New Art Salutes History, Dedicated to Aviation Workers

A bold image of the new-age GlobalFlyer aircraft gracefully gliding over a wheat field ahead of a Kansas storm, calls up special memories for Troy Vancil.

The former nine-year member of the Salina Airport Authority board, beamed in early August while marveling at his concrete art — dubbed “Endure” — after its public display.

Hanging near the baggage claim in M.J. Kennedy Air Terminal, the vibrant production serves as a sort of shrine of both aviation accomplishments and challenges conquered in Salina and north-central Kansas.

The one-of-a-kind artwork in 27 layered colors, is on a base of plywood and two coats of one-eighth-inch thick concrete. The vision harkens back to the a feat of adventurer Steve Fossett swooping toward a landing at Salina Regional Airport, on March 3, 2005.

On that unseasonably warm day, in front of some 16,000 onlookers, the daring pilot set a world record in the first solo circumnavigation of the globe, without refueling. The flight lasted 67 hours, two minutes and 38 seconds traveling 23,000 miles, taking off and landing at Salina.

“It captures a moment that’s really important to Salina’s history,” said Vancil, 57, a concrete worker by trade who is transitioning the material into art with a few of his close friends around the nation.

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Concrete artist Troy Vancil poses with his latest work “Endure” at M.J. Kennedy Air Terminal (Photo courtesy of Tim Unruh)