For millenia, men and women looked to the skies and longed to be there, to soar like the birds far above the surface of the earth, to see over mountains and to experience one of the ultimate freedoms, the ability to fly. Finally, just about one hundred years ago, we learned how to do it. The evolution of the aviation industry in this past century has been not only a phenomenon by itself but also a primary contributor to the evolution of the modern world.
Aviation today falls into three broad categories: military, scheduled airline and general. General aviation includes
all forms of non-scheduled commercial flight like business jets and air taxis and also private flying. Private flying includes both business and recreation, provided the pilot is not compensated for flying. All
aircraft share the same airspace under a set of rules that effectively
separates incompatible operations and allows vastly different
machines to fly their separate missions.
Aviation History: Flew occasionally as a child. Got interested as a young adult. Gave up as a family man and workaholic. Finally licensed in 1996 at age 48. Instrument rating 1999. The whole story: How I came to be a private pilot.
Total flight time: About 1950 hours
Aircraft: Cessna T-210N (single engine, six seats, six-cylinder, 310 HP, turbocharged, intercooled); Garmin 530W GPS; Avidyne TAS; KFC-200 Autopilot; HSI, GEM, Backup AI, XM WX, ...
AOPA Airport Support Network - Retired volunteer for TRK
Former director, Friends of Truckee Tahoe AirportManifesto
Aviation is under attack by NIMBYs ("Not in my back yard!") whose perverse pleasure is telling others what they may not do. All over America, enthusiastic communities used to build airports so that they could enjoy the economic, educational, recreational, transportation and public safety benefits of aviation. These communities thrived. As they grew, developers snarfed up land surrounding the airport for its apparent bargain price and built cheap, poorly insulated houses. Often, they neglected to inform their buyers of a highly technical aspect of their new neighborhood: Airplanes are audible. So the newly invested homeowners heard airplanes buzzing around the airport next door and took serious offense at the temerity of those #&!@* pilots who made noise near their shiny, new homes, destroying their God-given right to absolute silence. Yes, this even happens when the airport predates the homes by 50 years! The homeowners then proceed to attack the airport and attempt to shut it down or drastically curtail its operation. In some recent years we have seen as many as an airport a week fall to the NIMBY's ax. There are virtually no new airports being built in America today. It is up to those of us who would be free to defend our beleaguered airports, critical nodes in the National Airspace System, by electing public officials who understand what is going on and who will promote and defend aviation.