Let silence reign

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.

My local newspaper, The News Chief, ran a piece in its Reader’s Rants and Raves section this week that read as follows; “Where are the clear-thinking Winter Haven leaders who are looking out for the everyday residents? We are saddled with an enormous airport – a white elephant that serves not even the pilots…”

Now the News Chief is owned by the New York Times Co., which means that a national audience could be exposed to this sentiment. Then again, the News Chief is available online, as most newspapers are these days. You can read the piece yourself on their opinion page if you’d like. So can anyone else. And what do I propose we, the aviation friendly public, do to correct this skewed perspective in the public mind? Nothing. I suggest we do nothing at all.

Let me explain. [Read more...]

Coming clean in the TSA era

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.

The conversation turned to the TSA at my morning coffee gathering today. Pretty much everyone at the table flies for business or pleasure, at least occasionally. So it is no wonder that scattered amongst the chatter about local, state, and federal government shenanigans, the recently implemented grope-fest going on at airports all across the United States should come up.

Opinions differed as to how each person felt about the latest security measures. Eventually the focus shifted to me, the pilot in the group. Which caused me to admit publicly what I seldom speak of. The truth is this: I don’t fly commercial. Not ever. Not for any reason. I just don’t. [Read more...]

Building a winning team

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.

Powerful allies can pop up out of the blue, if you’re open to recognizing the opportunity. Since my basic rules of advocacy lean in the direction of the more the merrier, I am always on the lookout for either new converts, or old stalwarts, who are willing to join the campaign to make general aviation more readily accepted, and better understood.

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Persistence pays off

Like so many GA airports, mine faced a problem that was brought into sharp focus by the recent capture in Santa Barbara of those two wily desperados, John and Martha King. If nothing else the incident made it clear that emergency response workers (including police, fire and EMT crews) do not necessarily have a clear view of how aviation works on a day-to-day basis. Certainly the differences between VFR and IFR operations were not well understood on the law enforcement side of the equation.

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One thing leads to another, and another…

One thing leads to another

With Oshkosh in full swing, the eyes of the aviation minded are on Wisconsin. But here in central Florida there is one city commissioner who has just become a major fan of aviation, thanks to a husband and wife who restored a Stearman and shared the excitement with him. I love it when the fever spreads.

It was only a few weeks ago that I wrote about Elizabeth Amundsen, a CFI and IA who was busily restoring a Stearman to its former glory along with her husband, Jonathan. That story may have been the impetus for the local newspaper here in Winter Haven to run a story about the same couple as they prepared to get the last few details completed in preparation for their departure for AirVenture 2010.

That newspaper story gave our new interim airport manager an idea. It stood to reason, she thought, that if one couple was headed off to Oshkosh for the big wing-ding, maybe others from our field were making the trek, too. What if the city’s staff and commissioners showed up at the airport to provide an official send-off? That would be great!

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