In 2005, Hill was appointed the lead volunteer for northern California for the newly created FAASTeam. Hill committed to starting a monthly aviation safety seminar series. All he needed was a venue.
Searching around the Redding, Calif., area, Hill was contacted by EAA Chapter 157 member Jim Barry, who was looking to increase the chapter’s activities and had heard of Hill’s safety series. Barry and Hill met to discuss specifics and logistics, and the rest — as they say — is history.
Hill calls his safety series the “Second Saturday Safety Series every month” or SSSSem for short.
“That first Saturday pulled in 23-24 people,” recalls Hill. “Today, SSSSem pulls in about 50 attendees from as far as 50 miles away.”
So far, Hill figures more than 4,500 people have attended SSSSem. And none of it would’ve been possible without the long-term help of EAA Chapter 157.
“Jim Barry was a member of the Tres Amigos flying club at Redding’s Benton Field (O85) at the time,” continued Hill.
Tres Amigos had three planes in a large hangar on the airport. They committed to opening the hangar, pushing out the planes and hosting the SSSSem each month.
While SSSSem has moved among various locations on the airport, Chapter 157 has steadfastly remained involved.
“EAA Chapter 157 has been a key factor in insuring that this safety seminar series has been successful and continues to be successful today,” said Hill. “Without fail, they make certain the meeting location is ready for the attendees. That means pushing aircraft out of a hangar, moving and setting up folding chairs, making coffee for sometimes up to 82 people, and setting up audio/visual equipment. And then reversing all of the above at the end of the seminar.”
“The SSSSem is the nation’s longest running safety seminar,” that EAA Chapter 157 president Jim Bremer is aware of. “Since we started, we’ve never missed one. And bringing the pilot community together each month has been great for the chapter and the greater community.”
Bremer adds they may have picked up a few members as a result of the seminars “but that has never been the point.”
Today, SSSSem meets in Chapter 157’s quonset hut on the west side of Benton Airport. November’s SSSSem, held Nov. 14, was Chapter 157’s 113th consecutive seminar.
If this isn’t an example of living an aviation (and safety) lifestyle, I don’t know what is.