Reminisces of Carol Bitner-Collins

Reminisces of Carol Bitner-Collins
The First Chairman
Carol Bitner-Collins


Final Flight for Carolyn Bitner-Collins

Carolyn Barron Bitner-Collins was born February 2, 1937, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Dr. Herbert and Mary "Alice" Barron. She was the oldest of four sisters.

Carolyn graduated Trappe High School in 1954 in Collegeville PA. She attended Drexel Institute of Technology (now Drexel University) in Philadelphia, where she was majoring in Electrical Engineering. A year later she left Drexel and married Ronald Christiana who enlisted in the Air Force and started a family; Steve, Stuart and Bunny.

During her 25 years marriage to Ron, she lived at the following locations: Offutt AFB (Omaha Nebraska), Guam, Chanute AFB (Rantoul Illinois), Gunter AFB (Montgomery Alabama), Iraklion Air Station Crete, Wiesbaden Germany, Columbus Ohio, Altus AFB (Altus Oklahoma), Bunker Hill AFB (Bunker Hill Indiana), Ankara Turkey and Grissom AFB Indiana (formerly Bunker Hill AFB). After their divorce she moved to Metairie, Louisiana for a couple of years then moved to Dallas, Texas in 1981.

She said that you donít get old until you quit having fun. She loved to joke and kid. Since her birthday was on Ground Hogís Day, her children annually wished her a Happy Birthday by asking, "Did you see your shadow yet?"

Carolyn fell in love with flying as a young girl when a family friend and high school band teacher took her up in his Piper Cub plane. Her pilot training started in 1972 while at Grissom AFBís Aero Club.

In the United States, airplane pilots are not granted a license to fly, they are issued a pilot certificate, which is good for life. The pinnacle is the Airline Transport Pilot certificate.

She made her living in aviation starting in 1975. She held an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate, as well as Certificates for Flight Instruction and Instrument Flight Instruction for both Single Engine and Multi-Engine Aircraft. She accumulated many thousands of hours of flight time.

Carolynís aviation experience included:
- Pilot-in-Command: Assistant Chief Flight Instructor,
Astro-Wing Aviation, 1979 - 1981.
- Pilot-in-Command: PA31/CE208/
2nd-in-Command: CE-501, Martinaire, Inc.,
1985 - 1990, Addison, TX.
- Flight Instructor: Pro Aircraft, 1991 - 1991, Fort Worth, TX.
- Chief Flight Instructor: AFTC, 1992 - 1992.
- Corporate Pilot: Aviall, 1992 - 1996, Dallas, TX.
- Adjunct Aviation Instructor: Mountain View College,
1991 - 1997, Dallas, TX.
- Cessna Citation Instructor:
Part 142 Citation Pod Manager
SimuFlite/QuickTurn, 1996 - 2004. DFW Airport/Grapevine, TX.
- Training Center Manager: PrestoSIM, Inc., 2004 - 2005
- Aviation Adjunct Professor & Flight Instructor:
Mountain View College, 2006 - 2022, Dallas, TX.
- Aviation Education Consultant: Aug 2014 - 2022,
Dallas/Fort Worth Area.

Carolynís aviation education experience included:
- Associates Degree - Applied Arts and Science 1984:
Aviation Technology Professional Pilot,
Mountain View College (MVC), Dallas, TX
- Initiated into the MVC chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa
National Honor Fraternity.
- Bachelors of Business Administration
Business Administration
and Management 1997
Northwood University-Texas, Summa Cum Laude
- Master of Aeronautical Science Aviation
Aerospace Education Technology and Aviation/Aerospace Safety Systems
2012: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University,
- Adjunct Professor Mountain View College.
- Aviation Instructor 2015 - 2016: DeSoto High School (DeSoto, Texas).

While at Mountain View College, she was on the team that received the MVC Innovator of the Year Award in 2011 for their work building and using a model of the Wright Brothers' wind tunnel as a teaching tool.

She played the piano, volunteered as the alternate organist at her church, and sang in the church choir.

In 2007, she learned about the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary, from the Supply Priest at her Church. He suggested that since she lived in Grand Prairie, and there was a CAP squadron there, she should join that CAP squadron.

In that squadron, the "go-to" officer for questions was Lt Col E. S. "Tex" Collins. Like most of the others in the squadron, when she had a question, she went to Tex. Soon, they were spending time together.

Finally, they announced to the CAP squadron members that they were getting married. A member in the back of the room called out, "Who won the pool?" Everybody had figured out that they were in love, but them. They were married on May 2, 2009, in her church.

As a couple, they had very few disagreements, but they had a
boat load of belly laughs and giggles. They shared a many loves
including flying, music, good food, art, and a love of God.

She rose to the rank of Lt. Col. in the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the USAF Auxiliary. She had the rating of CAP Command Pilot. When her heart problems prevented her from being the Pilot in Command, she found other ways to help. She served as the CAP Aerospace Education Officer for the State of Texas for about 2 years.

As a member of the CAP, she continued to take part in Search & Rescue (SAR) and Disaster Recovery (DR) missions both as a pilot and as a staff officer. She completed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Incident Command System (ICS) 100, 200, 300, 400, 700, and 800 courses. Later she became the Maintenance officer for the aircraft at Crusader Composite Squadron and the Assistant Maintenance officer for Group 3 of the Texas Wing of the Civil Air Patrol.

She and her husband created a non-profit corporation to promote aerospace education. They named it the Aerospace Education Foundation of Texas. It was approved by the State of Texas and the IRS as a non-profit charity. There is talk of renaming the charity the Carol Bitner-Collins Aerospace Foundation.

Carolyn passed away with congestive heart issues in her home, located in Grand Prairie, Texas, on June 23, 2022. Her husband, Tex Collins, is still an active member of the Civil Air Patrol and is on the staff of Commander for the State of Texas Civil Air Patrol.

Carol was preceded in death by her son, Stuart Christiana. She is survived by her husband, Tex, her son Stephen Christiana, daughter Bunny Giddens, her sisters, Margie Green, Nancy Bitner, and Linda Courtright, numerous grandchildren, great grandchildren, and one great-great granddaughter. Also, she is survived by boatloads of nieces, nephews, other family, and a host of friends.

Carol's Favorite Poem

High Flight

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds,- and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air ....

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark nor ever eagle flew- And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Final Flight for Carol Bitner-Collins
Climb to release of ashes

She will be missed!

On the morning of Saturday, November 19, 2022, Carolyn B. Bitner-Collins took her final flight, and her ashes were scattered over the Midway Regional Airport, KJWY, (halfway between Midlothian, TX, and Waxahachie, TX).

The Texas Secretary of State has officially changed the name of the Aerospace Education Foundation of Texas to the Carolyn Bitner-Collins Aerospace Foundation.

Carolyn Bitner-Collins Aerospace Foundation
402 Kingston Dr
Grand Prairie, TX 75051

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