Saturday, January 23, 2010

Reviving General Aviation - "Must See" Changes and Attitudes

With the advent of the Sport Pilot certificate and the variety of new light sport aircraft (LSA) on the market today, recreational flying is once again possible for the broader population. The Sport Pilot certificate and LSA product line can undeniably move us forward to making GA and recreational sport flying available to the “common” man, but the following changes and attitudes must first take place:

• We must not write-off the “common” man from being able to afford to fly – and refuse to accept the idea that GA flying is for the wealthy only.

• LSA manufacturers must continue to work harder to drive down unit cost of aircraft for ownership to be achievable.

• We must get more creative with shared ownership and financing models - so that the overall aircraft acquisition cost for the “common” man is driven down to relative terms.

• Sport Pilots must move to smaller, privately-owned airports/airparks to facilitate and advance recreational sport flying.

• We must encourage the development of non-residential recreational sport flying airports/airparks – and ultimately see the development and growth of a recreational sport flying infrastructure and network throughout the U.S.

• We must proactively reach out to age-ready high school students through aviation education and youth outreach programs, promoting the benefits of aviation and the classroom-to-real world connections (science, technology, mathematics, etc) to school districts.

• We must see the creation of Safe-Haven Networks to promote the purest and most simplest form of recreational flying, removing the stresses and complexities associated with heavy traffic and ATC communications.

These changes and attitudes must take place now in order to reach the broader population, revive general aviation, and make the dream of flying achievable again!