Reaching out to help GA grow


We all discuss the declining numbers of pilots in FAA‘s database. Despite widespread concerns, efforts to bring more people into aviation have fallen short.

Several worthy projects have attempted to reverse the drop in the pilot population. Over the years, EAA’s Young Eagles program has put nearly a million and a half kids into airplanes. That’s a wonderful achievement, thanks to EAA‘s leadership and many thousands of willing volunteer pilots.

One LSA provider, Remos, has worked with the organization to provide flights to a large flock of kids attending EAA summer flying camps.

Yet we must do more to interest people in flying. Along those lines, I’m at once amazed and appreciative that AOPA and EAA have chosen to combine efforts (finally!). AOPA also is completely refashioning its former Expo into the new AOPA Aviation Summit.

For the first time, AOPA will be reaching outside the aviation community to welcome the public into all general aviation has to offer.

For the fifth year in a row, the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA) will work with AOPA event planners to provide an LSA area at the airport display, which itself will focus on more public outreach this year. One neat new addition: Seaplanes, including LSA, flying from a pier right next to Peter O. Knight Airport in Tampa, Florida.

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  1. kmisegades says

    “Welcome to the world of GA, sucker.” Harsh words, but probably the way some new LSA pilots feel. Since many LSA pilots live in Florida, a place where one can still find ethanol-free fuels, this may not be as acute an issue, but unless the mandates are changed, they will too.

    Thanks for telling it like it is, Dean.

  2. says

    Dan –

    While it is laudable that you, EAA, LAMA, AOPA, et. al. lament the decline in pilot numbers and are always planning some program to increase interest in GA, have you ever considered doing something that would really make flying cheaper and would actually make an LSA efficient, economical and useful? That would be promoting unleaded gasoline infrastructure on public use airports. Since ethanol free unleaded auto gas is approved and even recommended for 99% of LSA, why aren’t the aviation alphabet groups supporting a movement to get mogas on airports. Currently less than 4% of airports that have fuel service also pump mogas and that number is declining because of the unintended consequences of the federal RFS mandate, EISA 2007, which is driving terminals to blend E10 everywhere. Had there been a large presence of mogas on our airports the terminals would be insuring a supply today.

    Kent Misegades, Todd Petersen and I presented a forum on the future of fuel for aviation, The Looming Crisis, at AirVenture 2009 and invited you and representatives from LAMA, GAMA, AOPA, FAA, EPA, etc. to join the forum. Nobody showed up. (If any readers are interested in the forum presentation, the slides are here:

    I am aware that only EAA making a comment on the proposal before the EPA, that the ethanol producers asked for, to raise the limit from 10% to 15% ethanol blending in gasoline for non flex-fuel vehicles. I, as a pilot, along with EAA and a large number of marine representatives asked for a prohibition of the blending of ethanol in all premium unleaded gasoline so that General Aviation would have a source of the fuel it needs in the future, especially since 100 LL has a problematic future. Where was LAMA, GAMA, AOPA and the other aviation alphabets when the comment period was open?

    I wonder how prospective LSA pilots are going to feel when they find out that the new airplane that they just bought and are learning to fly in is certified for mogas, but there isn’t any on any airports and they have to use expensive 100 LL which doubles their maintenance costs and has an uncertain future. Welcome to the world of GA, sucker.

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