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"Keeping the Fun in Flying!"
"Whether you are inspired to learn how to fly or a seasoned pilot looking for the best way to stay
in the game we are here to help. We give sport aviation pilots FREE weekly articles,
podcast and videos on topics to keep you learning, growing and
staying engaged in the aviation community."  ~ TC FREEMAN BLOG #74: January 26, 2015     



This week we finish up our three part series titled, “Creation of an Airport Visitation Program” and will discuss some of the logistical challenges along with solutions.  Considering the articles theme we have created a new Operation Fly NC video in place of the podcast, let us know what you think. I want to wish you safe travels!



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     Part one of this series on creating an airport visitation program dealt with the mission from a “why” perspective. Part two was a deep dive into more of the logistical considerations when considering airports, museums and safety seminar parameters. In part three, we will let the “rubber will hit the runway,” discussing some of the challenges to the program and how to best handle and prepare for them.

     Operationally, one of the most challenging issues deals with the stamps pilots use in their “passports” to get credit for visiting the various airports, museums and seminars. Occasionally, the stamps are missing, moved or misplaced, or they are the victims of general wear and tear. The great news is that the pilots are key to informing you when stamps are missing or inaccessible at an in intended location. However, the variable in this situation is the persistence of the pilot and Fixed Based Operator (FBO) staff. Larger airports typically have a large customer service staff with high turnover which means that many of the employees simply are not aware of the program. I’ve personally experienced the passport stamps being difficult to locate at a few locations. The best suggestion we offer to pilots via the web site’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) is to think of the program as a “treasure hunt” for the stamp. Asking customer service to please look for a large clear pencil box typically has a positive result. Smaller airports can have limited hours resulting in pilots not being able to access the stamp. We have eliminated this problem by installing special mailboxes that contain the stamps for after-hours access. Airports or other locations where we know the stamp may be a challenge to find are noted on our website with specific directions on where to locate it. 

     Another stamp issue pertains to general wear-and-tear. Ink stamps won’t last forever. They get dropped, abused, the ink runs out, etc. I initially bought self-inking stamps thinking this was the way to have a stamp and pad included in one easy unit, but the internal pad eventually runs out of ink. If I had it to do over again I would buy a one-piece stamp with a supplemental ink pad. I know stamps can last for up to a couple of decades and ink pads can be replaced periodically. Remember, no obstacles are insurmountable and can be overcome with some creativity.

     We have been fortunate to have sponsorships by what I call “trailblazers,” forward thinking people and organizations that get our vision and mission. Having said that it is good to remember that space in the booklet and web site can be used to advertise the contribution of sponsors at various levels such as bronze, silver and gold.

     On a personal level, I have received great satisfaction in creating a program that benefits my fellow pilots. I humbly feel that an airport visitation program leaves a legacy that can go on for several decades to come. We are happy to offer any advice and “turn-key” solutions to set up a program for your state.

See all three parts of "Creation of an Airport Visitation Program" via our Archives (link).

About the author:

TC Freemanhas been flying since he was a teenager and is now an aviation speaker and author. Being employed as an Aviation Safety Specialist for state government, he has a passion for spreading the thrill of flying just for the fun of it via the website,


“We are excited to donate this segment of the WingsOfun BLOG to this great
program that promotes; airport visitation, education and tourism.”


* Congratulations to Dennis Bunn of Wilson, NC for completing the Operation Fly NC Bronze Level Award! Way to go Dennis!

*The Winners page has been updated! Please send us your picture (waist up) and we will include it on the page. Extra points if you are proudly displaying your prize.  

* Check out the NEW Operation: Fly NC logo! Thanks to our editor and multi-talented graphics guru Mark Grady for this awesome graphic.

* We want to give special (and over-due) recognition to Jay Darmstadter for completing the North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and South Carolina airport visitation programs!

Check out the custom work he had done on his OP: Fly NC jacket!

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