The view from above

Being a pilot offers a special overview of your world and the events affecting it. It’s part of what makes flying special. This month’s devastating tornados call this to mind. Our airborne views of human civilization and nature’s ways are perspectives the Average Joe might not see in a lifetime.

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Profiles of change: SUN ’n FUN’s Bob Knight

He’s been on the SUN ’n FUN board for years, but chairman for just 18 months. Robert C. (Bob) Knight is head of Knight Industrial Equipment (a long-time Lakeland Airport tenant), an airport board member and community leader. He’s been flying out of LAL since 1965. That A-36 Bonanza of his, which he calls “my lifeblood,” is on its fourth engine and third turbo-normalizer.

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Profiles in Change: SUN ’n FUN’s new president

At a time when our GA institutions seem in transition, plagued by leadership changes and questions of fiscal stability and stewardship, it seems SUN ’n FUN got a head start on fixes. Its new leadership is now in gear and beginning to roll.

A recent visit with new President John “Lites” Leenhouts was my second, but I came away even more impressed. [Read more...]

Airspeed, airlines and economics

 This is Part 2 in a series

After the Interstates, it was low-fare post-deregulation airlines that challenged the economics of travel by everyday GA.

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Everyday GA as transportation?

Many factors have challenged the typical GA airplane as a transportation mode.

I recall the early-1960s debate at my home field whether the new Interstate Highway System would be boon or bust for General Aviation, at least for the average Cessna or Piper. My conclusion then, as now: Both.

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Gone but not forgotten

We lost some key “downtown” airports as the 20th Century faded into history. Famous campaigns fought to save them; local politicians with big plans “got” them — Chicago Meigs (10 years ago this month) and Bader Field in Atlantic City, N.J. They represented the height of GA utility. Now, in their absence, have politicians’ airport-killing schemes and dreams worked out?

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Countdown to SUN ’n FUN

The Breitling Countdown Clock on the SUN ’n FUN website is ticking down as Lakeland-Linder Regional Airport (LAL) in Florida transitions into GA’s season-opener national fly-in/convention/airshow.

A pleasant Florida morning in late March revealed things falling into place. Piper Aircraft had its tent up already, as did the [Read more...]

Merger mania: EAA and AOPA?

With the announced resignation of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association‘s Craig Fuller and the departure last year of the Experimental Aircraft Association‘s new president, some are asking whether AOPA and EAA should merge. I think not.

Neither EAA nor AOPA members should support a merger concept based only on recent performance by either organization, both still in transition. Tom Poberezny and Phil Boyer were hard acts to follow.

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Back to basics with the 3Rs?

New airplanes cost too much. Used aircraft prices have slumped. The fleet is aging. There’s a lack of new thinking in the industry. The pilot population is dropping. I think you’ve heard all this before. Now, an old friend has an idea. But I think I’ve heard it before.

The idea is the large-scale “remanufacture” of select used GA aircraft – new engines, interiors, avionics, wiring, etc. [Read more...]

New CEO for LoPresti as company shifts focus

Stunt pilot Corkey Fornof is looking for new opportunities and the LoPresti Fury won’t be flying airshows in 2013 as LoPresti Aviation attends to a fast-growing business in lighting for jets and turboprops.

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