Tax exemption legislation introduced in Florida

Florida State Senator Michael Bennett (R-61) has introduced SB 1384, which would provide a tax exemption on labor and parts for maintenance on aircraft weighing 2,000 pounds or more. The current statute provides the exemption for aircraft weighing 15,000 pounds or more.

This is seen as a boost to maintenance and repair businesses in Florida so they can compete on a more level playing field with other states with similar exemptions, officials with the Florida Aviation Trades Association said, noting Representative Steve Crisafulli (R-32) has filed a companion bill in the House, HB 1213.

Speaking of politics and pilots

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.

It was my great pleasure to meet one of the gubernatorial candidates running in Florida, a few weeks ago. His name is Rick Scott. He’s been in the news a fair amount down my way. Perhaps you are familiar with him?

I thought I was reasonably familiar with him, too. But it was still a real kick to have the opportunity to attend a get-together where I would have the chance to actually meet and speak with him for a moment while he campaigned through the central part of the state. So I went to meet a potential governor of Florida, with an open mind, a cheery smile, and a sense of real optimism. For all it’s weaknesses and flaws, I am an enormous fan of the American system of government. We routinely see peaceful transitions of power from one party to another. In fact the social change that has occurred in my half-century on the planet has been nothing short of mind-boggling. [Read more…]

Cardinal Flyers Unite!

There are benefits to throwing the door open and seeing who comes sauntering through it. If airports thrive on traffic and visitors, perhaps there is benefit to hosting fly-ins both large and small throughout the year, whenever the opportunity presents itself. Failing the willingness of the management to host the event, why not let the public decide? Whatever works for your airport, your tenants and users, just might work for pilots and visitors from farther afield than you would ever imagine.

Most of us have spent a long, cold, snowy winter and would love to find a plausible reason to take a few days off, head south, and catch a few welcome rays of golden sunshine. If you can do it with friends and throw a good meal into the mix, all the better.

I see an opportunity. Actually, a bunch of other people saw an opportunity and grabbed it. I’m just glad to be able to watch from the sidelines and enjoy the benefits of general aviation as a big ol’ brotherhood (sisterhood) of great people.

For the 11th year in a row the Cardinal Flyers are gathering in my neighborhood to swap stories and share a little friendly tech talk. Members of this type club gather annually to revel in the company of other pilots and passengers who appreciate the luxurious speed and sleek good looks of perhaps the sexiest high wing ever made – the Cessna Cardinal. Scheduled for the week prior to Sun ‘n Fun, only 14 miles from show central at Gilbert Field in Winter Haven, Florida – the Cardinals are coming, the Cardinals are coming! What a way to kick off the start of the airshow season, the long awaited arrival of Spring, and visit with friends who know a thing or two about flying cross country in search of a good time.

For more information: Cardinal Flyers Online.

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. You can reach him at

Tavares, Florida: America’s Seaplane City

With a population nudging its way up to 15,000 residents, the city of Tavares, Florida, is a small city with big dreams. Nestled in the green expanse of aptly named Lake County, there is arguably more water in the western side of the county than there is dry land. Perhaps that realization was the impetus that caused a bright idea to form at city hall — an idea that has grown to fruition and is about to be big news in this corner of the world.

Tavares has taken the bold step of embracing a unique segment of the general aviation market in a way that would cause most city administrators to wince with concern. But this little city has high hopes and a plan to help revitalize their community. Tavares has branded itself as the America’s Seaplane City — and they’re not kidding in the least.

With an investment of millions of dollars in the Lake Dora waterfront area, Tavares Seaplane and Marina Base has installed boat and seaplane docks within a short walk of the downtown area. Fuel is available and ready to pump into aircraft or boats, and a 3,000-foot virtual landing strip has been established approximately half a mile off the community’s downtown shoreline. [Read more…]