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AUSTIN EXECUTIVE AIRPORT
A History of Austin's Newest General Aviation Airport
R
on
W. H
enRiksen
Chapter 2
idea of Ray attending conventions and spread-
ing the word about the user-friendly airport
north of Austin. Ray's hook: He'd take along
one of his airplanes.
So Ray and JB dismantled the Cessna 150L
with the dark blue trim and hauled it down
to Lester E. Palmer Auditorium for a kind of
business trade show.
When they arrived, they lugged the pieces
indoors to the trade show floor and put the
whole plane back together. Ray went to the
washroom and scrubbed grease off his hands,
ready now to sell his little patch of heaven
and button up the deal with a firm handshake
and a sincere smile. While Ray was off scrub-
bing up, JB hung a banner from the wing that
read, "Learn to Fly."
Did it help boost sales? Hard to tell, but that
didn't matter. The Little Airport That Could
had a way of drawing people in, of making
them crazy for the thrill and freedom of flight.
One of those people was Dave Mandot.
A Starting Point for Many
In sifting through the research, Dave's
name came up often. He had inserted him-
self into the happy mix of flyers and jumpers
around Christmas 1975, a kid fresh out of col-
1976. Ray Harding and an unknown man attending a trade show at Lester E. Palmer Auditorium standing in front
of one of Bird's Nest's Cessna 150L training aircraft. Photo courtesy of Dave Mandot.