The Biggest Happening in Aviation Today...

...may not be the new Sport Pilot Rule or Light-Sport Aircraft, but the manner in which we view the FAA and our personal role in present aviation. Knowledgeable enthusiasts will agree that light-weight aircraft have no business playing in the sandbox with multi-engine heavyweights. Those big bullies push around too much air, travel too fast, and sneak up too quickly on the unsuspecting. We're going to get sand kicked in our faces just attempting to play with the big boys. Still, we must consider that for the very first time we had input into the rule-making decisions that govern our pleasure of flying, and basically it's still nothing but common sense. While General and Commercial Aviation is governed by very strict rules and complex training, we are still relatively free to roam the skies at will. Just don't harass the multi-weights, and don't thumb a nose at the rule makers, because now, that's us.

Early this March the Carl A. Gross Airport Association invited the Bay Area Rotorcraft and Ultralight Club to attend a safety seminar put on by Tom Krashen and Bob Riffel from Michigan Aeronautics{1-517-335-9977} (KrashenT@Michigan.gov) Tom talked about the reasoning behind the new Sport Pilot rule, including the present flight training exemptions, fat Ultralights, aircraft and pilot certifications, operating rules, craft and engine maintenance, and the upcoming instruction to accompany the 16-hour and 120-hour classes for the repairman and maintenance ratings.

Bob Riffel, a former B-52 bomber pilot, whose job now is inspecting airports, gave an excellent talk on aircraft safety; controlling fear, should something happen in flight; keeping ahead of the aircraft; planning ahead; the impossible turn; maintaining aircraft control, and always flying the plane. Bob's true action stories were sometimes comical, but always informative and to the point. In an emergency, he said, "Do not expect immediate results from your actions, don't think about saving the aircraft, and never give up. Stop, think, and collect your wits."

Over fifty pilots and builders listened and asked questions during the two hour seminar, and if you didn't attend, you missed an education. I would be more than happy to take in another by these two gentlemen. Thank you to the Airport Association for asking us to attend, and thank you Tom and Bob for a well presented and informational seminar.