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The Lansing Airport once again has a compass rose, thanks to an eagle scout candidate

Alex Steadman brings back the navigational aid as his aviation passion met an ideal opportunity

LANSING, Ill. (May 28, 2024) – An 80-foot compass rose has been restored at the Lansing Municipal Airport, thanks to 16-year-old Eagle Scout candidate Alex Steadman.

With help from dozens of volunteers, Steadman led a project earlier this month to paint the navigational aid on a taxiway at the airport, which pilots can use to re-orient their plane’s instruments.

“For small airplane pilots, a compass rose is a device that you can use to line up your internal plane instruments with the actual compass painted on the concrete. That way, you know all your instruments are right and you can calibrate everything else from there,” said Steadman, who’s part of Troop 75 in Bolingbrook.

Passion meets opportunity

Aviation runs in Steadman’s family, as his mom, Jessica Reinschmidt, works for Alaska Airlines, and his dad, Xan Steadman, works for Spirit Airlines.

“I’m looking to also be a pilot like both my parents,” Steadman said.

Alex Steadman measures and marks out a compass rose design the day before he and a group of volunteers painted it. (Photo provided by the Village of Lansing)

As he drew closer to the end of his Eagle Scout journey, Steadman and his parents began searching for opportunities for his final project. Reinschmidt is a member of the Ninety-Nines, an international organization of female pilots. The group expressed a desire to repaint a compass rose at the Lansing Airport because the previous one had been lost during a recent re-pavement project. Reinschmidt helped her son connect the dots, and he began to spearhead the project.

“This was something that was wanted by the airport, the Ninety-Nines wanted to re-do it, and I had the connection through my mother to be involved in such a group. And it’s an aviation-based project, … which is something I have passion for,” Steadman said.

Planning, executing, learning

“We had been planning for close to a full year in advance,” Steadman said, adding that the original date for the painting was last fall, but was pushed back due to weather.

On Friday, May 10, Steadman marked out the design for the compass rose using chalk on tape. On Saturday, May 11, Steadman and his team of volunteers came out to paint the white and blue compass design and the letters marking the directions.

Compass Rose
Volunteers came to the Lansing Airport on May 11 to help Alex Steadman paint a compass rose for his Eagle Scout project. (Photo provided by the Village of Lansing)
Volunteers paint the Ninety-Nines’ logo on the compass rose. (Photo provided by the Village of Lansing)
Compass rose
The compass rose was painted on a taxiway, and will be used by pilots to orient their internal navigation instruments. The “MN” on the top of the compass refers to “magnetic north.” (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Steadman said the project helped him realize the amount of planning needed for such an endeavor.

“Just because it seems simple on paper doesn’t mean it’s so simple in reality, because of the amount of planning that goes into something like this: procuring supplies, getting the specialty paint, forming a date that works for both parties,” Steadman said, who also solicited donations from stores such as Home Depot to donate supplies to the cause.

Steadman said the next step in his Eagle Scout process is to fill out an “after action” report, summarizing his project. Then, an Eagle Scout board of review will determine if he will achieve the rank of Eagle.

Beyond the Scouts, Steadman hopes to someday be one of the pilots who will make use of his compass rose.

“The last compass rose lasted 20 years, so I really hope I’m able to experience that in my time,” he said.

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Josh Bootsma
Josh Bootsma
Josh is Managing Editor at The Lansing Journal and believes in the power and purpose of community news. He covers any local topics—from village government to theatre, from business openings to migratory birds.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Absolutely wonderful work, not only for your Scouting project , but for all the pilots who will find it usefull in the years to come!

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