BOISE, Idaho – From one end of the United States, and back, to the other end, and back. Paul Leadabrand of Stick & Rudder Aviation flew his Kitfox S-LSA from Boise to Lakeland, Florida, for the SUN ‘n FUN Fly-In and back to Boise — a 4,800-mile round-trip so the Rotax 914-powered “Big Foot” edition of the Kitfox could be on display at the Rotax booth.
I’m excited to see what comes of the future of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones. There is a great deal yet to learn, and ways UAV technology will scale up to the benefit of all aerospace. Of that, I have no doubt.
However, there is also much to figure out and, frankly, worry about.
A brilliant 10-minute video profiles two women (An & Ria) who’ve never met, and never flown. One is excited, the other less so. Admittedly, a first flight via business jet is beyond the reach of most, but the emotional roller-coaster has to be much the same.
Do yourself a favor and watch this 10-minute video.
SUN ‘n FUN was fantastic this year. If you didn’t make it to Lakeland, Florida, at the start of the month, be sure to put it on your 2015 calendar: April 21-26, 2015.
We produce SUN ‘n FUN Today, the daily newspaper for the fly-in, so my view of SUN ’n FUN is slightly different.
As I look back through my notebook, I now understand why I’m so tired. The following will give you a peak into what it takes to cover a fly-in like SUN ‘n FUN or AirVenture.
The story, true from start to finish, could not have been written better. In fact, it could serve double duty as a math problem so many of us recall from our time in school.
A young high school athlete needs to be in two places at roughly the same time. On one end, in Toledo, Wash., to lay her 58-year-old father to rest following his year-long battle with melanoma. One the other end, in Yakima, Wash. (about 140 miles away) to play in the Washington State 2A Girls Basketball Championship game.
If I told you 25-29 year olds with a third class medical were the largest segment of aviators, would you believe me? Thankfully, you don’t have to take my word for it. Download the 2012 Aerospace Medical Certification Statistical Handbook for a little light reading.
I found the next generation of pilots. But depending on where you read this, you may or may not like it, and you may or may not understand it.
Of the 55,996 (as this was written) fans of our Facebook page, 55.6% are 34 years or younger. Include those 35-44 years and it jumps to 75.4%.
On Jan. 1, 2014, we had 26,715 page likes. Our fan count has more than doubled in 50 days.
I’ve heard from many current (read that: older) pilots that have no interest in Facebook or Twitter or anything online. “Why do I care what someone eats for breakfast?” they’ve remarked with snark.
I don’t believe it has anything to do with not being interested. It has everything to do with learning something new and — worse — admitting they don’t understand something.
The irony is completely lost on them. Nobody is born a pilot or a social media whiz. Both start out like everyone starts — with a first step.
So quit complaining about the next generation not being interested in learning to fly. You just aren’t looking in the right place.
By LEN ASSANTE
The Dec. 20, 2013, issue of General Aviation News showcased general aviation’s “up and comers,” a group of innovators who are passionate about changing this industry for the better.
I have had the honor of meeting some of these people and agree they offer some amazing ideas and unmitigated passion for GA. Such passion is desperately needed if GA is to survive in any fashion recognizable to today’s General Aviation News readers.