Author Topic: Aviation/airport outreach  (Read 2643 times)

Offline spacer

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Aviation/airport outreach
« on: December 30, 2008, 04:32:47 AM »
My Ma bought me a copy of One-Six-Right for Christmas. We just finished watching it, and I enjoyed it immensely.

It also brought around a bunch of thoughts that have occurred to me from time to time since I attached myself to ORK.
The airport commission spends most of its time bickering over hangar/ramp use, and which big owner somehow deserves
to have a flight planning center/pax terminal built near his hangar, as opposed to building it near the FBOs... y'know... where
the folks who NEED it go...
All the petty politics and bureaucratized greed... and we're withering away, under constant pressure from folks who live nearby
(they moved in LONG after the airport was built) who don't like the sound (poor bastards. Don't know what's wrong with 'em)
and enviro-whackos...
...and we're doing nothing to attract fresh folks into the fold. I'm nearly 40, and I'm one of the very few of our crowd below
retirement age. I've seen quite a few parents bring insistent kids around to look at the airplanes, but we aren't really geared
for that. This past weekend, one of our instructors was a little cold to one of these kids.
I took them aside and explained what was going on around them, talking the kid through what each airplane's crew was doing, but
my job took me away frequently and after one fueling, they'd gone.

The Van Nuys airport looks like it's actually a great place to go for the aeronautically curious, and even has some cool stuff for kids to do.
We have plenty of space for that sort of thing, and I'm sure there must be at least a couple more folks here who would agree with me.

Then I find that the airport commission won't allow independent projects on airport property without their express approval. One of the
hangar occupants built a white picket fence around the area behind the building, dressing up an otherwise bland part of the airport's entrance,
and the airport 'crats forced him to tear it all down.
So... if I want to change anything, I have to wade into the murky world of airport politics.

If I'm not making any sense, it's cuz I find it a little depressing, and I've never been all that great at expressing myself anyway.

Offline G-man

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Re: Aviation/airport outreach
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2008, 07:09:22 AM »
I bet you are thankful that the airport designator for the US is NOT "D".  ::rofl:: ::rofl::

Trust me--VNY is no picnic with the locals either. Mike will know way more than me though---it is his home airport. One of our pilots flew in there recently and was 200 to 300 feet off the road he should have been following---we got a plot of his radar track in the mail, stating that there would not press charges as this was a first offense.

I agree though. My crew is briefed on day one that the government is paying for our aircraft to be on fire call, and that if we are on the ground at a forest or park, I have NO problem with the public getting "up close and personal" with LaFawnduh, Lucy or Layla. Furthermore, if we are not doing a "time sensitive" mission--I will spend time with kids in the helicopter---and they ALL get to sit in the pilot seat if they want.
Life may not be the party we hoped for---but while we're here--we might as well dance..........

Offline TheSoccerMom

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Re: Aviation/airport outreach
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2008, 07:25:04 PM »
Spacer, you bring up many good points about aviation today, and the impression of it that the general public holds.  It seems quite common, in the U.S. anyway, that airport politics and bickering take up a lot of energy that could instead be used to promote the usefulness of GA to local citizens.  We seem to be our own worst enemies -- we wonder why more people aren't interested in flying, then we can't even get out to our own aircraft because of the layers of security and all that stupid BS that goes with it.

I think that all you can do, is do your best to be involved with the airport people, the community the best you can, and the groups of young people -- EAA, the Girl and Boy Scouts, school groups, etc.  I've done so many tours, talks, classes and presentations that I can't count them, and it DOES help a lot if young people can SEE the airplane (helicopter) and SIT in the pilot's seat.

Like G-Man, when we're on contract, anyone and everyone is welcome to sit in the plane, sit up front, whatever.  I always ask to take their pictures, and will send them to them if they want.  I still run into fire guys who brought their little kids out to see the plane years ago, and they talk about the impression it made on them.

AOPA has several programs where you can do more to work to get other people involved, and also a lot of states welcome help through their aeronautics divisions, too.  Plus, the Ninety-Nines are a strong advocate for GA -- we do lots of flying companion seminars, airmarking, safety meetings, etc.

Plus, you never know whom you might be inviting to step aboard -- one day I told two curious gentlemen they were more than welcome to check out the airplane, and they turned out to be FAA inspectors, who just so HAPPENED to tag the cargo planes parked on either side of the Minivan -- a beat-up old Metroliner on one side, and a better-looking, but obviously still unsatisfactory, Caravan on the other.  After grounding them both, they complimented the Minivan on her fine looks, and vanished.

Ya never know.......     8)   
Don't make me come back there!!!!

Offline G-man

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Re: Aviation/airport outreach
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2008, 08:01:36 PM »
Plus, you never know whom you might be inviting to step aboard -- one day I told two curious gentlemen they were more than welcome to check out the airplane, and they turned out to be FAA inspectors,
Ya never know.......     8)   

That is exaactly why I always start all my introductions with--"Hi, unless you guys are from the IRS, FBI, CIA or FAA--I'm G-man"  ::whistle:: ::whistle::
Life may not be the party we hoped for---but while we're here--we might as well dance..........

Offline TheSoccerMom

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Re: Aviation/airport outreach
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2008, 08:05:40 PM »
Ha, ha, well, I'm not YOU, G-Man!!!!!    ::rofl::

They were great guys, actually...  and (as it was a slow fire day), it was worth it just to see the faces on the two starving cargo pilots when they showed up to find their "babies" grounded.....    >:D

 ;)
Don't make me come back there!!!!

Offline ZK Kiwi

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Re: Aviation/airport outreach
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2008, 08:13:13 AM »
Guys, this is something close to my heart and its great that you have chosen to do something, no matter how small to encourage the next generation of aviators. All I can say is keep up the small stuff, even if the "powers that be" seem to lack any vision.
I make a point of allowing anyone who wants to come and see my homebuilt project, and it turns out quite a number have got all inspired and started their own projects (Its dangerous to visit me! :) ) here is a church youth group (7-11 yr old boys) I showed around the project:

one of my SAA chapter members is 12 years old and has started building an Evans VP2. Someone along the way took an interest and showed him what flying is all about.
I have just become a member of the National Executive for the NZ Sport aircraft Association, and this sort of thing is something I want to have an input into. Personally I can see it as being more than just getting kids into building and flying. If flying isnt thier thing, perhaps they can still learn about chasing dreams, innovation, persistence and the fact that results can come from hard work - the sort of stuff younger people seem to be short of in todays society. Go ahead - share the dream!
« Last Edit: December 31, 2008, 08:18:33 AM by ZK Kiwi »
If it was supposed to be easy, everyone would be doing it!

Offline FlyboyGil

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Re: Aviation/airport outreach
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2008, 11:37:33 PM »
Kewlas Mate. Awsome to see you sharing the project. Help keep aviation alive.  |:)\ |:)\
IF YOU CAN'T SAY ANYTHING NICE, YOU'RE PROBABLY AT THE ICE CAPADES

Offline leiafee

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Re: Aviation/airport outreach
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2009, 10:38:28 PM »
I do some work with the Youth and Education section of the Light Aircraft Association here UKSide (The LAA is sort of to the UK what EAA is to the US for anyone who doesn't know -- started out as "the homebuilder lto" and is now much more), they've also just formed the Educational Trust as a registered charity.

We do "take kids flying days", have built two kit aircraft with kids from scouts and cadets and are just embarking on two more with schools, there's visit the airport days where we bring out the pedal-planes and quizzes round the field, "business" days where they learn all the different activities that take place at an airfield,  aero-scout camps, the fly a teacher" project".   More at http://flyers.org.uk

Two or thee years ago with got a grant to buy an interactive whiteboard we can take to shows and have just set up a wiki, Youth Aviation for like minded people to share ideas.  (those two are mostly where I come in with my techy head on...)

We've had two conferences this year getting together everyone from the different types of flying, powered, gliders, microlights, modellers, aero museums, air cadets, scouts, flying clubs, aerospace companies, engineering colleges, the RAeS and others to all compare notes and start working together.

Aviation needs new blood -- who's going to take me flying when I'm ancient and decript and they pull my medical otherwise ;-)

Plus it reminds me all over again why I fly.  If you could see the pride and excitement of these kids.

Offline leiafee

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Re: Aviation/airport outreach
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2009, 10:42:57 PM »
Something else I took part in this year, was the annual Burned Children's Club charity flying day.

I was ground support and diversionary tactics that day, but it was an inspiring experience.

http://leiafee.wordpress.com/2008/08/20/the-burned-childrens-club-flying-day/

Offline spacer

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Re: Aviation/airport outreach
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2009, 11:25:26 PM »
We have the occasional Burned Aviator's lunch. The grillmaster can be a bit clumsy at times.

(apologies to the burned kids. I had to take the cheap joke)