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Better Use of Your Time

by GlobalAir.com 1. April 2007 00:00
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$100 Hamburger - "Phooey." Why not do some good with your skills, certificates and/or aircraft (owned or rented)?

I have no idea what your skill level or highest aircrew certificate that you have attained, but my guess is that if you are reading this article, you are most likely either a licensed pilot or mechanic, or even both; or at least you would like to one day attain anyone of the aforementioned certificates. Let's say for arguments sake you are at least a private pilot who occasionally punches holes in the sky with a rented Cessna/Piper/Beechcraft/Cirrus/Grumman/etc. whatever and after taking as many of your family and friend out for a tool around, lunch, dinner or whatever, you have plateau and are now asking yourself what next? You love to fly, but you are tiring of the flying around your local patch with no purpose other than burning time and hard earned cash. Sure, you have probably been to as many pancake breakfasts, fly-ins, poker runs, spot landing contests, flour-bombing competitions, air-races, etc. You may have even tried your hand at aerobatics, but quite frankly you are becoming bored, right? Well listen up my dear aviator friend. Wouldn't you enjoy your aviation activities a whole lot more if you applied your money and skills towards helping other people instead of aimlessly wandering through the skies? Of course you would, however I think that I just heard you say "How?" right out loud. Ok, please consider the following:

There are countless opportunities for you to put your piloting and maintenance skills to use in the betterment of humanity; I will try to name a few that I know about, none of which as far as I know, require a commercial certificate.

The Civil Air Patrol
Patient and/or Relative Transportation
Medical Transportation
Disaster Aid
Bird Migration Support
Environmental Impact Surveying
Aviation Career Mentoring
Charity Awareness and Promotion
Leadership Education

The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is the civilian auxiliary arm of the U.S. Airforce. CAP regularly fly missions for the Department of Homeland Security, search and rescue for any concerned agency, disaster relief and counter drug reconnaissance. For further information I suggest that you click on the following link: http://gocivilairpatrol.com/

Patient and/or Relative Transportation. Often people who are financially challenged, from rural areas or both, can get treatment the treatment that they need, only if they can travel to a facility outside of their immediate locale. Sometimes they are not fit enough or they are cannot afford to travel by airline and this is where you come in. Talk to the local doctors, hospitals and clinics to learn of people that could greatly benefit from your ability to airlift them to and from their treatments. You can also register with the Corporate Angel Network http://www.corpangelnetwork.org/  and the Air Care Alliance http://www.aircareall.org/ as an airlift provider.

Medical Transportation. Staying with the contacts that you have possibly made at your local doctors, hospital and clinic offices, you may have also learnt about a need for doctors, medical supplies and their equipment that might be flown into underdeveloped and rural communities that currently don't have access to modern healthcare. This may be outside the borders of the United States, or they may well be in the sparser populated areas of this great country. For guidance you can contact Wings of Hope http://www.wings-of-hope.org/ (I will focus on this organization later in this article.)

Disaster Aid. Most of us are still scarred by the debilitating and in some cases fatal effect of Hurricane Katrina all along the Northern Gulf Coast States. It was heartening to see the number of companies and individuals that stepped forward with the use of their aircraft and skills to transport aid workers, victims, supplies and equipment into and out of the disaster zones. There is always a dire need for airlift capability even on a local scale when disaster strikes the unfortunate. It may be on such as small scale whereby a single family are in need. Either way, by making yourself known to as many aid organizations, charities and agencies that you can, will find you being regularly called upon to help when airlift is needed. You might start by making enquiries through the International Committee of the Red Cross http://www.icrc.org/, and the American Red Cross http://www.redcross.org.

Bird Migration Support. Just recently in the March edition of the EAA Sport Pilot magazine http://eaa.org/ that a group of aviator-scientists are helping to restore the migration routes of endangered birds using ultralight aircraft. This team is in need of volunteer pilots and aircraft owners to provide 'top cover' to relay messages and coordinates. The proposed 'top cover' team will chaperone the migration teams that need to divert to land, to safe landing sites and also marks GPS waypoints for lost birds. You can get more information about this operation by clicking on http://operationmigration.org/ You may also contact the National Audubon Society http://www.audubon.org/,  the World Wild Life Foundation http://www.wwf.org/ and others for much more of these kinds of goodwill missions.

Environmental Impact Surveying. We only have this one planet to live on, and there are many forces of both the man-made and natural variety that are encroaching on the health and well being of our spaceship earth. Many of the groups and organizations that are monitoring these deleterious forces do not have either the means or way-with-all to conduct an aerial survey of the area that they are studying. You would most likely be immediately employed in their project if you offered airlift capability. I suggest that you contact the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency http://epa.gov/,  The Sierra Club http://www.sierraclub.org/ and Greenpeace http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/.

Aviation Career Mentoring. Years ago when I was teaching crop dusting in Oklahoma, the owner of the school had taken a shine to a local lad who had shown an interest in aviation and had been hanging around the airfield. Over the course of five years, the owner, through his mentoring of this lad, saw his protégée work his way from ab-initio through a commercial rating and finally as a graduate with honours from the US Airforce Academy. I have lost touch with both this lad and the school owner, but I am certain that the rewards enjoyed by the owner where just as intense as those experienced by the lad. You probably know several lads or lassies yourself that would love for you to become their mentor. The greatest give is always that of giving.

Charity Awareness and Promotion. This category can mean many things to different people, but the instances that stick in my mind are those where someone has made a special and in some cases an epic flight that was a sponsored, fundraising affair all in the name of their chosen charity. Maybe this is your opportunity to make an Around the World Flight in a Cessna 172 in the name of cancer research?

Leadership Education. Not being a parent myself, I will never have the opportunity to go to my son or daughters school and talk about general aviation and its vital role in our economy along with the many benefits that are open to those that choose this as a career choice. Think what you can do if you take the children at your local school for a flight. If you are not in a position to fly them yourself, maybe you can organize the construction of a homebuilt aircraft by the students at the school. Either way your display of knowledge, commitment and positive skills will be extremely inspirational to any child lucky enough to come into contact with you. Children need to be inspired by the right kind of leaders, and you happen to be one of them (a leader that it.)

Advocacy. The last category that I can think of. Why don't you take a similar version of your leadership program that you have developed for your local school and then make a presentation at your local Chamber of Commerce, or City Hall. In a lot of cases, the business and community leaders in your local area have no idea of the benefits and contributions that a strong General Aviation network can bring to their corner of the world. It would be nice to see more communities opening airports instead of closing them. I suggest that you start with the AOPA first http://www.aopa.org/,  as they have a well organized community program already established, that can help you greatly in your new role as an Advocate for General Aviation.

Earlier in this article I promised to focus on the aims and activities of a local organization in the St. Louis area that is dear to my heart, which is Wings of Hope (WOH.) We are very fortunate that St. Louis is the hometown of this organization. It is a non-profit, non-sectarian, non-political organization that assists other charitable groups in combating malnutrition, disease and harsh living conditions in remote areas of the world. Their motto is 'Serving Humanity through Aviation.' This motto is entirely accurate as they have somewhere close to 300 skilled executives, pilots, mechanics and administrative personnel who collectively provide well over 100,000 man-hours of volunteer work every year. Their main focus is on the refurbishment, repair and rebuilding of the rugged Cessna high-wing models like the CE206. Airframes are usually forthcoming through donation and then after WOH has been to work on it and have finished it, a virtually new aircraft (the same one) is then sent out into some far-flung corner of the world where it can do the most good in providing airlift capability. Their operations extend to many of the continents of the World including the Americas, Asia and Africa. If you have any time, money, equipment, aircraft, cars, boats, land, or whatever spare, that you would like to donate, please feel free to give them a call. They are a terrific organization and also a wonderful way for you to spend your time engaged in the good of humanity.

I will be back with the Quarterly Market Report. Meanwhile if you care to share the names, websites, etc. of other organizations that could benefit from the time and assistance of our fellow aviator friends out there, do drop us a line or better yet respond to this article. Until next month dear readers, have a great April.

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Jeremy Cox


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