Picture of the day: October sunset


Bob Martin sent us this photo, with a note: “Fulton County (Illinois) late afternoon October sunset. This intersection marks the location of the lane to my friend’s home. He is a retired United States Air Force pilot who flew and instructed in the F-111 fighter/bomber. I wanted to photograph his home, but it had already been swallowed by the shadows.”


Source: http://generalaviationnews.comPicture of the day: October sunset

Beware bumper sticker politics


My wife and I were having a perfectly lovely time. We were situated in a corner booth at Egg Haven, one of my home town’s more popular eateries, as our waitress whirled through the room with an energy level that seemed impossibly high for a Sunday morning.

We were engaged in an activity long time married couples rarely do. We talked to each other. Face to face, too. I mean, we really talked. Ideas were exchanged, dreams were fleshed out, concerns were aired, and disagreements were but a minor inconvenience.

All in all, things were good. Then my eye wandered away from the restaurant to an abandoned building across the street that has, to be kind, seen better days. There, below a window with 16 panes, only three of which were still intact, were the words, “Optimism can save the world.”

Think about that for a moment, if you will.Optimism

The sentence was neatly stenciled. Proper capitalization was in evidence, as evidenced by an upper-case “O.” The artist had even used proper punctuation, adding a period to the end of his or her thought to signify the completion of an idea. Clearly, great care had been taken to express an idea.

However, I don’t suppose the individual who put it there took much time to explore the depths of their psyche in a search that reached beyond the overt feel-good nature of the line. If they had, they might have realized that as a standalone thought, it’s drivel.

Let’s do a thought experiment. And for those unused to the 21st Century, “thought experiment” is an increasingly popular euphemism for “consider this.”

Let’s say we’re at sea in a small boat. For the sake of argument, let’s say the boat is primarily built of steel. The coastline is only slightly over the horizon. Close enough to be tempting, yet far enough away that even a reasonably strong swimmer couldn’t cover the distance. Now let’s say our boat springs a leak. A big leak. Salt water is gushing in, filling our hull at an alarming rate. The almost magical property of displacement that was so effectively keeping our little boat afloat is now working against us. In a matter of minutes the boat will sink, leaving the inhabitants of the boat, you and me, floundering in choppy seas. The water is terribly cold, too. It is late October, after all.

Now just how optimistic would one have to be for the laws of physics to be reversed, allowing our violated hull to stay afloat? What amount of good humor might prevent our body temperature from plunging toward a dangerous chill? How happy would we have to be in order to stay alive until somebody, somewhere, happens upon us and facilitates a rescue?

Were I in that situation with you — and let’s hope we never are — I would be very pleased to find you being optimistic and resourceful. If you were to pull a raft from a storage compartment and inflate it, attach a personal locator beacon to your life jacket, and assure me that a Coast Guard vessel would be zipping to our rescue in minutes…well, I just might feel a whole lot more hopeful about my short-term future.

But that confidence wouldn’t be a result of your optimism, it would be thanks to your resourcefulness and the fact that you were taking positive steps to make a change in our condition.

Optimism cannot save the world, but it’s a tremendously valuable tool. I certainly wouldn’t want to be without it.

Bumper sticker politics surround us. They invade the landscape and the airwaves, pelting us with ideas so appealingly simple we sometimes don’t stop to consider exactly how shallow and incomplete those ideas may be.

The problem with slogan-driven campaigns is closely linked to their frequent use and occasional success. They misrepresent complex issues. They lack nuance and context.

But like a big fluffy stack of pancakes on a Sunday morning, they look good — at least on the surface.

Let’s face it, they’re appealing on a basic level. But if you gobble up those pancakes on a regular basis you’ll find yourself facing long-term problems that are far less attractive than those light, delectable cakes might have led you to think possible. The same can be said for the risk of swallowing slogans whole.

The world we live in is populated by more than 7 billion people, living on seven continents, speaking more than 6,000 languages, and participating in more than 4,000 religions. The collective troubles that come with those numbers cannot be solved by simply thinking positive thoughts.

Nor can the issues facing your town, city, county, or state be magically fixed by your enthusiastic embrace of a single party, or candidate, or issue. Life is more complex than that.

Optimism alone isn’t the solution and bumper sticker politics often do more harm than good, even though there is often a grain of truth somewhere in there.

So what will save the world, or solve any other problems you might face?

The sun came up this morning. A new day presents to you more opportunities than any previous generation could even imagine. If you’re reading this column, you may take comfort in knowing that you are among the wealthiest, healthiest, best-fed people to ever walk the earth. There is absolutely, without a doubt, a thousand reasons to be optimistic about today, tomorrow, and the future. You’ve got all that going for you. So do something.

Unfortunately, that’s a bit wordy for a bumper sticker.

Source: http://generalaviationnews.comBeware bumper sticker politics

Rain doesn’t dampen spirits at AOPA Tullahoma Fly-In

Camping at Tullahoma

Thunderstorms followed by steady rain did little to reduce attendance or dampen spirits at the final Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Regional Fly-in of the year in Tullahoma, Tennessee, Oct. 9-10.

Although Friday’s weather was beautiful VFR, a late-day storm front hit with a vengeance and low conditions continued throughout the region until mid-day Saturday.

Many fly-in campers arrived under blue skies on Friday afternoon only to face rough conditions that night.

Overview AOPA Photo

Photo courtesy AOPA

“Our tent flooded and we ended up trying to sleep sitting up in our 172,” said newly-minted pilot Joe Avary of nearby Franklin, Tennessee. However, he and his wife, Carmen, were still smiling the next day and glad to be at the fly-in.


Photo by Tom Snow

Saturday’s low conditions, plus IFR air and ground holds of up to an hour, led many pilots to drive to the event, which drew more than 2,500 aviation enthusiasts to the campus of the beautiful Beechcraft Heritage Museum at Tullahoma Airport (KTHA). The facility, which hosts the annual Beech Party, is ideally set up for a fly-in.

Beechcraft museumDespite the weather, more than 330 aircraft made it to the show. The good attendance numbers confirmed that the region around Tennessee has more AOPA members than any other part of the country, according to association officials.

Following AOPA’s proven regional fly-in schedule of a Friday night hangar party followed by a pancake breakfast on Saturday and lunch supplied by a variety of food trucks, attendees were also offered a full day of seminars and exhibits.

Among the well-attended events at Tullahoma were the Rusty Pilot Seminar and Rod Machado’s always-popular “laugh and learn” presentation (pictured below).

SeminarSince AOPA initiated its regional events in 2014, attendance has topped 29,000 and more than 1,000 inactive pilots are back in the air after attending one of AOPA’s Rusty Pilot programs.

Fly-in volunteer Ed Loxterkamp of Lebanon, Ohio may hold some sort of record for flying his 1970 Piper Arrow to all the AOPA regional events in 2015, even the one in Salinas, California. In addition, he also flew to AirVenture and SUN ’n FUN. Loxterkamp’s Tullahoma campsite featured a banner illustrating his aerial travels this year, which covered 10,905 nm. Flying solo much of the time, Loxterkamp landed in a total of 26 states and logged just over 100 flight hours.

Volunteer1On Saturday afternoon, the ceiling lifted enough for Greg Koontz to perform his airshow routine in a Decathlon Xtreme, including an inverted ribbon cut in gusty conditions.

Koontz AOPA Photo

Greg Koontz performing (Photo courtesy AOPA)

AOPA president Mark Baker, clad in blue jeans and boots, circulated throughout the crowd during the day and concluded the event with a Town Hall meeting, where he updated the crowd on the current status of the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 and its proposed changes to the Third Class Medical.

“I want to get this done so we can move on to other things,” he said.


AOPA President Mark Baker (facing camera) (Photo courtesy AOPA)

With 12 regional events behind them, AOPA obviously knows how to put on a fly-in. A staff of more than 60 traveled to Tullahoma from AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Maryland, and it was impressive to see them multi-task and work as a team to pull the event together.

As he pitched in to help his staff clean up after the event, Baker was complimented on the team effort and he responded, “I grew up in retail and everybody works.”

Four AOPA regional events are scheduled for 2016:

  • May 21: Beaufort, N.C. (KMRH);
  • Aug. 20: Bremerton, Wash. (KPWT);
  • Sept. 17: Battle Creek, Mich. (KBTL);
  • Oct. 1: Prescott, Ariz. (KPRC).

Source: http://generalaviationnews.comRain doesn’t dampen spirits at AOPA Tullahoma Fly-In

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