Taking to the skies

Gift of plane to K-State Polytechnic’s aviation program will help students soar

Aviation and paying it forward: These are the two things that Keith O’Dell enjoyed the most. “He loved to take people flying and was always explaining what he was doing and what the plane was doing,” said Keith’s widow Pat.

For Keith, giving back was always important. Upon his passing, his family decided that the best way to honor him was to donate his Cessna 182 Skylane to the next generation of pilots at K-State Polytechnic. “Several young men who flew with him as kids went on to get their pilot’s license,” said Pat. “He wanted the plane to go on to our grandkids or someone that he could help learn to fly. I think he would be very pleased to know it was going to a flight training facility to further aviation for others.”

Keith first found his passion for flying as a young man. “In 1961, Keith was working at Schilling Air Force Base on the Atlas Missile Project. Being around aircraft every day was where he got the inspiration that he wanted to learn to fly,” Pat said. 

“It took a few years to get the license, but he ended with fixed-wing single and multiple-engine ratings and rotor blade ratings. He started with a partnership in a Beech Musketeer, later had a club membership in a Sky Hawk, then bought the Skylane and had an Enstrom and 12-E Hiller helicopters, Keith was also VFR and instrument rated.”

The love of flying lives on in Keith and Pat’s grandkids. “This fall I will have four grandkids at K-State — Bernard, Helen, Sybil, and Wyndom Giefer,” said Pat. “They have voiced an interest in aviation but aren’t quite ready for the Skylane yet. I realize that leaving an airplane in the hangar and not flying it is very detrimental to it. When the time comes for them to need an aircraft, we will look to the future for something we can use.”

The goal of K-State Polytechnic is to be a global leader in aerospace. This gift helps K-State Polytechnic towards that goal and creates new opportunities for student education.

To support K-State Polytechnic’s aviation program contact Galen Bunning, galenb@ksufoundation.org,  785-775-2138

By James Dalton Burton

I am interested in these topics

Contact a gift officer