Holiday gift-giving, Washington-style

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Reaching reliable sources of information here can often be confusing and frustrating. I sought to interview someone about the Christmas holidays and wanted to go directly to the source for gift giving.

Knowing the problems of getting correct answers in Washington, I started checking sources around the nation. Everyone I talked to directed me to the same place. When I finally made contact, I was right back here in Washington and introduced to Uncle Sam. His hand-outs to folks in this country and around the world cause many to think of him as Santa Claus.

Finally, I reached the real Santa and was able to learn what he plans to bring to folks in Washington. This news, of course, was embargoed and told to me only on the condition that I not release it until Christmas morning. However, this being Washington, confidential information always leaks out. So, here goes:

Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association, is getting a very large fat cat. Santa said calling business flying a perk for fat cats as done by some politicians is so wrong he would help the accusers be right at least once by giving NBAA one fat cat in its membership. Of course, the politicians will have to “feed the kitty,” which is directly opposite to what they are accustomed to doing.

Craig Fuller, president and CEO of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and Rod Hightower, president of the Experimental Aircraft Association, will find identical items in their stockings. For their efforts to eliminate the third class medical for non-commercial pilots, the gift will be a gold-plated sign for their office doors with these words: The Doctor is Out. Santa confessed that he expects a rough physical the next time he sees the medical examiner to renew his commercial certificate for piloting the sleigh.

Speaking of doctors, James Coyne, president and CEO of the National Air Transportation Association, will receive two cases of aspirin. Santa said the normal gift for heads of organizations dealing with the government is one case of aspirin per month. The extra for Coyne is to ease the anguish of trying to get a decision out of the Department of Transportation about security rules for repair stations.

To Pete Bunce, president and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Santa will leave a gift card for free foreign language lessons now that GAMA has started including manufacturers in other countries as members. Now he will be able to say “things are looking up” in 17 languages.

To help Matt Zuccaro, president of Helicopter Association International, Santa plans to leave a large number of pamphlets tersely explaining why wings don’t HAVE to stay still to have a fine flying machine.

To Dan Johnson, president of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, Santa is dropping off a list of suggestions for new names for the association. Saint Nick noted that using just the letters of the sport aviation association group is confusing to many people. As it is, the association name starts with only one “L” and LAMA is a Tibetan Monk. And it can’t be something like Looking Light Aircraft Manufacturers because a two “L” LLAMA is a South American animal. It certainly can’t have three “Ls” because a three “L” LLLAMA is a big, big, fire.

These are just a few of the gifts some of the leaders of GA’s alphabet groups can expect this year — and if you believe any of this, just remember, this is Washington, D.C.

Happy Holidays! Ho, ho, ho.

Charles Spence is GAN’s Washington, D.C., correspondent.

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