Recreation time?


Strange as it seems with many millions jobless today, it wasn’t so long ago that theorists pondered what Americans would do with all their free time. The idea played its part in the 1970s transition of at least one pioneering GA brand from family ownership to conglomerate subsidiary.

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My dinner with Henry

OCCIDENTAL barscene_15

“My Dinner with Andre” was the movie where two actors do little but talk over a meal (seemingly forever) about the meaning of life. I’m saying very few goodbyes to industry friends here before leaving D.C., but couldn’t miss comparing notes earlier this month with the infamous Henry O. It was “My Dinner with Henry.”

The “O” is short for Ogrodzinski, president of the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) since 1996. “Henry O” is known in many circles here, from his year as president of the Washington Aero Club to a still-renown turn on the Washington singles scene. [Read more…]

A great little airplane, now becoming rarer

Photo by Kevin D. Murphy

This story began as fall sunlight kissed the grass at The Flying Circus Aerodrome in Bealelton, Virginia, some 50 miles southwest of Washington, D.C. The surprise was two Aeronca L-16s among the show’s Stearman and WACO “heavy-iron.” There were even post-show rides and mid-week dual available in one of the post-war period’s great little airplanes.

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Meigs Field: Still a pyrrhic sacrifice to ‘good intentions’

Mayor Daley bulldozed Meigs Fields' runway in the middle of the night. AOPA Photo by Mark Schaible

With last month’s passing of Maggie Daley, Chicago’s former first lady, from power, political blogger Greg Hinz reflected on stillborn plans to turn Meigs Field, the city’s former lakefront GA airport, into a major city park. Years later: Nothing – a typical fate for big government plans and ever more so now under today’s tight budgets and changing political fortunes.

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The NRA of the Air

Chris Dancy, talented media relations staffer at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), recently moved on to the Helicopter Association International. This prompts some reflection on GA’s relations with the media. AOPA is a good exemplar for this, having long dominated the effort as “The NRA of the Air.”

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Turbulent times

“Occupy Wall Street” protests have made news, raised questions, and recently generated violence. They recall MY generation’s turbulent college years when politics and values took a sharp turn. During the era of “sex, drugs and Rock ‘n Roll,” I wondered how many were lost to the disciplined world of aviation.

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It’s a new world


I’ve always believed that much of General Aviation’s success in our time is a legacy of World War II. Aviation was a hero, if not “the” hero, of the war. Pilots were idolized. And everyone saw a bright future and new horizons for “The Air Age.”

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A road not taken

My pre-move house cleaning has yielded another aviation memory: A 1972 letter from the old Monmouth Airlines. It offered an answer to every young hopeful’s need for multi-engine and turbine time — very expensive but necessary stepping stones to pro flying. The question was, as always, how to afford it — and back then, how to survive it.

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Aboard Flight 93: GA’s man on 9/11

I have the feeling that few GA pilots know “one of ours” was up there on United Flight 93, capable of bringing that 757 back had passengers overcome cockpit hijackers. He was a college classmate of mine. Donald Freeman Greene was the name. I only bumped into him briefly freshman year in the dorm. He was an engineering student and an athlete. I was far from either.

Unknown to me until much later: He was the son of Leonard Greene. Don’t know that name? Founder of Safe Flight Instrument Corporation, Leonard Greene pioneered the stall warning system in 1946 after seeing a plane stall and crash. [Read more…]