We went searching for a place to host the 75th anniversary of the Birddog, which is only a year and a half away from now. What we found in Topeka was the BEST FBO we have ever run across in all of our travels back and forth across this great country. Million Air was the FBO on the field. They have ample room for 50 aircraft to tie down, a GIANT hangar that would easily hold 50 Birddogs if we needed it for weather protection, a large meeting room, a grill that operates in the morning and early afternoon, three aircraft museums on the field and over 19800 feet of runways. Drawbacks? Hotels are 6 miles away.
While in Topeka we drove down to Colonel James Jabara Airport in Wichita. The Jabara airport is a public airport with one runway and no in-concrete tie-downs. There is a large area where we could park in the grass and tie down using our Oshkosh tie-down experience and our own driven-in-the ground tie-downs. No control tower and their primary focus are business jets.
We spoke with the principle FBO operator (Dwayne Clemens) and he told us they have hosted the 195 club there before. He also is the principle behind Stearman Field just south of Benton, KS. That airport has a bar and restaurant, a 5100 foot runway, with no in-concrete tie-downs and very little grass to use your own tie-downs. Hotels are 20 minutes south in Wichita.
I envision the event would be held in the first week of September 2025, as most of the summer heat and thunderstorms are gone by that time. Topeka and Wichita are near the center of the Continental US and would make flight times for those on the east and west coasts relatively equal.
I plan on contacting Cessna and asking for permission to land on the old Pawnee Plant airstrip where every Birddog built by Cessna was born. I would also ask them to pay for a catered lunch on that airstrip. If we base out of Topeka, the flight times to Wichita would only be a little over an hour (108nm).
VERY IMPORTANT: What I need to know from the membership is…who would make every effort to attend. You can respond with the “contact us” button or email Minard