Our friends at Airplanista put together a great blog post on our own Jamie Beckett, who has taken on a new role: VP of operations for SunState Aviation’s new flight school at GIF in Winter Haven, Florida. Check it out here — and fans of Jamie, don’t worry! He’s still going to be writing his Politics for Pilots blog for General Aviation News.
How can your airport fill up its empty hangars? Perhaps the most effective method would be to send a pilot or two into the local middle schools and high schools to tell a few stories, pop a slideshow up on the smartboard, and invite a whole bunch of the kids out to the airport. Let me provide a little context for that idea. It’s valid, believe me. But as fixes go, this isn’t a quick one — nor should it be.
Politics shares at least a little bit with baseball — at least in the sense that to get something done politically, you’ll occasionally need to rely on your backup.
You see this in the theater, as well. Eventually you’ll find that the main player isn’t available for some reason, so an understudy will step into the spotlight to carry the load for a while. The education industry has known this for years. When Ms. Reliable can’t make it one day, her students don’t have to spend the day staring at the wall. Ms. Substitute (or Mr. Substitute) is only a phone call away. Class will be back in session shortly.
As the political season heats up with candidates on the stump and spokesmen backing them or tearing them down on television, there is one message that is clear to many of us. We will never personally meet or have a substantive conversation with the individuals at the top of the ticket — not unless we have a checking account balance that has a lot of zeros behind it.
If you’re going to advocate for general aviation, or pretty much anything else for that matter, you should probably get comfortable with the notion that you’re going to hear the word “no” from time to time. Frankly, you’re probably going to hear it a lot, so get used to it. Hate it. Get frustrated, annoyed, and maybe even a little bit mad about it. But don’t give up and go home. “No” isn’t the end of anything.
If you’re reading this post, you can be fairly sure that you’re an aviation enthusiast. You might be a pilot, but you might not be, too.
Believe it or not, there are massive numbers of people scattered across the globe who are aviation enthusiasts, yet who don’t personally feel the need to grasp the controls and guide a machine through the air. There’s no contradiction there. Not all NASCAR fans rush the pits to force their way into a car so they can experience the big banked turns of Daytona first hand.
We who write about general aviation have a tendency to use a particular term to describe the lot of us. It is fairly common for us to describe the collective bunch as “the aviation community.” The intent is to bond us together, at least in the reader’s mind. And in many cases the term is literal — there is an actual community of aviators, or aviation enthusiasts, who live and work and recreate in close proximity to each other.
It’s no surprise to anyone in the aviation industry to hear that the pilot population is shrinking. Sure, it’s sad – but it’s not a surprise. We all know it’s shrinking. If only there were something we could do to reverse that trend.
Good news — there is. In fact that trend can be reversed relatively easily, and reasonably quickly, too. I know that’s true because it’s happening right here in my neighborhood. With a little nudge from you and your aviation-minded friends, it could happen in your neighborhood, too.
Southerners are familiar with the name Publix. The supermarket chain is more than a thousand stores strong, with something in the neighborhood of 150,000 employees. They embrace a family friendly attitude from top to bottom in their business model, and prize superior customer service above price. It’s a formula that works, and has worked amazingly well for more than 80 years.
Tourism may not seem like a natural partner of the general aviation community, but it can be. It can even be argued that it should be. And as an naturally argumentative sort of fellow, I’ll be happy to take up that issue and carry it wherever I have to in order to make progress for GA.