BIG CHANGE COMING TO MAPA
MAPA’s roots grow deep in San Antonio soil. This has been the home of the Mooney Aircraft Pilots Association for almost its entire existence. First run from a kitchen table by Bobbie and Mark Harris and then from a “real” office with several administering to the association’s activities, MAPA has called the Alamo City home. And after all it is a logical location with ample resources for aviation activities and is located only 60 miles (or 1 hour if you are a Texan and don’t think in miles but in time) away from Kerrville and the home of Mooney Aviation Company and the aircraft factory. Yes, KSAT is a great place for the MAPA headquarters.
But it’s not Kerrville. Kerrville is the home of Mooney. Your M20 was born in Kerrville and the factory (it’s still a factory manufacturing parts even if no new aircraft come from within) is still on the NW corner of the field. A lot of Mooney history is found on the airport at KERV including Al Mooney’s ashes. MAPA too has a lot of history in Kerrville. For 25 years the annual convention – Homecoming – was held in October in Kerrville. Our members have been visiting the airport and Mooney even now during the “hibernation” just to see the birthplace of their airplane.
Well, beginning in January 2014, Kerrville will also be the new home for MAPA. After a long process of evaluation and many hours of discussion, we have decided to relocate our office to Kerrville. This was no easy decision for Lela and me as SAT is also our home. But the time is right for a move; our lease will expire on this office space in December; prices are increasing at an alarming rate in this city, and security has become a concern at the office (remember the MAPA trailer and all our display materials was stolen from the office in 2010) for which this complex has no acceptable answer. So in December, we will pack-up everything and make the 60 mile drive NW and setup at or new home on the Kerrville Airport.
That’s correct; we will be ON Kerrville Municipal Airport/Louis Schreiner Field across the runway from the Mooney factory. Our offices will be in a hangar owned by Kerrville Aviation where we will have ramp access and a clear view of the most-used runway, 12/30, so that we can judge landings while conducting MAPA business. This new location will allow us better access to Mooney as well as Dugosh Aviation which is right next door. And it will allow our membership better physical access to the MAPA office for “drive-up” service.
We view this as a new beginning for MAPA as well as for Lela and me. For us it will allow us to get away from the big city and return to a more rural, relaxed pace of life. For MAPA it will allow us to be more accessible to our members who wish to visit and more active with Mooney in the interest of your association. While we don’t look forward to the scale of a move such as this, we are excited for what the future can bring.
While this is a “win win” for us and MAPA, there is a downside. With the actual relocation scheduled for December, to be completed by January 1, 2014 we have decided to forego a convention in 2013. We know that this will disappoint our members as well as Lela and me, but with the enormity of what the two of us must do to get ready and then actually make the physical move of our office and home; we don’t think we could adequately plan and execute a gathering up to the usual MAPA standards. This we regret because “Homecoming” was one of the things we both looked forward to as it provided a time to meet our MAPA family members who we don’t regularly see – a family reunion of sorts. But even this allows for an exciting change.
As the old-timers know, MAPA has always held their annual meeting of the membership during the Sept/Oct time frame. This has worked successfully for many years. With the convention location in Kerrville for the first 25 years, this time of year is one of the most pleasant for outside activities so it made sense to schedule Homecoming during the fall season in the Texas Hill Country. However, MAPA was not the only group that recognized this fact. It became more difficult to schedule our convention during September or October because competition for the few possible venues increased. Even after we decided to move the gathering of Mooneys around the country, fall turned out to be popular for this type of activity by many groups both in and out of aviation. MAPA found itself competing for convention space with other organizations often with larger attendance than we achieved. This hampered our ability to get the best pricing for meeting space, hotel rooms and catering providers. In most cities that are desirable convention locations, September and October became a “target rich” environment. This made our (or rather Lela’s) job more difficult. We toyed with the idea of changing the convention to a spring date, but the difficulties in planning two meetings within 6 months was something that we didn’t want to face. But, as one window appears to close another opens up and MAPA now has that new window.
Since we are not going to have a convention this year because of the move, it means that we now have the opportunity to change the rotation and move to a spring convention schedule. This has several aspects that we find appealing. Obviously, spring in the Texas Hill Country is even more beautiful then fall. The Texas wild flowers begin to bloom in late February and early March, so by April they are abundantly in full color. In the spring wineries in and around central Texas host all types of events that can provide additional activities for our guests. In addition, spring opens up new locations in the U.S. for MAPA conventions that might not be accessible during the fall. So look for developing information in the MAPA LOG on a spring 2014 “Homecoming and Open House” at the new MAPA office in Kerrville Texas.