On October 7, 8 and 9 2019,   CRVI presented its  annual seminar on the 2020 Collins Aerospace Systems Insurance program for retirees at Kirkwood Regional Center of Linn County. 


If you were unable to attend one of these seminars, or would like a copy of the handouts, the handouts are available below:

Collins Avionics Insurance Options


On Oct 7, 8, & 9, 2019 (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday ), CRVI (formerly RCRV) will hold our annual seminar on the Collins Avionics Insurance Seminar for retirees at

     Kirkwood Regional Center of Linn County
     1770 Boyson Road
     Hiawatha, IA 52233

The briefing will be repeated at 9:00, 12:30 and 3:00 each of the days. We again will have Collins Avionics Insurance executives and Via Benefits (formerly Towers Watson One Exchange) representatives available to assist in answering questions that you may have.


  • Collins Avionics Insurance options for pre-65 retires (40 minutes)
  • break
  • Optional Welcome to Medicare discussion (50 minutes)

You do need to make reservations, as we have space for only 200 people for each session. To make reservations for a specific seminar, sign up online at “CRVIowa.org/reservations”. You will get confirmation of your reservation by return email.  This is the preferred way to register.

If you do not have access to a computer, or do not have an email address, you may call 319-804-8801 and leave a message with the desired seminar date and time, and the number of people attending. 
You will not receive a return call unless your selected seminar time is no longer available.

Cedar Amateur Astronomers, (CAA), recently received a grant from Rockwell Collins administered by Rockwell Collins Retiree Volunteers (RCRV). This grant was for the purpose of “volunteer recruitment, retention and training.” CAA, a non-profit organization, manages a million-dollar facility known as the Eastern Iowa Observatory and Learning Center (EIOLC) located on the Linn County Conservation’s Palisades-Dows nature preserve south-east of Cedar Rapids. The astronomical observatory is manned entirely by volunteers, there is no paid staff, so obviously volunteers are a vital part of the operation of the observatory. CAA officers Greg Frohner (President) and John Leeson (Vice President and RCRV member) accepted the grant award at the RCRV board meeting in June, thanking the RCRV review team for their careful consideration of their application. This grant was very timely for CAA.


Over the last ten years the Learning Center portion of the facility has had several additions in the way of interactive exhibits, aiming to expand the services of the EIOLC toward expanded visitor involvement in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Popular exhibits of "Lessons in Light", "Stellarium Planetarium Software Stations", "Size of the Universe" touch screen display, and "Our Sun and How it Works" are providing interactive learning experiences that are related to astronomy and space science, but not directly involving telescopes or observing the night sky. These activities are important because visitors may not be able to observe the sky through telescopes if they visit during the daytime, as many younger school children do, or if the sky is cloudy when they arrive for scheduled or reserved events. Astronomy itself is described by President Frohner as the “embodiment of STEM” due to its deep involvement in all aspects of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.. When combined with the current and planned interactive exhibits the EIOLC is becoming a STEM Center, a new generation of ‘Science Center’.

Outdoor PlanetariumIt is no longer sufficient to have a number of astronomy enthusiasts and telescope operators manning the EIOLC for visitors to the center. The EIOLC receives between 2500 and 3000 visitors a year, generally about one-third children and students and two-thirds adults. As mentioned above, oftentimes the sky is too cloudy or conditions not optimal for these visitors to view the sky; they always receive a tour of the sophisticated and valuable telescope facilities however. When they cannot fully appreciate the astronomical experience, they can participate in the interactive exhibits that support phases of the astronomical sciences or tour the other static displays of pictures, astronomy news, or other items of interest. For purposes of assisting visitors in enjoying the full capability of the facility, we often need not only our telescope operators and astronomy enthusiasts, but volunteers acting as hosts, exhibit docents, and organizational representatives. The CAA has a membership with a wide variety of experience and interests. We plan to utilize the grant money to extend our reach for volunteers into a larger portion of this membership as well as reaching outside of the association into a greater pool of available volunteers. Anyone with an interest in meeting people, in STEM, or who believes exposure of our children to more science related activities could help with our mission. You can contact CAA to explore volunteering opportunities by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or attend any of our public events and meet Greg or John, who are nearly always there. 

More information is available at the website: https://cedar-astronomers.org

EIOLC Campus

A number of RCRV members are involved with Cedar Amateur Astronomers (CAA) in the operation of the Eastern Iowa Observatory and Learning Center (EIOLC).

The partnership between Cedar Amateur Astronomers and Linn County Conservation recently received a grant from the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation for the development of an Outdoor Planetarium which will be located at the site of the EIOLC at 1365 Ivanhoe Road. An Outdoor Planetarium uses the actual night sky with a presentation about the visible objects in the sky using a green laser pointer. The audience sees a narrow green line from the presenter to the astronomical object so there is no confusion about what is being described.

EIOLC Outdoor Planetarium Construction of the Outdoor Planetarium will begin this Spring and is expected to be completed by Fall of 2018. The design and specific location of the Outdoor Planetarium was determined as a result of trial presentations performed by CAA to identify the seating, lighting, and audio requirements for nighttime presentations. The permanent seating is planned to accommodate 50 to 60 guests. The picture on the right shows a bird's eye view of the EIOLC campus, with the oval on the bottom showing the location of the new Outdoor Planetarium.

Cedar Amateur Astronomers provides 12 free Public Events, and an average of 60 Private Events at the EIOLC each year for community organizations, scouting groups, church groups, public and private schools, colleges, and universities.

Information regarding CAA and events at the EIOLC is available at cedar-astronomers.org. This web site includes a listing of the 12 free Public Programs at the EIOLC during 2018.

Almost everyone has a cell phone today and we regard achievements like the recent Space X launch and landing as a matter of fact. Yet to get to where we are today has been a herculean level of technological advances.
July 2019 will be the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. The risks back then were high, but with the technical skills, desire, passion and innovativeness of US designers, there were fewer failures than would be statistically predicted. Collins Radio Company, lead by Arthur Collins, was an important part of that success story. 
  • All space English voice audio and video transmissions have been on Collins equipment. 
  • Collins equipment never had any operational failures in the space program. 
  • Collins provided much of the tracking support for the space missions. (If you would like to see a good movie about the tracking support rent “The Dish”). 
The Arthur A. Collins Legacy Association (AACLA) volunteers are working to preserve the Collins Legacy in history. Part of this effort is collecting artifacts, conducting personal interviews and getting stories about Collins Radio culture and contributions to technology and, in this case, the Moon Landing. 
AACLA is in the process of producing a series of documentaries, with formats defined to be useable by TV stations and streaming, to celebrate the Moon Landing anniversary and to inform the public about the culture of the Collins Radio Company and its contributions, not only in the space program, but in areas like Arthur’s Attic Lab, Communications, Avionics Systems, use of modems for high speed transmission of digital data and GPS. Additionally, there are some very unique programs and people rarely heard about outside the electronics community that illustrates the leadership role and culture of Collins Radio Company that will be included. 
Associated with this celebration, the Arthur A. Collins Legacy Association (AACLA), and the Rockwell Collins Museum are looking for Collins retirees that worked on the Apollo equipment. Contact Terry Lamb at 319-573-2654 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you have experience on the Apollo equipment and want to be included in the Apollo Celebration.
If you would like more information about our efforts, go to the two websites shown below and learn more about Collins history and ways you might get involved. A listing of AACLA Board and Volunteers are shown below. 
Terry Lamb President, 319-573-2654
Michael Collins Vice President, 530-265-8046
Rod Blocksome Secretary, 319-329-7676
Alicia Jackson Treasurer
Becky Woodward RC Liaison & Legal Counsulting, Board Member
Mike Hynek RC Museum Curator, 319-573-6024
Keith Erickson Board Member
Jim Shanklin Board Member
Myron Wilson Board Member
Lawrence Robinson Board Member
Jim Stitzinger Board Member
Don Stulken Volunteer Coordinator, Grant Writer, Board Member
Jim Jones Renovation Volunteer
Jules Yoder Renovation Volunteer
Larry Tjaden Volunteer, Website
Gordon Fabian Volunteer