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2B Wednesday, November 2 2011 // The Statement
Wednesday Novemeber 2 2011 // The Statement 7B
Editor in Chief:
The Statement is The Michigan
Daily's news magazine, distributed
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random student interview by kaitlin williams
Welcome to the random
where we hold one
student hostage for four min-
utes for your enjoyment.
Do you have a minute?
How long is this minute really?
Oh, you caught me. I actually
need four minutes.
OK that's fine.
Great thanks. First off, do I
have any chocolate on my face?
Thanks. So, did you go trick-or-
treating last night?
No I did not.
Well, my friends and I already
went out all weekend, and I didn't
want to wear my costume again.
Where do you live?
Where do you plan on living
Not sure? Or has no one asked to
live with you? It's OK, you can
I really haven't thought about it.
OK. Well, just an insider's note
here, people tend to pair up
by early November. And it's
OK. Well I'll probably live in a
What dorm? Do you aspire as
high as to live in North Quad?
Pretty fond of West Quad?
Yeah. It's fine with me.
How you you like your room-
He's not my best friend but...
What's the weirdest thing
you've heard about that's hap-
pened between roommates in
Like involving me?
No. Just the weirdest story. I'm
sure there's something floating
Oh. Like does it have to be appro-
I don't really care. Preferably
So, one of my friends, well they're
both my friends, one had a girl
spend the night with him and
apparently the other one woke up
and heard-them having sex while
he was in the room.
Oh. That's very Jersey Shore of
He didn't say anything, but I bet
that was horrible for him.
Awkward. So are you 18?
Are you registered to vote?
Do you plan on voting Nov. 2?
Why not? Those campaigns
about voting being sexy must
not be working. Is it because
there isn't a presidential race
Yeah, it's kind of an off year. I
haven't voted yet, and it isn't really
high up on my list of things to do.
My dad is really into politics. He's
trying to rub it off on me.
Do you think anyone has ever
gotten laid for voting?
I'm sure it's happened, but I don't
Do you think it's appropriate to
call voting sexy?
Umm, it's kind of weird.
Weird. Well, if getting laid
and your dad can't get you to
vote, I'm not going to try. What
would your voting slogan be if
you gave a damn?
Umm... "Vote for what you want."
Even if that means not vot-
ing at all. That's pretty good.
Very free attitude. What's your
Flaming Hot Cheetos.
Oh. Spicy. So it's been four min-
utes. You're free to go.
- Austin is an LSA freshman
"There is no more colorful, adventurous chapter in the
history of aeronautical engineering at the University of
Michigan, than the one recounting student efforts to fly,"
wrote Thomas C. Adamson, Jr., professor emeritus of aero-
space engineering at the University, in his 2002 history of the
Had Adamson, Jr. not expelled aviation outside of the
Department of Aeronautical Engineering from his survey,
the early years of the University of Michigan Flyers might
have challenged the 1910s as the most illustrious flying
chapter by University students in Ann Arbor.
The Flyers, founded in September 1969 by five students
as a flying instruction club, remained unaffiliated with the
University unlike previous flying groups. However, like the
Aero Club before it, the club also matured during a turning
point in the history of aviation atop the postwar boom in
the field when the prevalence of local airports was excep-
tionally high and the costs of aircraft and fuel were rela-
For the young founders of the Flyers, the confluence of
circumstances was both helpful and harmful. As two of
the club's founding fathers, David Fradin and Mark Wag-
ner, recounted, gas prices as low as 43 cents per gallon kept
operating costs low during a start-up period when the club
flitted between McKinnon, Willow Run and the Ann Arbor
airports to save money.
"In the 1970s you could (fly) on a newspaper boy's sal-
ary," Wagner said. "Nowadays, it's like the cost of a college
Fradin especially appreciated the affordability of fly-
ing. During his time at the University, he logged more than
600 hours with the club and worked at a sandwich shop to
finance his hobby. For every nine hours he worked, he esti-
mated, he earned enough to fly for one hour.
"Today, I think the ratios are a little bit worse than that,"
"If I hadn't found the Michigan Flyers, I probably would
not have learned because of the cost," added Ray Wallman,
who served as the Flyers' second president from 1974 to 1975.
"Back then it was as cheap as goingto a health club today."
According to Wallman, from his freshman year in 1971
to when he graduated in 1975, the club's membership grew
from a few dozen to more than 350 active members. The
figure was, by all accounts, the Flyers' highest ever, yet they
still maintained a personal atmosphere, said fellow found-
er Dick Hoesli.
"It was a social organization as much as technical or pro-
fessional organization," Hoesli said. "People would come
out to the club justto talk about flying or whatever the topic
of the day was."
As ideal as the Flyers' early years seemed, the club con-
fronted its share of troubles in the beginning, and the hur-
dles were more than financial. A lack of affiliation with the
University proved unsettling for Fradin, who discovered
the University had forged a pact with The Ohio State Uni-
versity in which its aerospace engineering program would
focus on space flight while OSU's would focus on aeronau-
tics, with an implicit understandingthat the two would not
compete for students in those areas.
"That's part of the reason why the University gave luke-
warm support to the flying club," Fradin said. "I always
wondered why we couldn't get more help from them over
"We trained 4,000 pilots and leaders of aviation world-
wide not because of the support of the University of Michi-
gan, but almost in spite of it."
Apart from inter-university schemes and the lack of sup-
port from colleges, the most worrisome threats to aviation
today, Fradin said, are affordability and the aging of the
profession. The two are correlated. With fuel prices esca-
lating to more than $6 a gallon, the cost of airplanes open-
ing at the price of a luxury car and the starting salary for
a co-pilot stuck at $18,000, it's little wonder young people
are less inclined to learn to fly now than they were in the
1970s, he said.
For all the problems besieging aviation, however, the
University of Michigan Flyers seem to have no conscious-
ness of them. Though the club's membership statistics are
down, currently it now has 200 to 300 members - of which
60 to 70 are active and 20 to 30 are University students -
and its officials admit they are as much a relic of the club's
1970s glory as flour-bombing itself.
Whether the narrative holds up or dwindling student
turnout augurs a poorer ending, evidence for the former is
not out of reach (or, at least, no further than the latter). At
the Flyers' Fall Festival on Oct. 22, where Robine and the
other flight instructors flour-bombed for only the second
time, Flyers Vice President Bruce Williams could recall
since he joined in 1998 that the young generation mingled
with the old guard over barbecue, "hangar flying," as Hoes-
li joked about the club in the 1970s because socializing was
cheaper than actually taking off.
For now, the Flyers seem content to hangar fly, teach and
learn - their only tasks since 1980 or 1981, when the club
stopped taking part in intercollegiate flying competitions.
From as many as 25 planes during Fradin's reign to only
five now, the amount of flying the club does has dimin-
ished, too, as the club only gives about six lessons a day.
But at least in one respect - the social one - the club has
remained unchanged since its founding.
"Everybody has a common interest, and we certainly
all like to talk about it," Williams said. "Learning to fly is
quite an event in all of our lives. And when you're out there
and somebody else is kind of going through what you went
through when you were a student, everybody just kind of
thinks back and smiles and then wants to help that person
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The University has been home to an aviation club since 1911, when most colleges deemed aeronautical engineering insignificant.