Rejuvenating General Aviation

Four years ago, Ravi the Raviator didn’t even know what CFI stood for. Now he travels the country, giving inspiration talks about how to rejuvenate aviation and increase the number of people in our community.

“It’s important to go out and fan that flame,” he said. “This is an opportunity to participate in one of humanity’s greatest achievements.”

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Say again?

Throughout his years as a musician Ravi the Raviator ran into a lot of musicians who had hearing problems — mostly the weekend warriors who played in bars. The professional musicians knew better, which is why he worked with Sennheiser to create a hearing protection package for those part-time musicians.

Once he started flying, he was surprised at the number of pilots who had suffered hearing loss. “I encountered more deaf pilots than rock and rollers,” he said.

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What is ‘safety’ all about?

By BEN COLEMAN, Safety Advisor to the Sun ’n Fun President

The subject of insurance was not very popular in my formative years. As a kid, I can recall my Dad complaining about insurance rates, especially when my older brother came of driving age. It was explained to me that insurance would pay you back if you had a wreck or got sick. I liked this “insurance” thing. Every year, you pay the insurance company money and if you have a wreck, they buy you a new car. Cool! If you don’t have a wreck, they get to keep the money. Not so cool! Not sure I like this “insurance” thing.

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Musically inclined…

Did you know that general aviation pilots are more musically inclined than the general population? According to a Sennheiser Aviation official at Sun ’n Fun today, about 48% of pilots play a musical instrument, compared to the about 5% of the general population. Rock on!

A Pioneering spirit: One of many

By CONNIE SUE WHITE, Flying magazine managing editor and SUN ’n FUN Today volunteer guest writer

At Sun ’n Fun, there are signs everywhere indicating the dedication of what has grown to a force of some 3,000 volunteers who put on a six-day event hosting an estimated 160,000 guests — from the friendly faces of those standing at the ready to greet guests and answer questions, to those driving by in golf carts on their way to their next task, to the dedications inscribed on placards strategically placed on various buildings and benches, and even the names on street signs.

One dedication in particular caught my attention when I was onsite last Saturday morning: The Sun ’n Fun Pioneers Wall outside the Florida Air Museum. Some 230 names adorn the wall, including the name of the man I was scheduled to interview — Paul Hopkins.

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AOPA partners with Build-A-Plane

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has become the latest media partner with Build-A-Plane, supporting the Kids Across America campaign, created to help children make the trip to Oshkosh, Wis., for the Experimental Aircraft Association’s 2012 AirVenture.

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Sun ’n Fun Splash-In at Fantasy of Flight Thursday

Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Florida, will once again play host the annual Sun ’n Fun Splash-In, a one-day event specifically designed to celebrate seaplanes and other amphibious aircraft.

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Lindbergh Foundation to present awards Thursday

The Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation will present the Lindbergh Award and the Lindbergh Spirit Award at a celebration at Fantasy of Flight in Polk City, Thursday.

Legendary inventor Forrest Bird will receive the 2012 Lindbergh Award and Florida businessman-philanthropist James C. Ray has been named recipient of the Spirit Award.

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Students take to the skies to thank their benefactor

Thursday at the Sun ’n Fun fly-in in Lakeland, Florida, two 17-year-old students will perform a special fly-by honoring James Ray, the man who donated the money to build the Central Florida Aerospace Academy on the Sun ’n Fun campus.

The students, Phillip “Maverick” Herrington and Angel “Talisman” Castellanos, wanted to perform the fly-by to thank the man who made their wildest dreams come to life.

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CAP cadets pitch in to build first RAF Fire Hub

By CONNIE SUE WHITE

When Civil Air Patrol Seminole Composite Squadron Deputy Commander Kenny Eads asked a group of five cadets to volunteer for a unique mission, it caught on like wildfire. The assignment: build the first-ever Fire Hub on the SUN ’n FUN campgrounds.

Eads explained to the young men that it would the be the first of 50 Fire Hubs planned across the United States as part of the Recreational Aviation Foundation’s latest fund-raising initiative [Read more...]