All posts tagged 'Young Eagles'

The Future of Aviation in the U.S.

By: Brent Owens
Owner/Publisher: iflyblog.com

future of aviationWhen the group was deciding on a theme for this month’s Blogging in Formation series (#blogformation), we agreed to anchor it around July 4th (U.S. Independence Day). We settled on The Future of Aviation in the U.S., but we encouraged each other to explore the edges, good or bad, as we saw fit.

We Are The Future of Aviation In The United States

 
Aviation in the U.S. is at an interesting crossroads. We have enjoyed large populations of pilots and a commensurate number of airplanes through the bulk of the last century. Now with Baby Boomers aging and economies melting, the population of aviators has reached historically low levels. Couple that with the cost to fly at unprecedentedly high levels, things aren’t looking good. Also, we have more regulation, more oversight, more scrutiny, and our safety record, although good, is not good enough in the eyes of regulators. Combine all this with our modern distractions and it is very tough to recruit young men and women into our ranks, especially as a career. Flying for fun, or for a living, in the U.S. has proved to be a very difficult proposition in recent decades.

So with all this as the backdrop you would think that aviation here has gone the way of CB radios or Disco, but you’d be wrong. The group that has remained in this new era is more vibrate, engaged, and resourceful than ever. If you have been to Oshkosh, you know what I mean. It is truly amazing to be in the presence of such an awesome group of dedicated people.

The passion from those of us left is infectious. We are constantly looking for alternative ways to continue to do what we love and spread the gospel of flying. The organizations that represent us, are as strong as ever and are working hard to make sure we don’t give up any more of our freedoms to bureaucracy and security theatre.

Since we are in the eve of Independence Day in the United States, it is more than appropriate to celebrate our successes and put behind us our losses. Looking forward is the only way to get where we want to be in the future. It is incumbent on us to be leaders in our small family and do our part to light the way for future generations.

In a related article I wrote about how the EAA is working on a program to bridge the gap between Young Eagles prospects and future pilots (to be announced at Oshkosh 2013). This endeavor, will tap into a great deal of grassroots energy and it is bound to succeed. With it, we may come away with our own version of a “pilot boom” that hasn’t been seen since the Baby Boomers took up wings.

New pilot starts is really an important concept, because this is what will fuel the industry into the future. If we don’t have this, our ranks will keep dwindling away and soon we will have no voice to counter opposition and no economy of scale. If that occurs it’s only a matter of time before flying will be completely inaccessible to the average American. Several organizations have recognized this decades ago and started working on plans to stave off the bleeding, but it hasn’t been enough. Our current economic climate hasn’t helped either.

My plan is to do my part to support all these new (and old) efforts, because I know the greater good is the end goal. That also means; giving rides to people who are interested in flying; getting involved in local and national organizations that support us; writing my politician when our freedoms are under attack; volunteering at events; flying for charity, if possible; speaking at functions about aviation; (add your ideas here). See related article here.

We all have a choice to make, fly and be free or accept a fate of mediocrity. WE are the future of aviation in the United States and with that comes an awesome responsibility. What are your intentions?

Kentucky Department Of Aviation Hosts "Aviation Day" 2012


 

- The mission of the Kentucky Department of Aviation is to provide a safe and secure air transportation system that ensures the mobility of people and goods, enhances economic prosperity, and preserves the quality of our environment and communities.

         “Aviation Day” was an absolute sell out this year! On September 22, 2012 the Kentucky Department of Aviation and the Kentucky National Guard hosted a warm and welcome, family oriented “Aviation day” out of Capital City Airport in Frankfort, Kentucky. The idea for this event was originally inspired by the Boone National Guard and the transportation cabinet of Kentucky, specifically the Department of Aviation. These groups came together in hopes of finding an event that might inspire families as well as the youth and teach them about aviation. “We want to get folks interested and involved in aviation” says the assistant director of The Kentucky Department of Aviation; Mr. Scott Shannon.

          This event was entirely free for all to attend and offered free flights for the youngsters ages 8 – 17. $10.00 flights were also offered to any and all grown-ups attending with hopes of flying. All proceeds that were collected went to the Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education and these flights were made possible thanks to generous donations as well as a group known as the Young Eagles. There was much to see and do including the many various aircraft that were set up for display. Of these aircraft, the airport provided civilian, private as well as military airplanes and helicopters for viewing and touring. It felt like walking into a wealth of knowledge as blatant as a brick wall; this event had it all! The Civil Air patrol was also on site recruiting volunteers, as well as the National Guard. Even the humane society decided to join in for the fun and contributed with adopt-a-dog programs.

         The very first “Aviation Day” was held in the fall of 2002 and became an annual event until 2008. Now, thanks to all of the aviation fans in our community Aviation Day is back with a bang! Flights were made, and people were absolutely engulfed into the aviation world. The Civil Air Patrol even recruited my father. Capital City Airport will continue with its high hopes for success as they continue to pose fantastic opportunities for students to delve into the wild world of aviation head first. According to Mr. Scott Shannon, children just aren’t given the same opportunities that they once were in the aviation career field. “We want to change that, we want our students to experience flight in real life and we want to encourage them to experience this in a general aviation aircraft while continuing to educate them.” What better way to do that then host an annual aviation day where the doors are always open and the entry is always free?

If this event sounds like something that interests you, get involved! Aviation Day needs people that are hungry for knowledge and inspired by the aviation world!

For more information regarding next year’s event contact Mr. Scott Shannon:

Scott Shannon
Assistant Director,
Capital City Airport Division
90 Airport Road
Frankfort, KY 40601

Telephone: 502.564.0520
FAX: 502.564.0172
Website: cca.ky.gov

None of Us Want to Be Dinosaurs

Let's not lose sight of where this wonderful industry is heading.

I am sorry to have to tell you this, but most of you reading this article are no longer the future of aviation. You may be fully entwined and engrossed as a current player within the aviation industry today, but all too soon some day off in the future, you will have to slow it down and enact your exit strategy with the hope that you will have suitably prepared yourself for a long, comfortable and happy retirement before you make your last flight.

No; the future of aviation lay's in the hands of today's youth, and unless you work at an aviation school, you have probably noticed that there are not too many young people hanging out at your airport, like they did when you were first bitten by the love of aviation bug. This is a gathering storm that will eventually turn into a cataclysm that will consume the industry that we all love, if none of us make the time to give a leg-up to youngsters that are our future.

Part of the problem is the fact that airports have now become impenetrable fortresses where it is impossible for any young person to have any kind of personal - hands on experience (touch/feel) with an aircraft up-close. Razor-wire topped fences, cameras, no-parking signs and airport security personnel has effectively killed any hope of parents packing a picnic lunch and loading it and their children up in the family car to go an watch aeroplanes at the local airport.

Years ago it was commonplace for pilots and their aviation friends to invite an excited boy or girl who had been eagerly watching aircraft movements' car-side, to hop over the fence and "come take a look at my aeroplane." Sometimes after obtaining mum or dad's approval, they might have even strapped the youngster in and taken them for a quick hop around the pattern. Regardless of what act of random kindness someone on the air-side of the fence decided to bestow upon an awestruck youngster, it was the spark that ignited a raging fire that burned in the belly of that youngster that caused he or she to pursue a career within the aviation industry.

If we didn't have the EAA's Young Eagle Program, the Scouts Aviation Badge System, and the Air Cadet Organization thankfully out there plugging away on our behalf trying to give young people their first taste of aviation, our industry would have already been long-ago relegated to near extinction. Obviously there will always be a need for air transportation; however the new-world order of anti-terrorism-security programs and other societal-saving mandates has slowed the air transportation system down to a crawl, and subsequently what little glamour or mysticism that our industry was barely clutching onto in its wizened hands, has now been lost. Why would a youngster aspire to join an industry that is inaccessible, officious and inconvenient?

There was a time when Glenn Curtiss was building airports all-across the United States to allow the dots of commerce to be rapidly connected. There was a time when aerospace was synonymous with everything that was new, slick and advanced in the world. Men and women like Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart, through their record-breaking aviation exploits and feats of daring provided immense inspiration as positive role models to young people in the twentieth century. Where are the aviation role models in this second century of aviation?

Hopefully this is where you come in. Yes you; I'm not talking to anyone else so please don't ignore my message to you in this vital matter. Now is the time for you to start sharing your love of aviation with the younger generation. How can you do this? To start with, why don't you talk to your neighbours where you live and ask if any of the children in the neighbourhood would like to come to the airport with you to look around and get up-close to some aircraft? I promise you that the first time that you make a move in this effort; your heart shall be gripped with an overwhelming sense of good. If your own passion for aviation might have been flagging of late, the joy of aviation that the young people find thanks to this, your first effort shall, I am certain, encourage you to do more of this aviation experience sharing. If you fly, take the youngsters up. Maybe later you will become so enamoured by the way that this benevolent new side of you makes you feel, you might start speaking at local schools in your area?

It takes a massive amount of people to make our national aviation system work. The pilots often take most, if not all of the spotlight and glory; but think of the number of aviation maintenance technicians, line service personnel, engineers, designers, detailers, sales people, air traffic controllers, handlers, administrators, painters, upholsterers, inspectors, regulators, and entrepreneurs that are right behind the pilot, thus making his role possible within this marvellous system. If we can't inspire the next and future generations of people to elect to fill these roles, where will we all end-up? I don't plan on ever walking in the long-cold and dead footprints made by dinosaurs, and I pretty sure you don't either too.

Please become an inspiration to others by sharing your love of aviation, because you are mainly all that this industry has, and unless you have found a way to live forever, you will soon be retiring.

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