Let’s make 2012 a year to remember

This Sunday night marks a watershed moment here on Earth. On this side of midnight is 2011, the year we’ve been working with for the past 12 months. All that ends when the little hand and the big hand arrive at the straight up position on the big wall clock Sunday night because, arriving simultaneously with Monday morning, is 2012.

No matter where you are on the planet, that’s it. There’s no looking back. Time moves forward and so must we. Grudgingly or with gusto — we’re headed into a new year filled with new opportunities. Ready or not, here it comes.

I’ll grant you there are those who feel this New Year’s Eve is the last one we’ll ever see. That’s assuming the Mayan long count calendar’s ending date of Dec. 21, 2012, really is the ultimate Nostradamus moment, and the end comes rolling around the galactic corner in the form of a hungry black hole or a stray planet on a collision course with us. Personally, I doubt that it’s all going to come crashing down around us just before Christmas, so I’m making plans for a successful and decidedly aviation friendly 2012.

How about you? Do you have plans? Have you been spending at least part of 2011 putting together a team of co-conspirators who are devising a plot to enhance general aviation in your neighborhood? Your town? Your county? Heck, why not aim high and shoot for having a positive impact on the whole country?

The key in all that isn’t the term “general aviation,” by the way. There are actually only two words that are critical to success in the new year. They are “plan” and “you.” Most of the rest of it is window dressing, because if you don’t have a plan of action and you’re not willing to put a little effort into making something happen, it won’t. You’ll wake up a year from now looking at an airport and an industry in much the same shape it’s in now.

Well, that’s not entirely true. It might not be exactly the same. It might be worse.

How’s that for a motivational speech?

Truthfully, you are the best weapon general aviation has. It’s not me, I’ve already got a full plate, a daughter heading off to college, and you don’t have my home number anyway. Besides, I live in Florida, far away from your house and home field. I don’t have a clue about the problems associated with mountain landscapes, snow removal from the active runway, hangar doors that are frozen shut, or pre-heaters. So I’m probably not your best resource for solving the problems you see in your neck of the woods.

You, on the other hand, are a pro at all the little idiosyncratic oddities found in your corner of the world. Whether you’re flying professionally as a CFI or a charter operator, or you’re a weekend hobbyist who spends more time at the FBO coffee machine than behind the stick, you’re the one who really knows what needs to happen for general aviation to thrive at your field. And if you don’t know all the answers yourself, you’ve got a line on at least a half a dozen people around town who can advise you on their area of expertise.

Look at that, all of a sudden that faithful band of co-conspirators isn’t looking like such a goofy idea, is it?

Let me set a challenge out for you and your mini-Mongol horde of GA warriors. If you accomplish it, you can ask people to start calling you Ghengis in 2013, and they just might do it — with respect and awe in their voices, too.

Okay, here it is. I want to challenge you to take charge, found a loose organization that’s dedicated to making your field better for general aviation in a noticeable way, and make it happen. When you’re done — heck, don’t wait until you’re done — when you’re in high gear and making real progress, write and tell me all about it. Let me crow about you in 2012. No, scratch that. Demand that I brag on the successes you and your army of aviation adventurers brought to your town — and make sure I spell your names right when I do it.

Let me be honest here. I can do a lot. In fact I do do a lot. And I like it, too. It’s my calling in life. But if general aviation is going to really expand and fulfill its promise as the economic driver that it should be, we need you and your team on our team. So get to it, make a plan, recruit a crew, and get cranking.

Fair warning though — I’ve got a deal cooking down here in Central Florida that just might blow your mind and stagger the imagination. So get serious, go big, and play every day like you’re on your way to the Super Bowl. Because general aviation is worth the effort, and so is the field you call home.

I’ll be watching my email box for signs of participation and big-time success in 2012. If all goes as it should, you and your team just might be the featured story of GA’s rebirth.

That wouldn’t be a bad way to roll into 2013 would it, Ghengis?

Jamie Beckett is a CFI and A&P mechanic who stepped into the political arena in an effort to promote and protect GA at his local airport. He is also a founding partner and regular contributor to FlightMonkeys.com. You can reach him at Jamie@GeneralAviationNews.com.

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