BONNIE GANN 99/ARCHIE GANN 49-1/2: FL Spaceport Chapter
Gann started flying in 1973 while her husband Laird was stationed in Key West. She had seen the fun and challenge
he was having with his lessons. She decided to get her certificate then, with her husband and 3 children, moved to Merritt
Bonnie’s enthusiasm for flying led her to become a staunch supporter of aviation and especially
women pilots. She built up her hours and ratings by flying as a "go-fer" for an aviation dealer at the local airport
in Merritt Island. She held ASMELS, Commercial, Instrument, CFI, CFII, AGI and was currently working on her ATP. She
soon joined the 99s where through the years she held all the offices on the Chapter level then proceeded on to the Section
level where the highest she could go was Governor. She then became very active with the International Board and spent much
time in helping rewrite the bylaws.
At the time of her death she had been elected to the International Board of
Directors. She found time daily out of her busy schedule of being wife, mother, Assistant to her Dr. husband, and flight instructor
to phone or write people about some current or future ideas she had to better promote the 99's and aviation.
gave speeches, seminars, and did time study observations at airports. At the drop of a hat she willingly gave time and energy
to bring awareness of general aviation to the public. In 1974, she became interested in air racing. From that year on and
until her untimely death she participated in more than 30 races and except for a very few, she always finished in the top
5 or 10 places. She was much sought after as co-pilot due to her innate ability to know where they were at any moment. She
was never reluctant to share her knowledge with other contestants.
She and her husband owned several planes through
the years. Among the aircraft owned were Cessna 172, 210, 180, Mooney, Cherokee 6, and 2 Beech Barons. However, she was "at
home" in anything she flew, from ither left to right seat. Anyone who had even the shortest ride with her soon found
themselves at the controls getting an abbreviated lesson. She even had a supply of student pilot log books which she would
fill in and sign and present to her passenger.
During the early 1980's she and her husband divorced. To get through
that difficult period she worked full time teaching Instrument ground school and giving levels of flying lessons. Ironically,
in on of her classes a man who was to become her future husband, Archie Gann. Archie said Bonnie was the only woman he ever
knew who could answer all his technical questions and tell him what to do.
She was active in many other organizations
besides the 99s i.e.: Florida Race Pilots Assoc., AOPA, Florida Grasshoppers, Baron Owners, and Chief Judge for NIFA for several
years and coordinated their regional competition and the Brevard Aviation Association. She and Archie helped found the B.A.A.
and she served as President of it for 2 years. Her full time jobs were president of Orange Computer and Floridata Services
and bringing influence and harmony into the lives of their 7 children.
She was much respected by men and women
in all walks of life. To emulate her would be an honor, a privilege and a worthwhile goal.
was introduced to aviation in the early 1980's by his friend and business partner, Dennis Jaffee. While working together trying
to raise catfish in above ground swimming pools, Dennis introduced Archie to his favorite hobby, flying. Although the catfish
farm was a failed venture, Archie's love for aviation only kindled a flame that very quickly led to a private pilot certificate
and a joint purchase of two 152's and a 172 with Dennis Jaffee. Up until late 1983, Archie and Dennis leased these three planes
out of Orlando West Airport and eventually bought a Cessna 210 which became Archie's set of "wings".
taking an instrument ground course at Brevard Community College, Archie met Bonnie Quenzler, his instructor. Their mutual
love of aviation helped foster a relationship that had Bonnie instructing Archie in his quest for his Commercial certificate
with Multiengine and Instrument ratings. This relationship also led to their marriage on Feb. 15, 1985. From that moment
on, the two of them were an unbeatable team as far as flying was concerned. Archie, also, was always there to help in furthering
interest in aviation. He helped with races, meetings, and any organizational duties needed. His fine mind and sense of humor
endeared him to all who knew him and especially those he worked so closely with in the aviation field.
meant for them to go together for either one would have been lost without the other.