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.