affirming Values.
Two approaches will be followed to make flying more affordable.
Firstly, it is CAA's goal to assist CACs in acquiring aircraft. The investment required to lease or purchase an aircraft is often the limiting factor in establishing a club. By relying on the solidarity of People of God, CAA will raise the funds to provide aircraft to establish clubs.
Secondly, the aircraft provided will be economical to operate. In some locations, that aircraft will be a glider or motorglider. In others, it will be a Light Sport Aircraft (LSA). Additionally, CAA is looking at a new breed of aircraft in development, the electric aircraft, as a way to reduce operational costs to a level previously unthinkable. This will enable many current pilots to keep flying and many more people who previously could not afford it, especially youth, to learn to fly.
Here is a good place to mention another dimension of the CAC model, one designed to help members learn more about God's Way and enable them to provide a positive influence on our culture. By associating the lessons learned in flying with the truths that God teaches as to how best live our lives, CACs will serve as Beacons of Light, Affirming Values that will be visible to our culture. This is most important as we consider reaching out to our young people and helping them along life's journey.
One more thought to consider: CACs are built on the concept on providing free flight instruction to members. Combining low cost operations with free flight instruction will enable outreach to the local community and draw people, particularly young people, into the aviation community. CFIs desiring to pursue a professional flying career will have the opportunity to build flight time, at no cost to themselves, while passing on their knowledge to others. This concept should be particularly appealing to students enrolled in college and university flight training programs who have become CFIs and need to build time. A club established near their college is a win-win-win combination for the members of the club, for the CFI and for the local community.
Over the past several months, CAA has been recognized in various ways. Below are links that you may click to see what is being said about us.
Associations NOW: Fellowship in the Sky: Catholic Aviation Group Takes Flight
The Catholic Moment: New group takes off with focus on faith, flying, fellowship
Catholic Radio: Faith in Action: The Catholic Aviation Association Podcast
CAA has established the Peter P. Philhower Youth Aviation Scholarship Fund to help support youth in their aviation pursuits. Ten percent of all donations go into this fund. On February 28, 2015, Matthew Farrell, a freshman at Guerin Catholic High School in Noblesville, In, was the first recipient of this scholarship. Matt is a member of the Guerin High School Golden Eagles Squadron, a Cupertino Aviation Club established in the fall of 2014. He has already started his flying lessons at the Central Indiana Soaring Society Gliderport in Alexandria, IN, where he is flying a Blanik L-23 sailplane (see picture below).
On February 28, 2015, the CAA Chapter #1 held a breakfast gathering for aviation enthusiasts in the Indianapolis, IN area. Over 60 people turned out and learned about the vision and mission of the Association from our president, Tom Beckenbauer. It was a great beginning for this prototype chapter, which will serve as a model for the development of future chapters. You may read more about this event here.
In the Fall of 2014, the first High School Cupertino Aviation Club was formed at Guerin Catholic High School in Noblesville, IN.
Known as the Golden Eagles Squadron, 13 cadets first participated in a presentation of the Youth Aviation Adventure (YAA) program. Next, they began basic ground school training. Various aviation topics were covered in preparation for their next phase of training: Simulated flying using the Condor, The Competition Soaring Simulator . Several cadets, who had taken an EAA Young Eagle flight, arranged in coordination with EAA Chapter 67, augmented their classroom work with the Sporty's Private Pilot Course, a free benefit of the EAA Young Eagles program. One cadet, Matt Farrell, has started his flight training and several more will begin training during a Youth Aviation Summer Camp to be held this summer at the Central Indiana Soaring Society Gliderport (CISS) in Alexandria, IN. The Squadron is also now developing a Remote Control (R/C) aircraft flying program. With the assistance of some local Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) members, cadets are practicing on the RealFlight simulator and then flying quadcopters and other aircraft the club has acquired. Looking to the future, the Squadron will continue to build its program, with the goal of providing ground school to those interested in flying, preparing them to take their FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Test, mentoring them in their flight training and acquiring a training glider. Those interested in R/C model will be assisted in developing their skills in both model building and flying in preparation for possible careers in the burgeoning field of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)
As mentioned above, under the section titled An Appeal for Help, CAA has many needs. In this section THREE VERY SPECIFIC NEEDS are mentioned in the hopes that someone will be able to help us quickly fill them.
- Transportation is needed for Brother Joseph of the Servants of the Father of Mercy (an apostolate located in Ventura, CA and dedicated to helping the homeless). He is looking for air transportation to Santa Catalina Island on a Saturday and Sunday in the middle of September, 2015. He has been assigned to speak at a parish in Avalon, by the Archbishop of Los Angles. If you, or anyone you know, can assist by flying him to the island, please contact him at (310) 595-4175
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"In the Divine Comedy, Dante wrote that praying without the patronage of Our Lady is like wanting to fly without wings. Let us then confide to Our Lady this heartfelt yearning and desire. The hands of Mary will be for our prayer a pair of pure wings that will carry it with certainty to the throne of God." (quoted from https://www.americaneedsfatima.org/Our-Blessed-Mother/may-the-month-of-mary.html)
Most Holy Mary, Our Lady of Loreto, we ask you to carry our prayer for the Catholic Aviation Association and the Cupertino Aviation Clubs to God, Our Father.
Oh God, we seek to carry out Your divinely commissioned mission of taking the Good News of of Your Son, Jesus Christ into all the world. We seek, especially, to reach the world of aviation with His redeeming message of hope and salvation. We ask You to send the Holy Spirit before us to inspire the People of God to support this endeavour so that, in this difficult time in our beloved country, we may become a strong aviation arm, to help bring renewal to the culture, and hope, strength and opportunity to those who wish to rise up like eagles. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen
Our Lady of Loreto, Our Lady of Mount Carmel (whose feast day we celebrate today) pray for us.
St. Joseph of Cupertino, pray for us