PRESIDENT’S REPORT – February / March 2013
Change happens. It seems just like yesterday I was trying to visualize what the ADF needle was telling me on the NDB approach to Nome. Today I’m trying to
figure out which icon on my iPad to use to bring up the approach plate to RNAV GPS RNY 3 for Nome.
The last day of 2012 brought a big change for me. I sold my airplane. The Cessna 180 had been in the family for 17 years. It took us on family camping trips, to the Seward Peninsula for a hunt and hot springs soak, on numerous Denali tours with friends and visitors, clam digging with my daughter and her college friends, night flight training with my son, and late evening summer picnics at remote lakes. It was hard to close the deal on 12/31. I was a reluctant seller.
Change happens. Kids grow up. The family adventures in the Cessna 180 were no more. The plane was spending too much time in the hangar and not enough time in the air. It was time, I thought, for a change. Something different. Maybe boating? So with a wad of cash in my pocket, well actually the credit union, I began dreaming about sailing to tropical islands.
A week later the wad of cash was substantially smaller. Yep, I did it – I bought a plane. I went one whole week without a plane. I’m a pilot. I love flying. As I sit here writing this I’m reflecting on some of the things I love about it.
For me, it’s simple. I love looking at the window at the world below me. I love a perfect steep turn – the one where I hit my own wake turbulence. I love a lake landing, where the keels kiss the water and no one feels it. I love flying over sparsely populated areas at a minimum altitude, in accordance with FAR 91.119. I love the challenge of a crosswind landing on the pavement at Palmer. I love that deep blue color that I’ve only seen in flight for that few minutes between sunset and darkness.
So now I have a 1946 7CCM Aeronca Champ. A change for me, in airplanes. It won’t sail me to tropical islands, but I am a pilot. I need to be in the air.
Your Alaska Airmen’s Association is also embracing change. We had our annual one day planning summit in January. Board members from all over the state attended. We talked about change and our goals for the next few years. We are excited and challenged by the future.
Change is happening now in aviation that will affect all of us. The Alaska Airmen’s Association is going to be there to make sure it’s a change we can fly with. The EPA has mandated no lead in all fuels. I have no doubt that before I, or my new (old) Champ wears out, avgas as I know it today will not be available. Your Association is fighting that battle to make sure the change is one that works for our aircraft engines. The more members we have the more effective we are. If you haven’t renewed your membership, RENEW TODAY – NOW. We need you, you need us.
Change has happened. Primary flight training has radically decreased. General Aviation tomorrow depends on us getting our youth interested today. Your Association has focused on youth outreach by sponsoring inspirational speakers like Jessica Cox, a young woman born without arms, who became a private pilot. We award several aviation scholarships annually. Looking ahead, one of the Board’s new goals is a standardized state wide school aviation education program. A lofty goal, but we can do it. We have the educational expertise on the board (and membership), but it’s really your membership that will make it possible. RENEW your membership today – now. The future of General Aviation in Alaska needs you.
Change is coming. We’ve been fund raising and planning for a new building at Airmen’s Point on Lake Hood for five years. Besides giving the staff a warm place to work, with an indoor bathroom, it will serve as a meeting place for everything General Aviation. We are involved in meetings, workshops, and political activities on a daily basis. Finding a meeting place is often an issue. The Alaska Airmen’s Association has become the “go to organization” for local, state, and federal politicians, the FAA and the news media. That serves you and General Aviation in Alaska well. RENEW your membership today – now. Consider a tax deductible donation to the building fund. If each member threw in only $40 we’d be on our way to having a proper facility at Airmen’s Point.
No change. The Great Alaska Aviation Gathering, May 4-5, is still the largest “must attend” aviation event in Alaska. Sponsored by your Association it’s two days of planes, hangar flying with friends, aviation vendors, guest speakers, and the raffle drawing for a 2007 Aviat Husky on Amphibs. The price of admission is unchanged – FREE. Try going to any other big event for that price. You membership helps make that possible.
RENEW NOW, if you haven’t. The Alaska Airmen’s Association will be there for you keeping the inevitable change in General Aviation manageable.
See you out there. I’ll be the one in the new (old) green Champ doing touch and go’s just because it’s fun. Some things will never change.