June 15, 2008

Fighting the Decline of The Pilot Population

AOPA_Spreading_the_word.jpgThe Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has recently focused on two important issues to pilots. One is the ongoing fight against user fees, the other is fighting the decline in the pilot population. The organization recently reached out to the current pilot base through a survey, looking for creative ideas to get more adults to experience the fun and challenge of Flying.

The goal is to attract more adults from the age of 35 to 65 to stop dreaming about flying and to start learning to fly. There are many ways people are achieving the goal of inspiring others to fly. There are those who volunteer their time to fly Young Eagle flights to introduce children to aviation. There is a also growing population of bloggers and podcasters that are writing about their love affair with aviation and inspiring their readers to learn to fly or to fly more often. Additionally, there are those who share their passion for aviation through film like the like One Six Right or two films in the works, A Pilot's Story and a yet to be named film from the Director of One Six Right.

In addition to publishing my blog I attempt to grow interest in aviation by managing the Chicago Aviation Meetup Group. It is a group of more than 50 aviation enthusiasts. We get together every few months for activities like touring a control tower, checking out a flight school's flightline, or flying to a local airport for lunch.

When I learned that AOPA was holding a Pilot Town Meeting in Chicago and that there was going to be two sessions one for current pilots and one for prospective pilots I knew it would make for a great Aviation Meetup Group event. We had several of our members make it to the event and most exciting was that we had three that had not yet taken their first flight. At that meeting they were given a free voucher for an introductory flight as a gift from AOPA.

Phil Boyer, President of AOPA, commented in his President's Perspective about the Chicago Aviation Groups participation at the town meeting saying groups like ours "take hangar flying to a whole new level". I hope other aviation enthusiast will create aviation enthusiast groups like the Chicago Aviation Meetup Group to help foster an interest in general aviation in their own neck of the woods.

May 3, 2008

Review of One Six Right & One Six Left

one-six-right_one-six-left.jpgI think it would be hard to find a pilot who has not seen or is not atleast familiar with the movie One Six Right: The Romance of Flying. One Six Right is an exceptional aviation documentary about the Van Nuys Airport. Although, I had seen One Six Right I was not aware of a companion DVD, One Six Left until about a month ago.

Netflix delivered One Six Left to my home in time to view it over the weekend. If you enjoyed One Six Right I highly recommend you check out One Six Left. The DVD features the beautiful trailer "Into the Clouds" which features music by Enya, a 12 minute movie montage of amazing aerial shots of a wide variety of planes that fly in and out of Van Nuys. Additionally, the video has interviews with the Director and the videographer and a few other features.

This was one of those films that just connects with a pilots love for aviation. The cinematography is spectacular and should be used by any pilot that is trying to convince a friend or family member to learn to fly. The great news is Brian Terwiliger the Director of One Six Right is actively working on another yet to be named aviation documentary.

I am shipping the DVD back to Netflix so another pilot or aviation enthusiast can enjoy the film and will be ordering a copy of both One Six Right and One Six Left for my personal DVD collection.



Posted at 3:13 PM | Post Category: Aviation Movies, Non Sequitur | Comments (5) | Save & Share This Story

January 16, 2008

Attend the Next Chicago Aviation Meetup Event

meetup_image.gifThe next Chicago Aviation Meetup Group event has been scheduled for Saturday, January 26, 2008. We will be meeting for lunch at Pilot Pete's located at Schaumburg Airport in the Chicago suburbs. So far it looks like we will have great turn out for this event.

Those who attended the last event had a great time checking out the control tower at Chicago Executive Airport.

Come join fellow aviation enthusiasts for lunch. We are trying to organize a tour of the flight line with one of the local fixed based operators as well. Visit the Chicago Aviation Meetup Group website today to R.S.V.P. for this event.


Posted at 6:40 AM | Post Category: Non Sequitur | Comments (1) | Save & Share This Story

February 26, 2006

Holding Pattern Screensaver

screensaver.jpgTurn your idle computer screen into an airplane window with Holding Pattern a screensaver by Idle Time. This is a fun screensaver that I loaded onto my computer this afternoon. I have walked by my computer screen a few times and have yet to see any repeat imagery.

According to Idle Time they say "Be Patient: Let the screensaver play for a while, and you'll see that this flight does have a destination...".

The screen saver is available for both MAC OS X and Windows.


Posted at 7:06 PM | Post Category: Non Sequitur | Save & Share This Story

January 30, 2006

Wisdom from Passenger in 13A

I have been doing a lot of flying lately, unfortunately I have not been in the cockpit but a passenger on commercial flights. Though I should not complain as I have been lucky to visit places like London, England and Buenos Aires, Argentina. But it was on a short flight from Indianapolis to Chicago that I had the pleasure of sitting next to an elderly gentleman who shared his wisdom from seat 13A.

It was a small commuter flight and I was bummed to be walking towards seat 13B not only because I would not have a window but because I was to be seated next to the lavatory. When I arrived my neighbor for the flight smiled and asked how I was doing today and that started up a very interesting conversation and my frustrations were quickly forgotten.

The gentleman mentioned he was enroute to Seattle which got us talking about travelling. He told me one of his favorite things in life is travelling and seeing places he has never seen before and doing things he had never done before. He looked me in the eye and said "You don't know how much time you have in life so you got to get out and see the world while you can." He expressed how important it is to do it when you are young and able as it gets much harder to travel as the body ages.

He also told me a lot about his family and how he had outlived all of his brothers and sisters and that he was sad that many of them did not go out and do what they loved to do or fulfill their dreams like he did. It was neat that he shared his wisdom through conversation and sharing life experiences and did not try to push his thoughts down my throat. It was not a revolutionary idea but it was great to see someone who was so proud of living his life to the most.

I think I was moved by our conversation so much because I had just finished reading No Opportunity Wasted by Phil Keoghan, host of The Amazing Race. The book aims to inspire people to seek out memorable experiences, follow their dreams, and live a fuller life, something I am a big proponent of.

I sought out my life long dream of learning to fly and am thankful every day that I did. I tell anyone who dreamed of learning to fly to not waste time and start taking some lessons. I am working on my list as the book suggests of other dreams to fulfill, experiences to enjoy and fears to conquer, cause as the passenger in 13A said "You don't know how much time you have in life".


Posted at 8:08 PM | Post Category: Non Sequitur | Save & Share This Story

October 12, 2005

Escape Adulthood with Paper Airplanes

paper_airplanes.jpgOne of the non-aviation blogs that I have been enjoying lately is Escape Adulthood by the creator of the Kim & Jason comic strip, Jason Kotecki. Jason has also recently authored a book called Escape Adulthood: 8 Secrets from Childhood for the Stressed-Out Grown-Up. I hope to pick up a copy of the book soon (I will let you know what I think). His blog and podcast talk about the effects of settting the child inside of all of us free more often.

Today when I was in Barnes and Noble I came across Mini Flyers a small book on creating paper airplanes. So I came home and decided to make a few cool airplanes and let the child in me play. While doing this, my wife admitted that she had never had success making and flying paper airplanes. So I folded one up and we had fun tossing it across the house. She is quite the paper airplane pilot.

I think most of us pilots by nature are in touch with the child within as we have all followed our childhood dreams of flying. But next time you can't make it out to the airport fold up some paper and take to the air like you did when you were a kid dreaming of flying. Here are some paper plane resources: Alex's Paper Airplanes and BestPaperAirplanes.com.


Posted at 9:36 PM | Post Category: Non Sequitur | Save & Share This Story

October 24, 2004

Geocaching - Starry Night

geocache_box.jpgIt was a beautiful day in Cincinnati but I did not have an airplane reserved so I needed to find another way to enjoy the day. I recently purchased a Garmin Venture GPS device so I decided to use it and take a crack at a "sport" called Geocaching.

According to Geocaching.com, "Geocaching is an entertaining adventure game for GPS users. The basic idea is to have individuals and organizations set up caches all over the world and share the locations of these caches on the internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. "

I did a search on Geocaching.com for caches near me and found an intriguing one called Starry-Starry Cache. My wife and I walked to the first waypoint which was provided on the website. From there we followed some directions to find a hidden case that provided the coordinates of the prize. We entered the coordinates into the GPS and went off searching, which took longer than I expected, as it was hidden well. But, it was a ton of fun tracking our progress on the GPS and finally locating the box after about thirty minutes of searching.

102404.jpgI believe the fun of Geocaching is the hunt but it is custom that when the cache is found it is usually a waterproof container that holds a prize. The person that discovers the cache usually takes something from the cache but also deposits something new in its place. We had several items to select from. We selected to pick up a Travel Bug called IGeoJoe. A travel bug is an action hero with a dog tag attached. By visiting the Geocaching website and entering the code from the dog tag you can see the many locations the bug has traveled to. This bug started its journey in Illinois but has visited Missouri, Indiana and Ohio. I will leave him in the next cache I visit. Before we put the cache back we left a Backpacker magazine Adventure Log as our donation to the cache.

All in all this was a fun way to spend a beatiful day. I did some searching on the various aviation boards including studentpilot.com to see if there were many pilots who Geocache and was surprised to see only a few references. I think it will be fun when flying cross-country flights to search for geocaches near the airports I am visiting.


Posted at 9:33 PM | Post Category: Non Sequitur | Comments (2) | Save & Share This Story