Savoring Flight and a Reminder

December 21, 2011 by Bruce Landsberg

In this holiday week one wants to think of family and friends and how we might get along a little better nationally and internationally. I’ll leave the inspirational messages to others  but in thinking back over the last year, I still am awed about what aircraft allow us to accomplish. I’ve had the privilege to be flying a number of decades now and it’s sometimes too easy to be casual about the gift of flight. If you recall, last June we discussed International Learn to Fly Day and my suggestion was that every weekend should be looked at as an opportunity to take someone flying.

I occasionally practice what I preach and took a young man, age 15, flying with his dad in the back seat. He was understandably a bit apprehensive but it was great fun to watch his expression as the ground fell away on takeoff. We flew to a nearby towered airport so he could get to hear some ATC communications. Upon landing, he was in the usual “bubble over” mode. The anxiety was  replaced by extreme enthusiasm based on the experience and the fact that he had conquered the fear he’d felt.  It rekindles my enthusiasm every time and reinforces the commitment to work hard for the preservation of GA.

Again, it’s been another tough week for safety. We’ve had too many fatal accidents and in the newspaper interviews I’ve done this week, the reporters have actually been quite reasonable in their questions and write-ups. Online comments by some of the readers however is infuriating. It would be helpful to get some of these people up in an aircraft, responsibly, and show them how this activity can be done with great safety. Nuff said. As usual, we’ll be tracking the details and all will be posted in the ASI accident analysis section as the NTSB issues its analysis.

Safety Reminders – FAA has published new flight-duty time rules for professional pilots. Fatigue is less of an issue for Part 91 GA pilots but we still need proper rest and when tired the errors compound. A quick review of the ASI Safety Brief on Fatigue provides some pointers.

A new accident case study regarding the mission mentality has just been posted. It all seems so clear in hindsight and yet the pilot just wanted to save a life. The view from behind is always much better.

Remember to take someone flying if the opportunity presents. If anyone is inclined to make a last minute gift to the foundation (fully tax deductible, of course) we will invest it more wisely than your government will to preserve the future of GA.

The blog will stay in the hangar next week but we’ll be airborne again in 2012. Join us!  Wishing all a safe and enjoyable holiday.

Bruce Landsberg
President, AOPA Foundation

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