Believe it or not, it’s not easy being an enthusiastic fan of all things aviation. In fact, it can be a challenging job. As with any complex issue, there are disparate factions, consistent dissenters, ne’er-do-wells, and outright bad actors wandering around out there, mixed in with the sincere, the noble, the well-intentioned, and the professionals.
It seems that whenever one of us points to a representative of the latter group as an example of what’s good about aviation, a detractor will point to a handful from the former. Without a shoulder to lean on, it can be difficult to keep your spirits up and win the debate. Heck, sometimes it’s just difficult to keep up the conversation and maintain a positive tone through the whole thing.
Have no fear. Help is on the way.
The reason I began writing this column is two-fold. First, I really, truly, deeply believe that general aviation plays an important part in the US economy and should become a central focus of the general population in the future. Because of the role GA plays, it needs a certain amount of attention from its participants, and it needs a standard bearer or two (or a few hundred) who will speak up at the drop of a hat to defend and promote it. The second reason is that I am fortunate enough to have a good relationship with General Aviation News, which holds a remarkably similar view to the one I blabber on about. Hence, this column came into being.
Each column is different. Or at least it’s my intent to make sure each column different. You are the ultimate judge of my success rate on that point. But you have no doubt noticed that there is a theme that runs through these columns. It is essentially this: Aviation is important, politics is confusing, aviation enthusiasts need to understand and work more effectively in the political realm in order to secure GA’s place for future generations.
It doesn’t hurt that taking this position tends to improve our own access and enjoyment of aviation.
Several weeks ago I had an exchange with the folks at General Aviation News, in which I suggested that I would like to package the 2010 columns that ran under the title, Politics for Pilots, in a single unit. Because I have become an incorrigible addict of the new technology known as e-books, I suggested that the entire year’s worth of information, entertainment, and inspiration could be bundled together for easy reference without much fuss or bother. Fortunately, the folks at GAN agreed.
Politics for Pilots, the Loose Cannon View – 2010, was recently released on Amazon.com as a Kindle book. Because it is an e-book, no trees gave their lives, no chemicals were poured into the water supply, and no animals were harmed in its production. Yet the full impact of the message remains intact. And the message is simple. Aviation is good and you are an important part of the success of General Aviation. So jump in with both feet and see what you can do to improve your airport, your airport administration, your freedom to function on your airport, as well as the others you travel to – or might one day travel to.
This collection of inspirational, motivational ramblings of a lowly CFI who left the ramp for a brief dalliance with the world of local politics is entirely non-linear. You can skip to any page you like to start reading, and get every bit as much out of the experience as the person who starts at page one. You can read the entries from back to front if you prefer. You can do whatever you want, frankly. But I hope you will take the core idea to heart, even if you don’t take the book itself off the electronic shelf. General Aviation will not survive in the state we found it if we don’t individually play a role in supporting it, and collectively make it known that we care – and we vote.
I am fortunate to have the platform I do, thanks to the good folks at General Aviation News. It is my great honor to have a new e-book out on the market, too, once again thanks to the staff of professionals who produce GAN. And I am particularly pleased to have already written nearly half of next year’s edition of, Politics for Pilots, the Loose Cannon View – 2011. In fact I can hardly wait to see what shows up in this space next week.
At least I have plenty of past classics to read in the meantime, and perhaps more importantly, to share with friends down at the airport. Even political pilots need a little support now and then. And I’ve got a city commission meeting coming up. It’s time for me, and you, to load the audience up with friendly pro-aviation faces and start the ball rolling to a new, better, brighter future for General Aviation – on the behalf of all of us who are a part of it.
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. He is also a founding partner and regular contributor to FlightMonkeys.com. You can reach him at Jamie@GeneralAviationNews.com.