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Wednesday, Feb 05 2014 06:00 AM

Pilot group building monument to honor fallen pilots and aviation enthusiasts

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Members of the Tehachapi Society of Pilots and representatives of the City of Tehachapi and Tehachapi Municipal Airport gathered last Thursday to celebrate a new monument being built to honor fallen local pilots and aviation enthusiasts. From left, TSP member Jim Wilhelm, Aiport Manager Tom Glasgow, Airport Operations Manager Gaston Patterson, TSP member Bill Willingham, Terri Ables, TSP President John Ables, contractors Farrell Lloyd and Juan Acuna Jr., and City Manager Greg Garrett. Photo by Nick Smirnoff

The Tehachapi Society of Pilots will break ground this week on a new monument dedicated to fallen pilots and aviation enthusiasts from the Tehachapi area.

Members of the organization and representatives of the City of Tehachapi and the Tehachapi Municipal Airport gathered on Thursday, Jan. 30, to celebrate the eight-foot tall triangular monument.

The monument will be built by contractors Juan Acuna Jr. and Farrell Lloyd in Aviator Park at the Tehachapi Airport. The monument will feature brass plaques with the names of fallen locals who played a role in the local aviation community.

The focal point will be a retired airport beacon that will sit atop the concrete monument. Family and friends can apply to TSP to honor loved ones who played a role in Tehachapi aviation.

"It's an honor for the city to participate," said City Manager Greg Garrett. "We're committed to honoring our fallen pilots."

President of the TSP, John Ables, said the non-profit group has been working for months on the project.

TSP is a local non-profit dedicated to educating the public on and promoting aviation activities. TSP also awards scholarships to local high school students who intend to pursue a career in aviation.

Each year the group hosts a day called "Young Eagles" where members from TSP give free airplane rides to kids between the ages of seven and 18. All of the airplanes and fuel is donated from TSP members.

Ables said the TSP will seek donations to help pay for the monument, which will cost the organization a total of $6,000.


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