Both Eddie and Natasha led my formation flight from San Diego to French Valley Airport to photograph the Cessna SkyCatcher. The article appears in an upcoming issue of “AOPA Pilot.”
Archive for October, 2009
With Halloween in just a few days, I was reminded this morning of perhaps the only horror movie made that features vampires, creepy reporters, and general aviation. That would be the 1997 film “The Night Flier,” based on a short story by Stephen King.
The bizarre tale focuses on a reporter for a Weekly-World-News-ish type of rag who uses his Bonanza to take him all across the country chasing sordid stories. (I know, already it strains credibility–a reporter owning a Bonanza? Maybe those pulp rags pay a lot better than we know.) He travels to a tiny field in Delaware where a brutal murder has been committed. As the story progresses, he finds himself tracking a vampire who flies a black Cessna Skymaster. Yup, a black Cessna Skymaster.
I won’t give it away, but if you’re squeamish you should know that the final scene is, in keeping with Stephen King’s reputation, pretty gory. The vampire in question isn’t one of those Twilight/True Blood pretty boys. But as far as I can tell, no Skymasters were harmed in the making of this film.
Callers to the company’s maintenance operation were referred to the SATSair office which did not answer. A third source said many of the aircraft had “timed out,” referring to the engines, and were awaiting not only engines but an upgrade to the newest aircraft systems now available in newer SR22s. Company officials were not available to confirm the information.
AOPA Pilot reported in 2006 that SATSair had placed 50 firm orders for SR22 aircraft, and held options for an additional 50 aircraft.
I mentioned this to a woman staffing an exhibit for a small firm that builds infrared cockpit displays for aircraft. Five months ago during an aerospace show a seemingly hot prospect made an appointment with her for a briefing on the firm’s products. After she finished her presentation he said, “Now I can make you an offer for your company.” She explained she was an employee, and selling the firm out from under her boss did not sound like a good idea. She later called the owner and said, “I think I just sold your company.” The offer was rejected.
Pierce is the owner of a restaurant supply and consulting company in Orlando. He also owns a Cirrus and is profiled in the November issue of Pilot as part of our ongoing series explaining how GA serves America. Although the story is familiar to many members, the rest of the American public doesn’t understand the benefit of GA. Surveys show while they may know they have a local airport that’s somewhat smaller than O’Hare, they don’t understand who flies in or out, or why.
I first heard about Pierce at Sun ‘n Fun earlier this year from the folks at Cirrus, who wisely used a letter he wrote to tout the benefits of the airplane for business travel. But as we know, the airplane doesn’t even matter in the end–it’s almost always better than the airlines.
Pierce got a chance recently to explain that fact to a Senate subcommittee on a non-aviation topic. Since the Cirrus allows him to quickly travel to his state capital and lobby his state legislature often, Pierce has made relationships that resulted in an invite to talk about trade export in Washington. As part of his testimony, he plugged GA as a great technological benefit to his business.
I think the impact of actions like Pierce’s can’t be overstated. AOPA clearly has significant clout in Washington’s aviation circles, but getting beyond that is always difficult. Pierce was able to capitalize on his opportunity and mention the positive benefits of GA to senators that likely don’t know the story. It’s an opportunity we should all grab whenever possible. AOPA’s ranks of CEOs, company owners, and influencers has the chance to do this type of thing often. So make sure to help the cause whenever possible and keep GA strong.