background image
Page 61
A History of Austin's Newest General Aviation Airport
W. H
Chapter 3
1971. Jumpers Vaughn Ruple, Marc McGee, Ken Gillespie, and nineteen-year-old Fred W. Leslie, future NASA
astronaut who flew on the NASA STA-73 Space Shuttle. Photo courtesy Fred. W. Leslie.
got all the equipment functioning to some
degree. Once airborne every training flight
included a mandatory flight to the west and
a touchdown at Tim's Airpark to fill-up and
head back to Bird's Nest with enough fuel to
repeat it with the next student.
Jerry Kahlbau leaned back in his chair and
glanced around the small office and paused,
as if pondering logistics, before resting his
eyes on Tom. "I appreciate you speaking your
mind," he said.
"Any ideas how you plan to turn this place
around?" Tom asked.
"None that would make you feel any better."
The first thing on Jerry's list was to strike
up a handshake deal with aircraft mechanic
JB (who had quit the airport a number of
times but couldn't stay away for long). JB
paid a small rent on the shop hangar and went
about his business fixing broken airplanes.
The two split any profit from selling parts,
and JB agreed to buy liability insurance,
which he didn't do and may also have exac-
erbated a sticky little matter involving seat-
belts. Details are vague. A likely, though far
from absolute, sequence of events is that JB
purchased and installed new seatbelts in an
airplane for a client, consistent with a recent