Last week’s AirVenture air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was a big treat. As I’ve come to expect after years of attending, the show was filled with new exciting aviation products and every imaginable airplane type. And there was plenty of opportunity to learn new things at the forums and seminars.
There’s that old story about a group of blindfolded guys standing around an elephant describing it aloud. The point to the story is that every one of them has a different description of the elephant based on where exactly they are in relation to said pachyderm. AirVenture is just like that.
Unlike Babbitt, who was a pilot, Huerta’s experience is largely political and administrative. He has a history of taking on big jobs, including at some of the busiest ports in the country and the Salt Lake Olympic games, and succeeding at them.
We’re on the ground at Oshkosh, and it’s a fascinating show so far, and I’m not being clever. There’s a ton of news, lots of customers in the exhibition halls, and the tie-down areas are filling up with row upon row of gorgeous GA airplanes.
We’re also witnessing a transformation within the aviation industry, one that the movers and shakers are for the most part not even aware of themselves. Even so, they are a part of a larger movement within aviation that is very encouraging.
Living in Southern California has many benefits. The weather is near perfect any day of the year with clear skies and temperatures in the 70s and 80s. It can be summed up in one of many aviation acronyms - CAVU. So on most days, I can jump in an airplane without having to worry about low visibility, strong crosswinds, thunderstorms or simply getting cooked to death by high temperatures.
Like many of you, I’m spending my week preparing for my annual trip to Oshkosh for what is now known as AirVenture. Even though it’s been many years since they started calling it “AirVenture,” in my heart of hearts I still think of it as “Oshkosh.” I have, I admit, gotten so used to writing AirVenture that I don’t even pause on my merry qwerty way, as I once did.
As many of you doubtless know, I’m a staunch supporter of codified safety standards. At the same time, I’m a skeptic of human nature, and take as an article of faith that all too often in order for people to do the right thing instead of the more expedient or financially attractive thing, they need to be required to do so. It’s the way the world works.
As the United States gets ready to celebrate the Fourth of July, our Independence Day, I can’t help but think about how the idea behind this celebration, freedom, informs every imaginable aspect of flying. Now, I’m not talking about the very real but often sentimentalized joy of flying, you know, the being free as a bird up above the clouds with sunbeams and rainbows. I’m talking about something stronger and more real.
Last week, the FAA issued a report on its plan to replace 100LL with an unleaded alternative. The goal of the new Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee is to develop a entirely new fuel to replace 100LL. After attending a presentation at Santa Monica’s Museum of Flying this weekend, I’m wondering why.