The airport social scene

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Old Airport Terminal

The airport social scene

I was lucky to get to work for the FBO in my hometown after flight school to build hours. It was one of the most memorable times of my life.

To set the stage, Duncan (KDUC), is a small town of 25,000 located 50nm south of Oklahoma City. Due to a large oil company being based we inherited a sizable 6326′ runway.

Working at the FBO it became my home – as a guy in my early 20s where else would I go? We didn’t really have a schedule and things were popping up all the time; being there assured you didn’t miss out on the action.


Some of the gang from Brewer Aviation

And there was plenty of action. I was juggling students, corporate flights, maintenance test hops, and ferry flights, all in a myriad of different airplanes. The flying was awesome and I was at the top of my game.

I wasn’t making any money, but I was learning an immense amount about flying and the industry – the stuff they don’t teach you in flight school.

One of the cool things about that operation was the social aspect. On any given day the FBO lobby would have a half-dozen folks conversing about all sorts of topics.

The conversations ranged from politics to local news and of course, flying. It was like the set of Cheers. Amazingly, with all the opining and editorializing going on, I don’t recall any real arguments. Oh we certainly had disagreements, but in spite of the tabu nature of some of the topics, it stayed civil.

A couple of the guys were pretty self-righteous, but everyone knew how to deal with them. Plus right or wrong, they were the topic of some of the conversations when they weren’t around.

I am sure this kind of environment exists in FBOs across the country. As I get older and more sentimental, the more I miss those days.

The activity on the airport grew immensely over those years and continued to grow after I left. That is the power of community and I’m sure it was a large reason for our success. We created an atmosphere that made people feel like they belonged to something greater than themselves.

About 15 years after I left Duncan, the owner sold the FBO. When I walk into that shiny new  building today I don’t know anyone, but I am sure they are carrying on many of the same traditions, but with a different cast of characters.

I kept hearing the theme of Cheers the whole time I was writing this article – don’t tell my AME.

by Brent

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