One Week to the B-17!

The B-17 Aluminum Overcast is due to arrive at Manassas on Wednesday, 10/23/2019; she’s almost here! And we need to get ready. If you haven’t already signed up to help out at, please go there now and pledge your time; we need help every day on the ramp, in the terminal, making and selling lunches, and prepping for (and cleaning up after!) the Friday Big Bomber BBQ at the Chapter House. Many hands make light work; come join the fun!

Our media day on Thursday, 10/24/2019, will be much busier than usual, since the 43rd Bomb Group (5th Air Force) Association is spending the afternoon with us – and that will start with a catered lunch for about 50 people in the terminal lobby at noon. We’ll need to set up tables and chairs before that lunch and clean up afterward. The media flights at 2:00 and 2:30 will include five WWII veterans, so we’ll get to hear some great stories! After the media event, the Bomb Group members will be taking free ground tours through the plane, so our work won’t wrap up until about 4:00 pm.

Friday through Sunday promise to be busy. We’ve already sold 62 seats on the plane, and expect to sell more before she gets here. Keep spreading the word that she’s coming!

And there’s only a few days left to get in on the B-17 raffle! We’ve still got tickets available in both raffles, at $10 each. I’ll be pulling the winning tickets at about 5:00 pm on Saturday, 10/19/2019; do you feel lucky?

Finally, I know there may be some questions and concerns following the Collings Foundation B-17 accident last week. The FAA and NTSB are investigating that accident, and we’re all waiting to learn what happened. Out of respect for all the people affected by that tragedy, EAA did not conduct any flights at their Hyannis, MA tour stop this past weekend, refunding all payments by prebooked passengers, and simply offered free ground tours through the plane. Normal tour operations have now resumed, and the plane will be flying at Westfield, MA this coming weekend.

For anyone concerned, all I can say is, EAA’s safety record operating this B-17 for the past 25 years is stellar. The inspection protocol for this airplane is at an equivalent level of safety to many commercial air operations. Inspections occur every day prior to flight, as well as deeper inspections every 25 hours of flight and major inspections at 125 hours of flight. The required annual inspection looks at every function of the airplane to make sure it is performing at the highest level. Our mechanics are required to have special, specific training on B-17 aircraft. Our pilots each have thousands of hours of piloting time prior to ever applying to be a B-17 pilot, with extensive flying experience in multi-engine aircraft and tailwheel aircraft, and long experience in airline, corporate or military flying. Each pilot candidate is carefully vetted before being allowed to begin training. Those who succeed in the training are then placed in the right seat (second-in-command) for more than a year before they are allowed to serve as pilot-in-command. All pilots must hold FAA commercial pilot certificates, receive and pass annual B-17 recurrent training, and maintain all proper FAA medical certificates to fly the B-17.

We keep her flying to bring living history to people throughout the country, to help people understand the role these aircraft – and all the men and women who built, flew, and maintained them – played in preserving our freedom during World War II.

Be part of that mission. Enlist today.

EAA’s WWII B-17 Aluminum Overcast to Visit Manassas

EAA’s WWII B-17 Aluminum Overcast will be open for flights and ground tours at the Manassas Regional Airport, 10600 Harry J. Parrish Blvd, Manassas, VA 20110, from Friday through Sunday, October 25-27, 2019. Come visit!

Each day, weather permitting, the plane will fly in the morning, and open for ground tours when flight operations cease. The first flight of the day is usually at 10:00 AM, and ground tours typically begin by 2:00 PM. If you want to check the schedule on a specific day to decide when to arrive, you can call the crew that day at 920-371-2244. You’re always welcome to come out to the airport and watch her fly from our viewing area right up close; there’s no charge just to watch from the ground!

If you’d like to book a ride, your best bet is to do it in advance either on the EAA website ( or by calling 800-359-6217. Buying early saves you money! You’ll get the discounted pre-book price of $409 per ticket for EAA members and their guests, or pay $449 for your first non-member ticket. That first non-member ticket price includes a one-year EAA membership, so you’d get any companion tickets at the member price. Pre-booking helps the tour plan efficiently for the stop, so buy now and save!

The flight price goes up once the plane is officially on-site, which happens about 4:00 PM on Thursday, October 24, 2019; at that point, the website sales shut down, and seats become $435 for EAA members and guests, and $475 for non-members. Once the website sales close, you’ll need to call the crew at 920-371-2244 to buy flights at the on-site price. Don’t count on seats being available if you walk up on the day; call ahead if you can!

Unlike flight sales, ground tours don’t go on sale until we’re actually ready to run them each day Friday through Sunday, from the time the plane stops flying until the end of each day at 5:00 PM. We’ll stop selling tickets some time before 5:00 based on the crowd size, to make certain that everyone who buys a ticket will be able to get through the plane before 5:30 PM, or a bit earlier if we need to schedule a late afternoon flight to accommodate the demand. Ground tour tickets are $10 for an individual, or $20 for a whole immediate family, no matter how many kids you’ve got! Ground tours are always free to veterans, active duty military, and first responders (police, fire, EMT), and kids under 8 are free with a paid or qualifying adult. We can also arrange group tour deals for organized groups of kids with adult chaperones; contact the Chapter in advance if you have a school, scouting, cadet, or similar group you’d like to bring!

The B-17 has plenty of fun merchandise available to buy from her van on the field:  bring your cash or a credit card and indulge in caps, t-shirts, patches, pins, books, DVDs, tin signs, magnets, toys, Christmas ornaments, and more! Best of all, the money the airplane earns from seats, tours, and merchandise sales goes back into keeping her flying on tour around the country.

The EAA Chapter 186 Grill food vending trailer will be onsite to serve up food and drinks, so don’t worry about going hungry while you visit. And don’t miss checking out the Freedom Museum in the airport terminal while you’re here: there’s no charge for admission, and you’ll learn a lot about the history of the U.S. military from the Spanish American War to the present, with a special emphasis on the stories of local military veterans.

Basically, this is a fun weekend event for the whole family. Experience history up close and personal, in a visceral way no static museum display alone can provide. Join the flight!

Remembering Jane Koehler – May 18

Jane Setsu (Middlecoff) Koehler
6/7/1953 – 3/9/2019

Jane was born in Fort Riley Kansas on July 7 1953, the second of three children to John and Tsune Middlecoff. She spent age 2 thru 5 in the Loire Valley of France near the now famous Chenensouix (sp?) Castle while John was working with NATO. The family returned to the DC area in 1957 where John served out the rest of his Army career. Jane grew up attending Mt. Eagle Elementary – next door to the church and was a graduate in the Class of 1972 at Hayfield High School. She took a summer job after graduation with the Navy Department in Crystal City and ended up staying in civil service working for the Navy in the A-7 Program Office Of the Naval Air Systems Command (NavAir).

Jane and Dick first met in NavAir where she was the senior secretary in a Program Office managing aircraft that Dick’s Program Office was going to replace. Jane was the gate keeper, and they chatted while he was waiting. She initially refused to go out with him. He was just another naval aviator putting the moves on a very beautiful Jane.
In January 1984 they got married – the beginning of a 35 year marriage – and moved to Australia where she worked for Sperry. They began their life of traveling, visiting all of Australia, Bali, Singapore, Taipei, and Tokyo. Upon their return they bought a plane and over the years flew it all over the eastern United States and Canada.
Returning from three years in Australia, Jane went back to work for NavAir, but eventually moved over to the DoD Inspector General’s Office, because Dick was moving up the chain of command in NavAir. She retired in 2008 with 35 years of government service.

Jane loved all cats, some dogs, and birding. Her hobbies included crafting, photography, Facebook, and traveling. She really liked to travel. After Australia she and Dick started regular ocean cruises on Holland America Lines and Viking River Cruises, doing one every three or four years initially and later doing two or three a year. They cruised extensively in Europe, South America and the Antarctic.

In spite of her love of travel, Jane was really a homebody and a frequent volunteer at 186 Fly-Ins at Winchester, the Virginia State Fly-In, and AirVenture at Oshkosh, where she did everything from making sandwiches, to cleaning the grill, to recording all the transactions at the Fly Mart. She love to fly and was a constant companion with Dick on all his travels, from assisting at SportAir Workshops, to attending the Mooney Convention in Texas, to visiting their new home in florida. She logged over 4000 hours in their Mooney.

For 18 years she participated in the American Heart Walk with her sisters, first through June’s employers and then as part of the “Middlecoff Sisters” team. Losing her father, other family members and friends from heart disease and stroke, this was her way of contributing to education and research of heart disease. Jane always had the fattest envelope filled with checks and donations which usually launched the team as a whole into the 3 – 4 thousand dollar standing.

Though life threw her a curve ball, she was up to the task of meeting the challenges of fighting her cancer. She was brave and courageous through it all to her last breath. The quickness of how her illness took her is still a shock but at the same time a blessing in that her pain and suffering was not prolonged. Jane died peacefully at home with all family present on March 9, 2019.

Jane is survived by her husband Richard Koehler, her mother Tsune Middlecoff, her father John preceded her in death, her sisters June (Richard Tornello) Yamayoshi and Joan (Grant) Randall, her niece Kerry (Devin) Cote and two great-nieces Mackenzie and Kendall Cote. Jane is also survived by her brother-in-law Robert (Jan) Koehler and their two children Clay and Madison.

A memorial service for Jane is planned for 1pm Saturday May 18 at Calvary Presbyterian Church, 6120 N. Kings Hwy, Alexandria VA 22303 (about 4 blocks south of Huntington Metro). See “” for parking info. A reception in the church fellowship hall will follow. Contact Joan Randall or Dick Koehler if you plan to attend so that proper planning can be done.

Inurnment will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. Memorials may be made in Jane’s name to Fisher House, American Heart Association, The American Cancer Society, or the Fairfax County Animal Shelter.

19th Annual Chili Cook Off!

19th Annual Chili Cook-Off!
March 23 — Noon to 3pm


Wanted: Chili Cooks

There will be 4 category awards and one main grand prize! Entries can be classic recipes, meatless, beanless, white, or even use surprise ingredients. Chili entries will be judged by the following categories:

Most Creative/Unusual
Best Presentation/Most Attractive
Grand Prize – Best Over All

• All Chili entries must be at the Chapter House by 11:30 am.
• Set up begins at 11:00 and judging starts at high noon.
• Chili entries must be prepared at home and brought in a slow cooker.
• Be sure to name your chili with a sign! Points will be deducted for nameless chili entries.
• All Chili cooks will be provided with name tags the day of the event.

Wanted: Corn Bread, Dessert and Guacamole Chefs
Take home the title of Cornbread, Salad, Dessert or Guacamole Cook-Off Champion! All entries should be an original creation or enhancement. In other words, your standard Jiffy cornbread dish straight from the box and/or cookies from Target are gonna lose you points.
And YES — you can always enter various dishes in different categories.

Wanted: EAA 186 Chili Judges
We need 3-5 judges, so get in on the fun and put your taste buds to the ultimate test!

Tickets are $5 (suggested donation) for those not entered in the contest, bringing food, or judging. We’ll provide all the chili fixings’ and beverages. There’s plenty of space to park your plane or car, so fly-in, or come by car and stay for the whole event.

January Chapter Gathering Presentation by T.R. Proven “Midair Collision – Lessons Learned”

January Chapter Gathering 2019 Agenda

9:00 – Social Hour: Donuts, muffins, coffee and other beverages
10:00 – Welcome and Introductions
10:15 – Chapter Merchandise Drawing
10:30 – Chapter Business and Announcements
11:00 – Program: T.R. Proven “Midair Collision – Lessons Learned”
12:00 – Chapter Merchandise Drawing
12:15 – BBQ on the deck or pizza!

On a sunny afternoon in May of 2012, two aircraft collided 1,600 feet above Sumerduck, VA with three veteran pilots onboard, two of whom were working for the nation’s top aviation safety agencies. The third pilot was an experienced flight instructor. The only surviving pilot, T. R. Proven, a Federal Aviation Administration investigator at the time, will discuss with our chapter: “What I he did right and what I could have done better.”

You won’t want to miss this informative and educational presentation!

Get Involved with Our Chapter’s IMC or VMC Club!

Our VMC and IMC Clubs meet the 2nd Thursday of each month at the Chapter House. All are welcome!
IMC Club: 7-8pm
VMC Club: 8-9pm