California Dreamin’

I remember my first California Pilots Association (CalPilots) annual meeting, about 20 or so years ago. It consisted of a day-long business meeting with 20-25 people around a conference table in the conference room of the Hiller Museum on San Carlos Airport.

My, my, how times have changed! This year’s event, dubbed California Dreamin’, was conducted at the San Luis Jet Center, located on the San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport. Held on a Friday night and most of Saturday, October 18-19, the event was a melange of networking, education, exhibits, food, and entertainment. And that was a combination that left me interested and involved throughout the event. Attendance was around 300.

The outstanding list of speakers included: Judy Phelps, CFI of the Year; Jamie Beckett, author of the monthly column “Politics for Pilots” in General Aviation News; Rod Machado, who needs no introduction (but just in case, CFI, author, motivational speaker and humorist); Mike Jesch, Fullerton Pilots Association; John Kounis, Editor-in-Chief of Pilot Getaways Magazine; AOPA’s own Bill Dunn, Vice President of Local Airports Advocacy. A recurring theme of many of the speakers was the need for local, statewide, and national involvement to develop and maintain support for aviation and airports.

AOPA was well represented with Bill Dunn, John Morrison, the AOPA Foundation Western Region Director of Development, and myself in attendance. Of course, most of the CalPilots in attendance were AOPA members also.

Many exhibitors were in attendance with a variety of wares and information.

Entertainment included bi-plane rides, a balloon glow, music by the San Luis Jazz Band, a raffle, and a silent auction. I have rarely participated in a silent auction, but this one got the best of me. So I came home with a 1990’s vintage Snoopy Sopwith Camel ceiling fan, still in its original packing. It was a pleasure to contribute to the event.

I offer my congratulations and thanks to Jolie Lucas and Mitch Latting, Co-Vice Presidents of CalPilots Region 3, who were the leading organizers of the event, as well as the CalPilots Board of Directors and all the volunteers who made the event possible.

On the way home Sunday thinking about my travel planning for 2014, I thought the whatever the event is called in 2014 and wherever it is held, it needs to be on my calendar. You might want to put it on your calendar, too. Date and place to be announced in the coming months.

And a postscript. When Jamie Beckett gave his first presentation on Friday night, he asked the audience of about 300 how many read General Aviation News. Three hands went up, mine being one. I was amazed, having previously assumed that everyone in GA reads GA News. I find it a great source of information.

  • Mitch Latting

    Thank you John, Bill Dunn and John Morrison for attending California Dreamin’. We were honored by your presence.

    The event was truly and exercise in bringing so many facets together in support of, promotion of, and protection of general aviation. Although California Dreamin’ was specific to California, the example set is that we all must work together nationwide.
    We can work together for the common cause.

    One of our goals with the event was to bring some our nations most recognized and well respected aviation educators, flight instructors, and aviation advocates together in hopes of inspiring our guests to stay involved at their local airport.

    While AOPA, EAA, California Pilots Association, as well as many other state aviation advocate groups can lead and advise, it is most imperative that general aviation advocacy has to be looked after from a local perspective.

    California Dreamin’ is just that………our desire to keep the general aviation dream alive in this state. It’s our personal responsibility to do so.

    Thank you to AOPA for their support of this event. We look forward to future opportunities to work together with you in our common goal.

    Oh, by the way John, Jolie is delighted you are the winner of the Snoopy fan, which was donated to the silent auction by Friends of Oceano Airport.

    Mitch Latting
    Vice President, Region 3
    California Pilots Association.

  • Mark van Wyk

    Wish I could have attended the Satruday meetings. I was all set to fly-in early Saturday morning 10/19/13, but KSBP was thick ground fog with 100 foot ceiling, so my flight was a no-go.. Maye next year.

  • Mike Finkle

    I definitely agree that the CPA’s California Dreamin’ event was outstanding! The presentations were both informative and entertaining, the camaraderie of getting together with a really great group of fellow pilots was wonderful, and (since the event was FREE to all attendees except for available extras like food, etc.) you certainly couldn’t beat the price!!! I especially want to personally thank all of the CPA leadership and volunteers, along with the very friendly people of San Luis Jet Center… what a fantastic group of people.

    I would highly recommend that all available pilots plan on attending next year’s event. I know that I’ll definitely be there!

  • Jolie Lucas

    Thank you for the observations and kudos on California Dreamin’. What most folks might not realize is the team of volunteers that made the event happen. We are lucky to have a dedicated and enthusiastic volunteer base through Friends of Oceano Airport. Our goal was a friendly, educational and social event.

  • Jamie Beckett

    Great recap, John. You hit the hight points and shared the success of a truly worthwhile event. I’ll certainly be curious about next year’s edition of the CalPilots gathering. Given the opportunity I just might head out that way again.

  • Jeff Ingram

    Mitch and Jolie are the best ambassadors to General Aviation in the State. They work tirelessly and are always coming up with better and better ideas. I wish I could have made the event, because I knew it was going to be great, but a family emergency (grandmother in law) kept up home to be close with the family. Anyone looking for a good fly in should consider the Toys for Tots Fly-in at Oceano Airport on December 7.