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                                        "Keeping the Fun in Flying!"

                                                              Piper Tri-Pacer, source: creative commons

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 ******************************************************** BLOG #67: November 24, 2014     





     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.

     As Thanksgiving 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!"


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WingsOfun Podcast #004: Interivew with Steve Merritt, Triangle North Executive Airport (KLHZ) manager and flight instructor. 

                     Steve Merritt

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.

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wof podcast 004 steve merritt c.mp3
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     The 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 through aviation. 

     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 in aviation!

Happy Thanksgiving!

About the author:

TC Freeman has 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,


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… for pilots flying just for the fun of it.

In this audio book TC Freeman discusses; straight in approaches, dealing
with aircraft on extended downwind and traffic pattern entries. 

(Run time: 34 minutes)

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Becoming a Private Pilot: Why I Fly


Here is another video with a similar title as last week with the theme of “Why I Fly.”

 This video has a little more music and the message behind it is just as powerful.


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