People are Weird (plane people, that is…)
This guest post is from Matthew Hood, a seasoned commercial pilot and General Aviation advocate. He has many great stories to share, and we look forward to more! He is also a proud owner of a Luscombe! Please sit back and enjoy…. :
Years ago I sat in on a symposium at Oshkosh. The talk was given by John and Martha King from King Schools. In his talk, John pointed out that airplane people are “weird”. His point was that the time and money airplane people pour into our hobby / lifestyle can be pretty steep and sometimes inexplicable to outsiders.
Imagine someday washing your airplane and a kid passing by on a bicycle compliments your pride and joy. After visiting, the young person asks how he/she too can become a pilot and fly such a neat airplane like yours. Well lets see….medical, written, and a check ride. Well that’s not so bad. Same requirements we had growing up. Or is it?
One of the things I really enjoy about flying charter is that I routinely go to airports I have never been to. I get to meet new people in aviation daily. I will pull up to the FBO and usually have a little time to visit with the line guys and FBO folks. The conversations I’m hearing are pretty scary for the future of general aviation.
I over heard a quote of $11,000 for a private pilots certificate. I recently had another young person tell me that a 4 year degree with flight ratings from one of the more well known schools in FL runs about $250,000. The barriers of entry are becoming exceedingly high! From that environment, rare is the new CFI who knows or even cares about airplanes without glass cockpits. While this newly minted CFI has his heart on a career (and that’s fine), he may also be the first point of contact for John Q Public’s intro to aviation. The odds of the new private pilot coming from glass 172s into fabric, tailwheel, or round power airplanes are significantly smaller.
John King was right! We are weird. You don’t trip and fall then start flying airplanes, It requires time and lots of money. But I want lots more weird people! I want to take what I have been allowed to enjoy about general aviation and share that with others. That mission should be important to each one of us. Anytime you give a ride, keep your membership to EAA / AOPA, or offer an encouraging word to a future pilot, you are casting your vote. You are voting in favor of a future generation who will keep our passion for airplanes alive.
In the land of ipad’s, online videos, and video games I want to add Luscombe time to a young person’s decision of how to spend their afternoon.
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