Well, we made it through another year. It was not a great year for general aviation, but not a real bad one either — it was just OK.
On the down side, we continue to lose many of our great aviators and heroes.
For example, the loss of Bob Hoover was sad for the whole country, but especially for the aviation community.
I met Mr. Hoover several years ago working on a training video. I have told the story before of going to dinner with him during the Reno Air Races and having him tell war stories. Before long the whole restaurant and the wait staff was listening.
What a great man. His life made all of us humble in comparison.
The thing that saddens me was that none of the major media even mentioned his passing. For comparison, whenever an entertainment, sports or political “hero” passes, we hear all about it. But when a real life hero like Mr. Hoover passes, nothing.
My take on this is America is still great; it is Americans that need improving.
Americans no longer read or study anything, they just Google it. In the past, the broadcast media and the print media were in competition to supply people with news information.
But now people don’t read, so the competition for supplying news information is between the broadcast media and the Internet. Therefore, the broadcast media has switched from reporting facts to making news entertaining. Consequently, a lot of people do not know what World War II was about, let alone who served in it.
Another problem is that Internet reports may or may not be true. We are living in a post-truth world. And the marketers and politicians have definitely picked up on this.
In this year’s presidential election we suffered from electile dysfunction. Both parties decided there is no future in telling the truth, that the general public will not know the difference. It is now to the point that the way to tell if a politician is lying is to see if his or her lips are moving.
In general aviation, we are seeing the effects on the technical side, as well. I cannot tell you the number of times people ask me a question and start out with “I read on the Internet…”
I am not against the Internet; I find it a great tool. The problem is that if a person knows what they are doing, then the Internet can be a great source for additional information and the user can determine what is true and what are opinions.
The problem comes in when people depend on the Internet as their sole source for information. They are not equipped to sort out the useful information from someone’s opinion. And many opinions are favorable to whatever the “expert” is selling.
As an example, in the past I have written about the problem of exhaust valve recession in aircraft engines that are only operated on unleaded fuel starting from overhaul. I almost always get comments such as “this is just an old wives tale” to “it can’t happen.”
Last year I was giving a talk and mentioned this problem. This started a discussion on the subject. Darrell Bolduc of Bolduc Aviation out of Minnesota was the next presenter and he joined the conversation, showing an actual exhaust valve and seat that had recessed in a very short time.
During the next break, I talked to one of the men who still was not sure, because he had seen on the Internet that this was not a problem and, as he said, “if it is on the Internet it must be true.”
I hope this finds you all well and ready for another year. We here at General Aviation News will continue to try to give you factual information. We will also continue to honor those great people like Mr. Hoover who have done so much for this country and aviation.
We will let the broadcast media handle the job of keeping people informed as to what the Kardashians are doing and who they are dating now.