In 1958, brothers Bill and Ed Souder, avid pilots, and Boy Scouts of America Explorer Scout Troop Scoutmasters wanted to introduce their Troops to the passion, skills, and life enhancing abilities that come with general aviation.
However, after the first airplane, an Aeronca Champion, was purchased, the Boy Scouts of America balked and would not approve this new undertaking due to their concern about liability issues. So, Bill and Ed, ever resourceful, transformed their Explorer Scout Troop into the Air Rangers.
At the beginning, members wore old Air Force uniforms – Ike jackets with distinctive wings and insignia. Interestingly, the more licenses and ratings a member earned the more stripes that were pinned to the epilates.
During those early years there were a number of airplanes, the aforementioned Aeronca Champ, a Cessna 170 taildragger converted to a tricycle gear, Piper PA-12 and eventually Cessna 172’s and a Cessna 206.
As with the Boy Scouts, camaraderie building fundraisers were at the heart of the Air Rangers.
Early fundraisers included bundling lumber mill scrap wood and selling as firewood; Christmas tree sales that included driving two or three owned or rented flatbed semi’s to Wisconsin to cut, bundle, and pickup. After the Air Rangers acquired trees, they staffed three to four sales lots, 24 hours a day displaying trees, hung by their tips from a cable strung between two telephone poles. The telephone poles were installed each year in holes that were hand dug by the members.
Other fundraisers included fly-In breakfasts, notably the KFCM Tower Inauguration fly-in breakfast, as well as numerous Air Shows. Members earned club-flying credit from these endeavors.
Members also build the current cement block hanger, block by block, which is situated at the South End of Charley Lane, and coincidentally offers a wonderful view of the entire airfield and sports the only tree on the field. In the first years, the hanger did not have a roof; just block walls and the canvas roll down door.
In 2003, the Air Rangers re-organized as The Rangers Flying Club and members became equity owners. Currently on the flight line, the club offers a Cessna 172N and a Cessna 177RG, a comfortable cross-country airplane.
Today, nearly 60 years later, the Rangers Flying Club is a growing, thriving Club with many social and aviation related activities. We have pilots that range in age from 16 through retirement. Bill and Ed proved their prescience, as many members became student pilots, private pilots, commercial pilots, airline pilots, military pilots, and Air Traffic Controllers; Bill and Ed would be proud of what has been accomplished from the humble beginnings that were begun all those years ago.
The Rangers meet monthly to review maintenance issues, financial reports, and club business.
The Rangers Flying Club continues its rich heritage, humble attitude, and passion for affordable flying.
Please join us!