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It's been a good week
having the opportunity to do a bit of airport hopping to visit with new and
long-time aviation friends. Taking short break, I had the opportunity to sit
down with Steve Merritt, who is the airport manager of the Triangle North
Executive Airport (KLHZ) in Louisburg, N.C. Steve shares with us things that
make the airport unique as a satellite airport to Raleigh-Durham International
Airport (KRDU). He is also an active flight instructor and is heavily involved
with the Bahamas Habitat organization. Steve is one of my favorite aviation
thinkers with a unique perspective on major aviation issues. We’ll discuss some
of those on this week's podcast.
approaches I wanted to take time to share my thankfulness for aviation in the
WingsOfun article. Don't forget to take time this week to reflect on what makes
aviation special to you personally. Feel free to send me an email with your
thoughts. I’ll include them in next week’s blog.
I was disappointed in
the tone of release from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the
Pirker case.* Published with the title, “NTSB Rules Favorably on FAA UAS
(Unmanned Aerial System, a.k.a. Drone, UAV) Appeal.” Sadly, I think the term
“Rules Favorably” evokes an “us against them” mentality of the FAA.* While the industry surrounding UAS is reeling
from the effects of the NTSB decision I hope this doesn't set the tone for
common sense actions on not only UAS but the topics of the 3rd Class
Medical changes and ADS-B.
On a brighter note, we want to wish you safe travels and a peaceful Thanksgiving!
“Keeping the fun in flying!"
WingsOfun Podcast #004: Interivew
with Steve Merritt, Triangle North Executive Airport (KLHZ) manager and flight instructor.
Steve is one of my favorite aviation thinkers and has a unique perspective on the special qualities of the KLHZ airport, flight training and the Bahamas Habitat organization that he is heavily involved.
2) Listen via computer
BEING THANKFUL FOR AVIATION ON THIS WEEK OF THANKSGIVING
By TC FREEMAN
Thanksgiving holidays can mean a lot of different things to us. For some, the
holiday can quite frankly be a hassle of trying to get to our destination with
some level of sanity intact. For others it can mean a relaxing, well-deserved
time to recharge and to reconnect with family and friends. While I tend to hope
for the later scenario, it's important to reflect on the positive. Since
aviation is such a big part of my life, part of my holiday reflection is being
thankful for aviation.
Being able to fly to destinations verses the alternative of ground-based
transportation is such a wonderful luxury. Several years ago I had an hour and
a half commute by car to work every day. Since the day prior to the Thanksgiving
holiday was the busiest travel day of the year, I knew that my commute time
would automatically double. Enter the airplane. With generous access to a
Beechcraft Sundowner, I could justify in my family budget using the aircraft
for my commute. I can still remember today looking down from 3,000 feet at the
endless trail of brake lights on Interstate 40. While basking in the glow of a
beautiful sunset, I said out loud in my best pirate voice, “Arr, pity to all of
you land lovers down there!” I know, I have a strange sense of humor.
Growing up in an aviation family, time off from school and work meant
more time to fly. One of my favorite activities was to take friends up for
their first flight in a small aircraft. It was very rewarding to see the
initial nervousness turn into excitement, wonder and awe. These emotions were
not only driven by the flight itself but the realization that a person can go
to the airport and utilize a facility totally dedicated to personal flight. I
remember a good friend of mine trying to wrap his head around what we were able
to do by saying, “You mean we are going to fly all the way up to Martinsville,
Virginia by ourselves and have lunch?” I'm a little embarrassed to admit the
ego boost I get from seeing passengers light up with the wonder of piloting and
aviation. Sadly, I don't see this same wonder directed at the airline industry.
Flying has allowed me to share significant experiences with family and friends.
My work centers around aviation and, more importantly, the people of
aviation. Being around aviation has introduced me to some of the most unique
people in society. These folks come from a variety of backgrounds and
socioeconomic standings held together by the thread of aviation. I can't think
of any other activities that would allow a person to have a casual conversation
with Bob Hoover, Scott Crossfield and Patty Wagstaff. Historical and celebrity significance
aside, I have equal enjoyment befriending successful entrepreneurs to everyday
folks that are “eat up,” as they say in the South, with aviation. One couple I
know recently kicked their cars out of the garage so they could share in the
aircraft building experience. It's of my opinion that couples that build
airplanes together, stay together. I'm thankful for friends made possible
As we grow in aviation it is important to step back from time to time
and contemplate the question, “Why am I thankful for aviation?” I get personal
fulfillment telling others about the wonder of aviation through presentations
to youth and those early in their careers. At a recent aviation education event,
a young lady with the school newspaper asked, “Do you think everyone should be
in aviation?” Surprised by the deep question I took a moment to think and
responded by saying, “No. While aviation contains many careers within our
industry, it is important to pursue your passion. However, I would suggest that
most everyone earn a pilot’s license due to the skills and experiences that can
benefit many other areas of life. For those with a passion for aviation you
will find a multitude of opportunities that exist over a diverse range of skill
sets.” I am thankful for the opportunities I have personally and professionally
About the author:
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