Be specific when talking to the press

During a recent newspaper interview about the management of the local airport, the reporter stopped me and asked for clarification. “I’m sorry, “ he said, “What’s an FBO?”

“FBO stands for Fixed Base Operator,” I answered. “The FBO is the primary business on most general aviation airports.” The reporter appeared curious, so I expanded on the concept. “The FBO traditionally provides four core services,” and I ran down the list quickly.

“Can you repeat those services?” the reporter asked.

“Sure,” I said. And this is where I made my mistake. “The FBO typically provides fuel sales, aircraft maintenance, aircraft rentals, and flight training.”

That seems simple enough, doesn’t it? Well it certainly does to you and me. You’re an aviation enthusiast. You know what each of those terms means. Just as I do. Just as I assumed the reporter did. But I was wrong. [Read more...]

Singing the airport’s praises

GA isn't what most people think it is: Certainly, it couldn't be a 10-year-old Madie Beckett at the controls of C140...right?

GA isn't what most people think it is: Certainly, it couldn't be a 10-year-old Madie Beckett at the controls of C140...right?

GA isn't what most people think it is: Certainly, it couldn't be a 10-year-old Madie Beckett at the controls of C140...right?

It may seem odd to some, but I love spending time at the airport. Sure, pilots and aircraft mechanics understand the allure of the airport. But the average Jane or Joe may think it a little peculiar that a grown man has an interest in going to the airport whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Part of that disconnect is that I, like most general aviation pilots, have an entirely different relationship with the airport than my non-aviation-oriented neighbors do. This divergence of views is perfectly understandable, really, because the word, “airport” is an entirely subjective term in the real world.

While I envision smiles and casual conversation over coffee with like-minded friends, my neighbors imagine long lines and metal detectors. On any given day I might wander out onto the ramp to inspect a new acquaintance’s airplane, yet the wider public thinks of crowded terminals, funky conveyor belts moving passengers past the throngs as if they were all just generic goods on an assembly line, and gate areas that are anything but inviting. [Read more...]