General aviation goes to the political conventions

Just a portion of the crowd at the AOPA/NBAA convention-watch party in Tampa. At left, NBAA President Ed Bolen.

For the first time, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the National Business Aviation Association teamed to hold events at the two national party conventions. The goal: Schmoozing politicos to hold high the flag of general aviation.

I attended the first, at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Tuesday, Aug. 28, to see if AOPA held to its long-time non-partisanship — and to see if anyone would show up!

Boy did they. By 6 p.m., the place was packed. [Read more…]

Bringing out the big guns — with a smile

In North Platte, Nebraska, they celebrate NEBRASKAland Days in June. Driggs, Idaho, pulls out all the stops for Summerfest in July. In Johnstown, Pennsylvania, they mark the joys of summer with Thunder in the Valley, and Salley, South Carolina, hosts the Chitlin Strut in November.

The point is this: Regardless of where you live, there is a festival, a carnival, a fair, or a public gathering of some sort that draws a crowd. That explosion of people represents an opportunity for those who know how to make the most of it. For those who don’t, it’s nothing but a traffic jam, a long line at the grocery store, or a headache that they wish they could avoid. Pity those people. They just don’t know a good thing when they see it.

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Let’s make 2012 a year to remember

This Sunday night marks a watershed moment here on Earth. On this side of midnight is 2011, the year we’ve been working with for the past 12 months. All that ends when the little hand and the big hand arrive at the straight up position on the big wall clock Sunday night because, arriving simultaneously with Monday morning, is 2012.

No matter where you are on the planet, that’s it. There’s no looking back. Time moves forward and so must we. Grudgingly or with gusto — we’re headed into a new year filled with new opportunities. Ready or not, here it comes.

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You’ve talked the talk, now walk the walk!

As I write this blog post it is Monday afternoon, April 12. In a few hours I will sit at the dais at City Hall, flanked by four fellow city commissioners, all committed to doing the business of the people. But tonight will be different. Tonight will have an undeniably pro-aviation angle to it, something that has not happened in my home town for many, many years. A sitting commissioner will sing the praises of general aviation, and he’ll do it on the record.

Like me, you know that a massive gathering of aviation’s faithful are coming together, even now, at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (LAL) in central Florida. Sun ‘n Fun officially opens its doors Tuesday, an annual event that is celebrated by untold hundreds of thousands of aviation enthusiasts from all over the globe. Some, like me, will be there in person. Others celebrate from afar, tied down by work, or family, or a stalled cold front that they can’t get over or around.

Like the Cubbies, we all hope for better luck next year.

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