Lessons from the NFL

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.

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Props for the prop


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.

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Time and talent

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.

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The other side of Summit


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.

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By the numbers

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.

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Join the club


The subject of flying clubs and their relative merit has taken up space in this column before. I’m a believer. The idea of spreading the cost of ownership across eight or 10 or 12 partners in a flying club makes sense. And that’s to say nothing of the social aspects that can be so beneficial in a club atmosphere. The opportunity to have access to multiple club airplanes in exchange for a small investment is appealing, too. In short, clubs have a lot to offer the general aviation pilot.

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Compatible use

Recently my wife, kids, Mom and I all flew to Des Moines, Iowa, for the wedding of one of my cousins. While in Des Moines, we drove east to Newton to see where my Mom grew up. On our way in, I drove past the town so we could visit the Newton Municipal Airport (TNU). I remember flying in with Dad and Mom years ago as a kid and wanted to see it…30 years later.

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The saviors of general aviation



Recently a critic of ours said that we “fly around the country acting like they are the saviors of general aviation.”

As we thought about this criticism, we had to admit there is some truth to the statement. We so strongly believe in promoting general aviation, we developed a presentation called PGA2: Promote General Aviation, Protect GA Airports. We have presented PGA2 at shows and conferences, including AirVenture, Women in Aviation, and the Mooney Aircraft Pilots Association, as well as to many pilot groups throughout California.

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Letter: KidVenture, 7-year-old key to getting AirVenture juices flowing again

Last week I wrote, “A suggestion for keeping the magic of AirVenture alive.” I’ve received a handful of emails thanking me for the post, some of which offered personal experiences. A few I’m still following up on, but following is what I received from Bill Middlebrook, president of Penn Yan Aero and longtime friend. Suffice it to say, his AirVenture juices are flowing once again, thanks to his 7-year-old son, Reece. Enjoy…

Sorry I missed you this year. I was keeping an eye out for you. I actually spent the show as as an observer this year with the family and spent very little time working the Penn Yan Aero booth.

I just read your article about the show and the naysayer. I have to say, boy are you right! Your insight is right on the money.  [Read more…]