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Defying Gravity - The Thrill of Flight

Lincoln Flying over Mt. Fuji

It takes a positive spirit to believe that man can fly – and defy gravity. With this in mind, this week’s edition of the Sunshine Report celebrates the thrill of flight - highlighting New Hampshire’s deep connection and contributions to the aerospace community. But sometimes a dad needs to show off a little, and Lincoln made it really easy this week. As many of you know our son is an aviator flying the F-18 Super Hornet with the US Navy. Lincoln took some absolutely amazing footage while flying over Japan including the majestic Mt. Fuji. He shot this while out patrolling and defending our country and allies. It really drives home the importance of being prepared and that our men and women in uniform come from all across this country including our small towns like Lincoln. I hope you enjoy the video above and yes, I have already asked Lincoln or more great videos like this in the future!

Small Town Airport – Inspiring Young and Old

Founded in 1929, Parlin Field Airport in Newport NH has been serving the community proudly for close to 100 years! Nicknamed ‘The Gateway to the Lake Sunapee Region,’ the Airport allows for people across the country to visit our quaint little New England town. Interesting fact about Parlin Field, it is one of very few airports in the region that is not surrounded by fencing. The reason: they want everyone to be able to enjoy all that air travel has to offer. It’s a true ‘community airport.’ The goal is to not just make it a great airport for those that own and operate planes, but for everyone in town to enjoy the camaraderie, the atmosphere, and the beautiful sight of the planes coming and going. Air travel opens towns like Newport up to the possibility of increased tourism and economic growth while sharing the pride and the feeling of community.

Parlin Field has truly become a source of great pride for the Sunshine Town. Offering aviation courses to children of all ages, hosting various events including movie nights, fireworks, even hosting one of our monthly Sunshine Initiative meetings, and of course leaving the airport open for all to enjoy. Their ACE (Aviation Career Education) Academy allows children from Newport and across the region the opportunity to experience and learn about the various careers available in air travel: technicians, pilots, drone operators, airport planning and much more. This small town airport is truly helping shape and inspire our youth and our community. As stated on their website, “Parlin Field is committed to being a good neighbor” and it shows.

Greeting Our Troops – Welcoming Home at Pease

When members of the military deploy, they leave behind their loved ones. While it is an honor, it’s also extremely emotional for the one serving and for the family. As a father with a son in the service, I’m excited to see him when he’s home on leave and equally sad when he has to return to his post on the other side of the world. But it’s about service.

Traveling to or from one’s post or where they are being deployed can be a long and grueling ordeal and many times a layover occurs and it’s right at the Pease Trade Port in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Back in 2005 the director of the airport got wind that a plane full of troops on its way to the Middle East was at Pease. He and a few fellow employees brought coffee and donuts to the troops and shared some time together. At a later flight, retired members of the Marine Corp joined in to honor those who are serving during the lay over. Together these volunteers have care packages and warm greetings. The Pease Greeters were born.

To date the Pease Greeters have welcomed nearly 2,000 flights. No matter what hour of the day, volunteers are ready, willing, and able to be there with open arms. Today, in addition to inperson welcomes, the Pease Greeters have sent thousands of packages overseas and have no plans of stopping.

In 2008, the 6 original members of the Pease Greeters were invited to Washington DC by then-Senator John Sununu. They visited the State Department, the Naval Observatory, and had a private meeting in the Oval Office with President Bush.

We take great pride in being Americans, and we all try to live by the creed “help thy neighbor.”

The Pease Greeters are special live this motto and offer a special welcome to our troops right here in the Granite State.

New Hamphire’s Own – First in Space – Alan Shepard

When it comes to space exploration, New Hampshire and its small towns have proudly contributed to our country’s progress in aerospace. A true Granite State hero, Alan Shepard, of Derry, was the first American to travel into space. Back in 1961, Shepard made the flight - eternally cementing himself and New Hampshire in the history books. He was the first astronaut to manually control a spacecraft, as he piloted the Project Mercury flight, Mercury-Redstone 3, which he named the spacecraft "Freedom 7."

As a kid, Shepard attended Adams School, Oak Street School, and Pinkerton Academy - all schools in the town of Derry, NH. His exceptional talent and intellect was recognized at a young age, as he skipped the 6th and 8th grades. Moreover, his interest in aviation also became quite apparent, as he would frequently do odd jobs at the Manchester Airport in an effort to earn himself some impromptu flight lessons and airplane tours. Shepard began his career with NASA in 1959, along with John Glenn and the other Mercury astronauts. And, exactly one decade after his historic ‘first flight,’ Shepard came to national prominence once again as he became the fifth astronaut in history to walk on the moon in 1971.

Honoring Educator and Astronaut – Christa McAuliffe

On a more somber note, there is the heartbreaking story of Christa McAuliffe. McAuliffe, a social studies teacher at Concord High School, was the lucky teacher selected to board the Challenger, after more than 11,000 teachers across the nation applied for the opportunity. She was scheduled to become the first teacher to enter space. She planned to use her time in space as a way to educate students across the country about the wonders of space - having scheduled two classes to teach while aboard the Challenger. Then tragedy occurred: the Challenger broke apart just 73 seconds into the flight due to a pressure seal failure. The disaster immediately killed all seven crew members.

The nation was shocked and saddened. Perhaps most heart breaking is that the shuttle was being viewed on live television around the world - and especially by her students at home in Concord, NH. Since her passing, McAuliffe has had the honor of having schools and scholarships named in her honor. She was also posthumously awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 2004.

Profile of the Week: Senator Warren Rudman

Aviation is our theme, and service is always interwoven into it with a side of community spirit and of course sunshine

As I think about the blend of aviation and public service, I reflect on some of my friends from the world of politics. For instance, I can’t help but think of Charlie Bass, my dear friend and former Congressman who loves to fly, or the late great Ray Burton - the people’s politician who used to do a day of airport swings in his sprawling council district - only 100 towns to visit - but who’s counting. Or this week’s profile - Senator Rudman.

The profile of the week is meant not only to inspire but also to learn. While most people may know that Rudman served as a distinguished Senator – not all aware of his love for aviation. He was instrumental in the founding and growth of Daniel Webster College – a center of aviation education. In addition, he also championed the Nashua Airport.

While born in Massachusetts, Rudman built his career and spent his life in New Hampshire. Attending Syracuse University and later Boston College Law School, Senator Rudman was always about service.

In the late 1970’s while I was serving in the New Hampshire House, Rudman was our Attorney General serving under two Governors. He worked hard, led a small, highly talented team, performing great service for our state.

In 1980, Rudman was elected in 1980 to the US Senate and served just two terms, retiring by choice.

Rudman was well known as an advocate for a balanced budget as well as an expert on security and intelligence. He served alongside Senator Gary Hart on the high-profile Senate Intelligence Committee. He also helped found the Concord Coaltion, along with the late Senator Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts. A Republican and a Democrat coming together to build bridges and make progress. Rudman served the people, not the party. He worked across the aisle and put service first.

Following his tenure in the Senate and his return to practice law, Rudman joined the law firm, Paul Weiss, as well as the public affairs consultancy, the Albright Strongebridge Group specializing in security and intelligence around the globe. His commitment to the protection of our freedoms from the days of serving in the Korean War, to Attorney General of New Hampshire and of course US Senator was remarkable and significant.

Rudman aimed for the sky whether it was from his love for aviation or his seat on the floor of the Senate. He did it with respect, passion, and commitment to service. That’s probably why he was asked twice to be considered for nomination for Vice President both by Ross Perot and by his former colleague Senator John Kerry.

Quotes of the Week: Flight

Leonardo da Vinci

“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

― Leonardo da Vinci

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”

― J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan

“The reason birds can fly and we can't is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.”

― J.M. Barrie, The Little White Bird

“The secret of flight is this -- you have to do it immediately, before your body realizes it is defying the laws.”

― Michael Cunningham, A Home at the End of the World

“If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing.”

― Coco Chanel


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