Michigan Aviation Industry Joins Forces To Educate Teachers

Early on a Saturday Morning at Capital Region Airport in Lansing, Michigan, aviation advocates, including yours truly, of all types gathered with one goal: help bring general aviation into Michigan classrooms.

Stem in Flight, sponsored by the Michigan Aeronautics Commission General Aviation Committee, GrandAir Aviation, Western Michigan University, Square One Education Network and supported by AOPA, illustrated the many ways a general aviation aircraft, general flight principles, and other aspects of aviation can be brought into the classroom to ignite students’ interest in the many careers that can losely fit under the term of ‘aviation related’.STEM in flight

During the day, more than 75 local educators explored the world of remote control flight, toured the airport’s control tower, climbed into the cockpit of an L-39 and a T-6, explored the turbines of a King Air B200, took flights in a Cirrus SR22 or a Cessna 172, learned about Michigan’s burgeoning aerospace industry, were introduced to EAA Chapter 55 from Mason, MI, and got behind the controls of an AOPA JAY Flight Simulator.

By the day’s end, educators were armed with the knowledge needed to bring general aviation directly into their classrooms to support STEM principles. For other educators, thoughts turned beyond simplying bring general aviation into the classroom, but rather towards bringing students to the aviation by visiting their local general aviation airport — a goal all of us interested in the future of general aviation can admire!

Bolingbrook, IL Mayor Announces Aviation Appreciation Month

Earlier this month, coinciding with Bolingbrook – Clow International Airport’s Cavalcade of Planes, the Mayor of Bolingbrook, Illinois, Roger Claar proclaimed June 2013 to be Bolingbrook – Clow International Airport Aviation Appreciation Month.

The proclamation cites the Village’s significant interest in the future of the airport, its businesses, users, and on airport tenants including the Illinois Aviation Museum located on the airport.

The proclamation continues by noting the economic impact the airfield has on the local community including its total economic impact exceeding $13 million annually including more than 130 jobs.

Special thanks to AOPA Airport Support Network Volunteer Grant Prellwitz for his continued dedication to the airport and AOPA!  If you are in the Chicago area, stop by 1C5 and enjoy the rich aviation heritage at the airport and say hello to Grant!


Starting a Flying Club? Need help?

During last week’s AOPA Pilot Town Hall meeting at Dupage Airport in Suburban Chicago, I had the great pleasure of meeting with the team from SimpleFlight Radio and Start A Flight Club who formed Ground Effect Advisors — an advisory group aimed at growing the number of flying clubs in concert with AOPA’s Center to Advance the Pilot Community.

The group, with support from many industry partners, has put together a scholarship package for a group interested in forming a flying club.  The package includes start up funding, advice, headsets, logoed shirts, and much more.

In talking with Al, Marc, and Todd, I found out that no one from Michigan or Wisconsin has applied for the scholarship.  So, Michigan and Wisconsin pilots interested in starting a flying club — check out the links above and definitely put your name in the hat and get that club started!

Free Avgas!!

Did I catch your attention?!

During March 2013, Clare Municipal Airport in Clare, Michigan will be offering free avgas to one lucky visitor up to $100.  All you need to do is stop in, purchase avgas, and fill out a ticket.  The lucky winner will received a full refund for his fuel up to $100!

So fly in, say hello to the friendly manager Dick (who is well known across the State for his ice cream and handmade shakes) and most importantly go fly!

At Your Service

This past week, I was given the opportunity to attend the Great Lakes International Aviation Conference held on the campus of Eastern Michigan University. As I packed up the AOPA display late on Saturday night, I took a moment to reflect on the interactions I had during the conference so that I could share them with you here.

A Michigan State Police officer and pilot came to the booth and reached out his hand saying “Thank you.”  I returned the handshake and he told me how he had recently attended one of AOPA’s Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics and still hadn’t received his renewed certificate from the FAA. He went on to tell me how he checked with the local FSDO with no success, called FAA Headquarters with no success, and finally talked with a local Designated Pilot Examiner who told him to “Call AOPA.” He then went on to tell me how one of AOPA’s Pilot Information Center Specialists “tenaciously attacked the issue and found my certificate that same day. For that reason alone, I’m incredibly grateful for AOPA — even on top of the great advocacy the Association does,” he went on to say.

This sums up many of my experiences interacting with pilots and aircraft owners from across the great lakes region. Many express thanks for what AOPA has done in the past and many present issues for AOPA to tackle in the future.  During this conference alone, I met with at least 10 Airport Support Network Volunteers who told me of the ongoing issues at their airport, talked with representatives from three local collegiate aviation programs, numerous manufacturer representatives and countless pilots from the area. All of these interactions help guide AOPA’s efforts both nationally and regionally.

I mention this because I think it’s very important for AOPA members to know that we are all in this together.  Making general aviation stronger is a challenge we all must face together.  So, if you see or talk to an AOPA regional manager or other staff member — let us know how we can better serve you.  After all, we are here because of you and for you — and it is not something any of us take lightly.