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Channeling Rio at FlightSafety

There’s a soft fog ahead as you lift off the runway and leave the airport behind. Hills on the horizon grow sharper as you approach, then fade into the haze as you continue your ascent. You fly straight on toward the horizon as it darkens with the sunset, through all types of weather and over every kind of terrain. You bank back and suddenly it’s night. The lights of Rio de Janeiro twinkle far below. Then it’s day again and you’re flying over Christ the Redeemer, one of the seven wonders of the New World.

This isn’t a dream – it’s far too detailed and real. No, you’re in a FlightSafety International full flight simulator with one of the training leader’s hundreds of highly skilled, patient, knowledgeable instructors. You find yourself leaning with the banks, growing anxious with the approach of Sugar Loaf Mountain. And our instructor is taking it easy on us. You understand how even veteran pilots might build up a little adrenaline when an instructor unloads a cascade of problems in quick succession, requiring quick, calm, certain responses.

Taking the Tour

A flock of Greteman Groupers took advantage of recent open houses at FlightSafety’s two Hawker Beechcraft Learning Centers in Wichita. (You can check out our photos here.) The all-new 1-acre maintenance center still sparkles, which might lead one to believe that it isn’t being used yet. In fact, Manager Bill Magyar and crew just run a tight ship – they’ve been training technicians since Fall 2009. The pilot center, similarly spic-and-span, has been around for years, but is newly expanded and remodeled.

Bringing the World to Wichita

Professionals from 154 countries train with FlightSafety, and currently the Hawker Beechcraft centers’ customer base runs at about 70 percent foreign nationals. At one level, these centers showcase highly technical, cutting-edge sophisticated training technology, yet they also are set up to accommodate the widest imaginable diversity of languages and cultures.

Congratulations, FlightSafety

Our sincere thanks to our gracious hosts and hostesses for a fun and insightful tour, and our warmest congratulations to FlightSafety for its investment in safety. The folks who work at these centers display such dedication and a clear love of what they do. These heroes make the skies safer for all of us. When we board a flight with a FlightSafety-trained crew, we know we’re in the very best possible hands.

Check out all of our photos from the event here.

Marc’s Picks for Final and First Friday – February 2010

Sometimes it’s good to spread things out. Here’s my pick for this February Final Friday and another great show to see at next week’s First Friday.

Doug Billings at Gallery XII

Doug Billings creates mysterious visions of Wichita as though he is looking through the eyes of an early 20th century Italian Surrealist. Doug, who teaches printmaking at the Wichita Center for the Arts, will be showing paintings, hand-pulled original prints and handmade books based on his experiences and reflections as a resident of Wichita, Kansas.

Gallery XII
412 E. Douglas
Friday, Feb. 26
6–10 p.m.

Next Friday, March 5 – Pulp: Works on Paper at Butler County

Paper is a material that we often take for granted. But many artists appreciate its tactile beauty, versatility, immediacy and warmth and use it to great effect in their work. Guest curator Matthew Hillyard brings together former professors, some fellow art students now out of the classroom, and a number of local area artists with whom he has an aesthetic connection. The diverse works in the show are all created on or with paper.

Erman B. White Gallery
Butler Community College
901 South Haverhill Road, El Dorado, Kansas
Friday, March 5
6-8 p.m., Curator’s Talk at 6:30 p.m.

Playing By the Rules

In our work, we spend considerable time thinking about brands. How to build or revive them, depending on the need.

Lately, I’ve been devoting more time than usual thinking about personal brands. Last week CBS affiliate KWCH TV 12 invited me on its morning program to talk about the Tiger Woods press conference later that day. As a PR professional, they wanted to know what I thought about the counsel Woods had apparently been receiving – from not speaking out for three months to not taking questions at his press conference. (Wouldn’t have recommended either.)

The Game That Counts

After Woods’ announcement Friday, I heard a number of people say (or read their tweets), “He didn’t need to apologize to ME.” They’re right. He didn’t. But expressing regret was the right thing to do.

No, he’s not an elected official. He’s a public person and the breach of trust is between him and his wife. But fans and the general public feel betrayed, too. The man they have idolized, the man they thought they knew didn’t just step down from his pedestal. He smashed it up good.

I didn’t have high expectations for the highly scripted and rehearsed announcement, but Woods said all the right things. He accepted responsibility. Acknowledged he’d let people down. Talked about how he plans to restore confidence. And said the words others often dodge, “I am so sorry.”

Woods didn’t weep. And he didn’t force his wife to stand by his side. He acknowledged that he still has work to do and he asked for help. Time will be the judge of Woods. As it is for us all.

Getting Out of the Rough

While Woods is a master of the short game, he’s taking a step back and looking at his drive. He needs to stay inside the trees and out of the water. The revelations of the past months have recast how we see him. But if he works hard and lives a life that’s honest to who he is – whoever that may be – our impression will change.

Life is a long game.

What’s The Buzz

If you’re a Gmail user (or simply a reader of the Internet) you might have heard about Google’s latest foray into the social media space. Their new service, Buzz, is a Twitter/Facebook-Status-Update/Foursquare hybrid that lives inside their mail service.

Even though Buzz is yet another service for people to keep updated, it does offer some pretty nice features.

Gmail Integration

One of the biggest draws for the service is that if you have a Gmail account, you’re automatically signed up for Buzz. There’s no choosing a username, setting up a profile or confirming membership. There’s also no looking for people to follow. You automatically get updates from your Gmail contacts. Finally, the updates are accessible directly from your inbox, so you can read the latest buzz from your friends while you check your mail and without visiting multiple sites.

More Than Text

Buzz makes it easy to embed maps, photos and videos directly into your messages, so people can see what you want them to see without opening a new browser or even clicking a link.


With many smartphones, Buzz can tag your update with your current location. So, for example, if you post about having some great coffee, your friends can see exactly where that’s happening. Or, if you’re more of an observer, you can see updates from other Buzz users that are nearby your current location, potentially tipping you off to a great deal or a worthwhile activity. Finally, you can speak your update into your phone and Buzz will automatically transcribe your message for you – no typing necessary.

Worth The Buzz or Just a Bust?

It’s difficult to tell if Buzz’s features are strong enough to make it a serious contender. Its tight Google integration is sure to be a draw and maybe even serve as a gateway-social-media tool for those who have yet to make the plunge into the social media world. But it’s also entering a crowded space with strongly entrenched competition.