Semi-expert testimony

Jamie Beckett is a CFI and A&P mechanic who stepped into the political arena in an effort to promote and protect GA at his local airport.

Opportunities to represent the aviation community come from all over the map, and they’re almost always unexpected. More often than not, I agree to participate in the process when I’m asked. You see, I learned long ago that, “no comment,” is a weasel’s way out of getting into a conversation that might be uncomfortable, or potentially unflattering to the interviewee. Big deal, I say. If you’re going to be perceived as a representative of the cause – represent (as the kids say). So my personal policy has always been to accept any request that’s serious and reasonable, regardless if the request comes from a high school journalism student or a cable news company.

If you want to know what I think, just ask. I’m not shy about sharing my views. And I’m not the least bit reticent to point out the difference between my opinion and the facts of the matter. Because for someone who is on the listening (or reading) end of the relationship, it’s important that they know the difference between the two. Accuracy is important when you’re trying to shed light on a technical subject, or clear up the mud that’s been slung around on a topic that at least one participant doesn’t understand as well as they should. [Read more…]

Discovering common ground

Airshow season has begun. At least it has in Florida, where the Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-In and Expo is in full bloom. The skies are blue, the winds are brisk, and the rain is at least a time zone away. All in all, the conditions are perfect for the central focus of this auspicious annual event – hangar flying.

I know, you thought Sun ‘n Fun was about airplanes, helicopters, homebuilts, warbirds, whiz-bang avionics or some other nonsense. Nope. It’s almost entirely about aviation enthusiasts getting together with other aviation enthusiasts, to talk about everybody’s favorite subject – aviation and how we deal with it!

On opening day I spent an absolutely stellar afternoon talking to pilots from Kentucky, New Hampshire, Florida, Arizona, Virginia, England, and who knows where else. They all had questions, and they all had stories. And yes, each and every conversation I was drawn into was entertaining, enlightening, and entirely worthwhile. Hopefully, the other participants came away with the same sense of connection that I felt. Based on the fist-full of business cards and hastily scribbled notes I collected, it would seem the benefit was mutual. [Read more…]