Deep within the hearts and souls of those who fly is a desire to repeat the experience. Whether our last flight was three days ago, three years ago, or three decades ago, the flame still burns. We want to fly. We occasionally dream of flying. And we plan to one day, someday, fly again. [Read more…]
Last week I attended a Focus on Education Breakfast held in the student center at Polk State College’s main campus in Winter Haven, Florida. On hand were members of the school board, administrators from the county’s school system, teachers, principals, politicians, community activists, and a smattering of students. [Read more…]
This column is for the optimists — those rare individuals who read the same tea leaves as everyone else, but see an entirely different future. They see potential. They recognize opportunities.
Yet they are the very same folks who squeeze a dollar until it squeals, resist opening their wallets unless it’s absolutely necessary, and keep their credit card frozen in a block of ice in their kitchen freezer.
I am an undeniably optimistic cheapskate. Welcome to my world.
I am also a pilot and an aircraft owner. But remember, I’m a cheapskate. A tightwad. A penny pincher extraordinaire. So cutting the cost of my aeronautical exploits down to size is a big deal. It’s necessary, in fact. [Read more…]
When I was a boy I spent summers with my grandparents. They lived on the most beautiful lake I’ve ever seen. The water was as clear as a pane of glass. The bottom was soft white sand. It was paradise.
This idyllic location was nine miles from a small town. It was the kind of place where I could walk to the store barefoot and shirtless, put 30 cents on the counter and buy a pack of cigarettes…when I was 4 years old. Yes, that happened. There was nothing unusual about it, at all.
My best friend during those summers was Steve, who lived with his parents next door. As we got older we were allowed to drive motorboats without adult supervision, essentially giving us the run of the lake and all we could discover there.
By the time I was in my late teens, Steve had taken a job as a line-boy at Gainesville Regional Airport, roughly 40 minutes away by car. Life being what it is, we lost touch after that. I went my way and Steve went his. Eventually his parents sold the house on the lake and moved away. It’s been 35 years since I’ve seen Steve, and try as I might, I have never been able to find him.
Last week, totally out of the blue, an email showed up in my office account. It was from Steve. He’d seen me in a video running on the Internet and tracked me down based on information from the video. [Read more…]
Decision making is a skill pilots consciously train for and study. Most people don’t.
And that’s a shame because good decision making doesn’t come naturally. We have to think about our options, weigh the pros and cons of whatever we do — or don’t do. One way or another, there will be an outcome to each decision we make. Some are good. Others, not so much.
Last Friday while positioned and ready to roll on Day 3 of the U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Florida, a volunteer in a golf cart pulled up to our tent, announced the show was closed for the day, and urged us to button up and leave the area.
That was a good decision. It may have been unpopular with some attendees who had traveled far to attend the show. It probably didn’t thrill all the exhibitors and forum speakers, either. But it was still a good decision. I appreciate the event’s management team taking the hit and coming down on the side of public safety. Well done. Kudos to them. [Read more…]
“Follow me, because I believe what you believe.”
This is a paraphrased rallying cry of far too many political campaigns. It’s a common theme for the simple reason that it works. When spoken in solemn tones, or shouted with vigor, it fires up the hopeful. It gives the lone individual a sense of belonging.
Yet, when it’s written down and presented dispassionately, it’s somewhat disappointing as it can be more easily recognized for what it is — a generic slogan for those who wish to garner support. [Read more…]
Regardless of what they fly, where they fly, or how they feel about flying, there is one thing all pilots have in common.
We have a restriction that says we have to fly with a flight instructor now and again to demonstrate our proficiency. Most people think of that proficiency requirement as having to do with the ability to control the aircraft, exclusively. I’ll challenge that notion. [Read more…]
Recently, while covering the subject of Part 91 regulations with a crowd of general aviation enthusiasts, I posed this question: Let’s say you’re planning on making a day VFR flight from your local airport. You show up and preflight the airplane and everything looks great — except the attitude indicator isn’t working. Can you still make the flight? [Read more…]
Human beings are, by nature, a somewhat dull and pedestrian crowd. They tend to like the status quo and abhor change. If you know any human beings, you’ve no doubt noticed this characteristic of their personalities.
Perhaps nothing illustrates this resistance to change the way the global cooling/global warming/climate change argument has. Had the earth’s atmosphere been constant from start to finish, we would not have all this hubbub about whether it’s getting colder, or warmer, or wetter, or drier. Rather, we simply wouldn’t exist, because the original atmosphere surrounding the earth wouldn’t have supported mammalian life. Yet people insist on fussing and fighting about the temperature of the earth, as if there is a thermostat that can be set and locked, providing the perfect climate and weather for all time.
Uh, no. That’s not how this big blue ball works.
In the aviation world we’re not all that thrilled about embracing change, either. Consider the Sport Pilot movement. [Read more…]
Often, I hear from readers who wish to share insights and advice based on their perception of the state of the general aviation marketplace. Many of the suggestions they offer are good. They have merit. I suspect if implemented, they might actually work.
Ideas are one thing. Gaining actual traction, though, that’s the rub. Fortunately, I’m having a good year in the traction department. So are a whole bunch of other people. Coincidentally, a lot of those folks belong to flying clubs. [Read more…]