This last week, I trekked to FAA headquarters in Washington DC, an action that consumed three days of my time. This was a third visit in six months to meet with top ranked FAA officials, as two organizations combine forces to attempt bringing useful change to light aviation. I won’t long dwell on the effort yet I admit it feels good to advance the ball down the field.
The U.S. Ultralight Association (USUA) represents pilots of light aircraft. The Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association (LAMA) represents the light aircraft producer and business community. USUA, headed by Roy Beisswenger, and LAMA, chaired by your faithful reporter have made a dynamic duo since early 2014 when we embarked on a mission of advocacy.
EAA and AOPA plus GAMA do some similar work and they do it well. However, they have a focus other than for recreational sport pilots and the not-certified light aircraft they fly. While LAMA and USUA gladly work with the other organizations whenever possible, it was obvious that those fine groups could not represent light aviation in the same dedicated way. USUA and LAMA are laser focused on the task.
Following advice from experts, our long list of initiatives was reduced to four: • Electric Propulsion (first for ultralights and later for LSA); • Special LSA status for ready-to-fly gyroplanes (selling briskly around the world but restricted in the USA); • FAA approval to allow training in former ultralight trainers and other aircraft (a longer story for another time); and finally, • Aerial Work, an important push to allow LSA to function as work aircraft beyond current roles of flight instruction, glider towing, and rentals.
LAMA and USUA believe positive steps will make the industry more secure and stable, will give pilots more chances to make a living in light aircraft, and will more generally keep affordable aviation healthy and able to continue providing interesting aircraft that can be bought by regular folks. We think the effort is worthwhile and hope pilots and manufacturers will continue to lend support. This is a labor of love, I must add; no salaries are earned for this work.
On a more fun note… around these words you see a series of images that have almost nothing to do with FAA (except all of them have to be registered, etc., ad naseum). These airplane photos are from my home base of Spruce Creek Fly In, otherwise known as Florida airport 7FL6. I live in this community comprised of 1,600 homes, more than 600 of which have attached hangars. To get from the runway to your home means a tour by taxiway.
Indeed, “the Creek” as many residents abbreviate it — nearby townsfolks always seem to use “the Fly In” — is blessed with taxiways and roads totaling some 33 miles, so I’ve been told. My wife, Randee, and I enjoy riding our bicycles all around the community. With that many miles and considering residents are respectful and careful, bike riding the Creek is a joy.
This is doubly so considering I regularly get close-up looks at airplanes like the ones sprinkled here but with many, many more types not pictured. The number changes as pilots buy and sell, but I’d guess we have nearly 700 airplanes based at this one airport. I’ve also been told 7FL6 is the world’s largest private airport.
Naturally, Randee and I ride Rans bikes. The only airplane and bicycle producer, Randy Schlitter, sold his bicycle manufacturing company a couple years ago, but before he left the business to focus on aircraft, we acquired two of his bikes and we love them. My is a recumbent; Randee’s is what’s known as a crank-forward design. Both are so easy to ride, Randee has questioned how much exercise she gets riding for an hour.
In this post Black Friday weekend post and what with Christmas rushing at us like a fighter jet on afterburner, I want to draw your attention to the new 2017 Beringer Aero calendar. The preeminent wheel and brake company offers a collection of gorgeous photos that can make your office, home, or hangar that much better decorated.
Sure, I know we all have our iPhones, Androids, and tablets, but nothing really beats a large-format, high quality printed calendar. Get yours while they last and in time for the holidays. You pilots can share this post with your spouse and make a not-so-subtle hint that this would make a fine gift for their favorite aviator.
Beringer’s calendar features airplanes equipped with the company’s distinctive orange-ish wheels, brakes and landing gear. In glorious color, each page measures about 12 x 17 inches and a spiral spine allows the calendar to hang flat. The French company’s calendar is available for $25 (including any applicable tax; plus shipping) from this email address.
In the video below you can learn more about the newest products from Beringer and hear a few words about their entire product line. You’ll enjoy hearing Claire Beringer give you a tour.