When I left for the office on a recent Friday, my oldest daughter, 13-year-old Savannah, gave me an extra tight hug. She knew I would be out at Pierce County Airport (PLU) in the late morning to regain my currency so I could take her… and myself… flying. She was very excited.
“Well, I am now a real private pilot, as of yesterday,” noted an email I received this morning from Jennifer Julian. If you don’t recall, I wrote about Jennifer last May. She survived a double lung transplant, earned her 3rd class medical, and was an active student pilot. She’s now a certificated pilot.
I met Bill Harrelson at the 2009 Copperstate Fly-In. Bill, an efficiency expert, sent me an email detailing the nearly non-stop flight home (Arizona to Virginia) in N5ZQ, a Lancair 320. That was more than three years and one N-number ago. In Thursday afternoon’s EAA e-Hotline I see that Bill is back at it. He flew from Guam to Florida (7,051 nm) non-stop (38 hours, 29 minutes) in N6ZQ, Lancair IV. Congratulations Bill.
President Obama has called for changing the depreciation schedule for newly aquired non-commercial aircraft from five to seven years. Jay Carney, the president’s press secretary calls the current two-year schedule difference a special tax loophole. As you might imagine, this has pushed the aviation alphabet groups into damage control mode.
Being of limited ability to comprehend “Washington speak” I decided it would be good to run through a few numbers to see if I could understand (and create some context for myself) what the President is recommending.
We are all encouraged to “Write Congress” to support [fill in the cause here] from time to time. Often, the intention of the person seeking help is honorable.
A post I just read on the Facebook page of Kyle Franklin from Franklin’s Flying Circus is a good example. It is a plea with the best of intentions:
A few days before the Seattle Seahawks played the Washington Redskins in the Wild Card round of the National Football League playoffs, General Aviation News columnist, and nearly Washington D.C. resident Charles Spence emailed me to poke a little fun about the upcoming game.
I took the comments to Facebook for broader discussion and we were joined by a friend of mine in Tacoma, Wash., as well as Cassandra Bosco from the National Business Aviation Association. Cassandra, like Charlie, lives in the greater D.C.-area. A little friendly trash talking ensued. The game brought us together.
This time of year I find myself doing a lot of intro flights. The first question people ask is, “is it safe?” I reply that I’m more concerned about my safety driving to the airport than I am in the airplane.
The church my family attends makes available to all comers a time and talent sign-up form. Our church, like most churches, has far more needs, and desires, than the paid staff can, or should, reasonably accomplish. As a result, we’ve created this sign-up form to tap the collective knowledge and labor base that is the membership.
The aviation-related organization I can think of that taps the time and talent of its members the best is the Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF). While its scope is narrow — backcountry and recreational airstrip accessibility — its needs, like all organizations, are broad — advocacy, fund-raising, member management, communications and more. RAF leadership has learned what gets its members excited and targets their tasks. They know it makes little sense to ask all members to fly to Washington, D.C., to lobby Congress when they know a few who are more than willing to answer that call.
As we were walking home from church one Sunday, I got to thinking about the potential for a time and talent sign-up for aviation. While our scope varies by areas of interest, I believe all — or almost all — aviators would like to contribute to the broad mission of making all aspects of aviation accessible to whoever so desires.
Picture this: 80 airplanes, more than 400 booths, and hours of seminars in beautiful Palm Springs, Calif. That pretty much sums up this year’s Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Aviation Summit.
In the more than 10 years I have been working at General Aviation News, I have been to the annual event many times as a reporter. This was the first time I attended as a presenter, as I volunteered wearing my flight instructor cap.
We all have a lot of numbers thrown at us every day. A few numbers I’ve heard in the last few weeks are worrying, but I’ve also heard some numbers that give me hope.
From Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association President Craig Fuller at the Southeast Aviation Expo in Greenville, S.C., last month: Over the last 20 years, the pilot population in the United States has dropped from 800,000 to 600,000 — and it keeps shrinking.
It gets worse: [Read more…]