For more information on upcoming events please visit Upcoming Meetings.


Lawyer-Pilots Bar Association

Spring 2015

President's Message



Greetings from the LPBA! We recently completed our 2015 Winter Convention at the beautiful Sunscape Resort in Cozumel, Mexico.  It was a great success, with almost 100 attendees!  The speakers were excellent and the weather was just perfect.  Many of us took advantage of the nearby coral reefs.  One of the highlights was the snorkeling trip on Friday afternoon, arranged by my better half Mary and drawing enough LPBAers to fill two big boats and one small one.  Many attendees also found time to golf, tour the Mayan ruins on the island, ride bikes, use the resort's sailboats, go scuba diving, etc. With food and drinks included, it was a bargain as well.

A successful CLE convention requires hard work and dedication from many people.  Hence, I want to take this opportunity to express my most sincere gratitude to Mark Pierce, our President-Elect and Chair of the LPBA Program Committee, for finding, scheduling, and working with our amazing panel of speakers.  For me, one of the most interesting CLE presentations was the panel of aviation lawyers from Mexico who discussed several legal issues of concern to members of the Mexican aviation community.  They also shared with us valuable information about flying from the U.S. into Mexico.

Next, I wish to thank all of the attendees — both members and their guests — for dedicating the time, energy and money required to travel out of the U.S. for a unique educational experience.  Special recognition is due to the six LPBA members who were attending their first LPBA convention:  Ronnie Dykes, Arnold Feldman, Bruce Marshall, Robert McGeorge, Brien Stockman, and Robert Van deVuurst. We hope to see you again soon!  I also want to thank members of the LPBA Executive Committee and Board of Directors for their focus on the “business end” of the LPBA. 

I also need to thank our Executive Director, Karen Griggs, for all of her hard work, attention to detail, and putting up with me while I worried about logistical problems, minor details, and whether everyone was enjoying themselves.  In addition, I must thank our convention sponsors:  Slack & Davis; the Law Offices of Robert Feldman; Gilman Law Offices; Savant Capital; Hinshaw & Culbertson; Luman, Helfman & Tucker; and Weiss & Associates.  Finally, we need to thank the generous folks who made contributions to our silent auction.  Sponsorships and silent auction donations are much appreciated because they help keep our registration fees as low as possible.


Our Summer Convention will be held at the Harbor Hotel, Watkins Glen, New York, on July 22-25, 2015.  I urge you to sign up soon.  The hotel is located on the south shore of Lake Seneca, one of the beautiful lakes in the Finger Lakes region of western New York, and the area is full of aviation history and current activity, as you will see.  There will be opportunities for boat trips, float plane rides, vineyard tours, golfing, etc.  A highlight will be our Saturday night banquet, which will take place at the Glenn Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport among its spectacular collection of aircraft.  Please check the LPBA website (www, and/or your mail for the meeting announcement and registration information.

If you have never attended an LPBA convention, please add it to your "must do" list!  Our conventions not only provide thought-provoking CLE, they give you the opportunity to spend time with a wonderful group of people at nice resorts.  Note that our conventions are not just career-focused, but also family- and friendship-oriented, making us different from all other professional organizations.  Most members bring a spouse or significant other to our conventions, and some, like Mary and me, bring their kids (whether minors or young adults)! Our convention activities, both planned and unplanned, give members the chance to network with other aviation-focused professionals. But they also give members the chance to socialize with colleagues and their families.  Over the years, I made many valuable business relationships, and made new friends, by attending LPBA conventions. 


I am extremely pleased to announce that the LPBA Board of Directors approved the planning and funding necessary to launch the new LPBA website, on which work is now proceeding. It will be very attractive, easy to navigate, and extremely useful to you, the members.

Special appreciation is extended to John Cane, the Chair of the LPBA Website Committee, for taking the lead on this comprehensive project, with very able assistance by members Ron Herold, himself an accomplished web designer, Ben Allen, and Jim Waldon. John solicited proposals from various website designers, created the design requirements for our new website, evaluated the submissions, and made well thought-out recommendations to the EC and the Board.  One of my main goals for my year as President was to bring about the new website project, and thanks to John and those helping him we’ll all get to see it!  It should be up and running in the next few months. Watch for an e-blast soon.


For most of us, the most tangible reward for our membership is this Journal, published quarterly under the wise and witty stewardship of Gary Allen.  The Journal is a top-notch legal publication, always filled with informative and interesting articles.  I cannot thank Gary enough for the work he does as the Chair of the LPBA’s Journal Committee.  It amazes me how Gary can make certain that the quality and content of the LPBA Journal is always first-rate.  I would also like to thank the LPBA’s Associate Editor Ellen Riddle for her great work.


During the Winter convention, the Nominating Committee met and announced the nominations to be voted on at the Summer convention in the Glen.  Charlie Morgenstern, an active member who is currently on the Board, has been nominated for Secretary.  John Cane, Frank Steinberg, and Stuart Smith have been nominated to fill open positions on the Board.  Art Hankin has also agreed to serve another term as a Board member.  If you are a member and interesting in taking a more active role in the LPBA, either as a convention speaker, a contributor to the Journal, a regional or state chairperson, a member of one of our standing committees, a Board member, or an officer, please let me know.


In order to continue our vitality, we must work hard and strive to keep our membership numbers strong.  If you are already a member, I urge you to reach out to your friends, family and colleagues within the legal and aviation communities, and ask them to join the LPBA.  We are a member-driven organization, and the health and welfare of LPBA depends on always finding new members.  If each current member could recruit just one new member to join the LPBA, we would promptly double our membership!

Speaking of membership, please consider becoming a Sustaining Member if you aren't already.  Our regular annual membership dues are just $119 per year (even less for students), but you also have the option of providing the critical financial support of our $250 Sustaining Membership. In addition to nice warm feeling, Sustaining Membership gives you special recognition in the Journal, on the website, and at our conventions. 

Sustaining or not, another critical option is to sign up for automatic membership renewal by credit card.  Be assured that every year you’ll be notified by e-mail before the charge is made so that you can revert to manual payments if you wish.  Automatic renewals significantly reduce the costs associated with maintaining and updating our membership records. Help us pass those savings on to you.

In closing, it is a pleasure and a privilege to serve as the LPBA President, and I hope to see you in Watkins Glen. If you have any ideas or suggestions as to what direction LPBA should take, where our conventions should be held, how you can help, or what we can do to improve our organization, please send me an email at, or call me at 414-225-4808 (office) or 414-520-6877 (cell) at any time.





Russ Klingaman, LPBA President

Quick Links


Member Directory and Online Issues of the LPBA Journal      (MEMBERS ONLY SECTION)

Recent Development in Aviation Law
By: Cecile Hatfield, Esq.

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