While Soaring Nevada, NVAHOF, Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame Director T.D. Barnes shared the Nevada skies with Air Force One as POTUS flew into Reno, Nevada. Barnes was soaring in a glider at the Soaring Nevada glider school and flights business at the Minden-Tahoe airport just outside the Presidential TFR when Air Force One with President Obama aboard passed on its way to Reno, Nevada. NVAHOF staff members Barnes and Mike Schmitz enjoyed a several hour excitement-filled morning with Chris Johnson, Operations Supervisor at the Minden-Tahoe Airport, Laurie Harden “Glider Girl”, owner of the Soaring Nevada glider adventure ride business, and Frank Murray, former CIA A-12 pilot Frank Murray.
Glider Girl, Laurie Harden was a gracious host to NVAHOF Director T.D. Barnes and NVAHOF Photographer, Mike Schmitz, showing them the excellent fleet of gliders and aero-toll planes. Though booked up with customers waiting for a glider adventure, Laurie made time to provide Barnes with an awesome experience. Chief Glider Flight Instructor Russell Holtz took Barnes up in one of their many beautiful gliders where they conducted loops, rolls and a great sight-seeing ride. A memorial part of the flight was when the glider passed over the Starbucks Coffee roasting plant where the heat from the facility caused an updraft to push their plane to new heights. Barnes reported the smell of coffee being a major bonus. While flying over the Minden valley, Air Force One passed by on its way to Reno. NVAHOF photographer captured photos of Air Force One while filming Barnes’ glider flight. Thank you Glider Girl for an experience that I will never forget.
The NVAHOF and Minden-Tahoe staff and visitors were honored with the presence of Barnes’ long-time friend Frank Murray of Gardnerville. Barnes and Murray worked together on CIA Project OXCART at Area 51 where Barnes was in Special Projects and Murray was one of the CIA A-12 Blackbird pilots. One of the tenants of the airport provided Murray with a ride where Murray conducted takeoff and landings for old-times sake.
The Nevada Aerospace Hall of Fame looks forward to a long, exciting relationship with the folks calling Minden-Tahoe their home. We will be back.