The holiday season is fast approaching, and we at HQ would like to celebrate Thanksgiving with a special issue of the Club Connector. This month, we focus on clubs that go out of their way to give back to the pilot community. Specifically, we will be looking at mentorship, and ways that clubs can pass along experiences and lessons learned to other clubs.
For the November Club Spotlight, we interviewed the Tri State Flying Club—a club that exemplifies the concept of paying it forward. Based at Tri-State Steuben County Airport (KANQ) in Angola, Indiana, the club looked to the Naperville Flying Club’s resources during its formulative stages, using them as guidance as its members worked to craft bylaws and operating rules. The economic downturn of the late 2000s had hit the Naperville club hard, but they had weathered the storm—first struggling to retain members and then recovering as the economy improved. The Tri-State Flying Club took the Naperville Flying Club’s lessons to heart, and worked to create policies that would enable the club to survive a similar downturn.
Since its formation, the Tri-State Flying Club has sought to improve the local general aviation climate. Club members have mentored other flying clubs in the area, sharing factors that have contributed to Tri-State's success. In this way, the club has come full circle—its members are giving back to aviation by helping clubs in the same manner that they themselves were helped by the Naperville group.
The Tri-State Flying Club attributes much of its success to the camaraderie shared by its members. To strengthen the social aspect of the club, members make it a point to celebrate other members' accomplishments—and to invite their families. You can read about these celebrations—which are a great idea for any club—in this month's Event Spotlight.
One area in which many clubs seek to improve is that of safety. Frequently, clubs make it a goal to cultivate a strong "safety culture." But what does this term mean? In November's Safety article, we take a closer look at just what safety culture within a club entails.
Are you a member of a club that is currently looking for ways to improve operations? Or, conversely, are you a member of a club that has seen success and wants to share ideas and lessons learned with others? Whether you fall into either of these categories (or any in-between), you can read our Question of the Month for ideas about how to contact other clubs in your area—either to request or to offer mentorship.
The concept of flying clubs helping flying clubs epitomizes everything that is great about the general aviation community, and we hope that this issue provides you with some ideas about how your club can share hard-won insights with others. From all of us here at HQ, have a very happy Thanksgiving!
AOPA Hosts Final Fly-In of 2018
AOPA Fly-In season has come to a close, with the final fly-in of 2018 being held in Gulf Shores, AL, on October 26 and 27. It was the forth AOPA Fly-In of the year, following similar events in Missoula, MT, Santa Fe, NM, and Carbondale, IL. The event had 5,710 attendees, including 315 pilots who flew their aircraft in. It was unquestionably a family affair, with many pilots bringing their children and grandchildren, hoping to give them a spark that could someday ignite a passion for aviation.
The Gulf Shores Fly-In, which was held at Jack Edwards National Airport (JKA), included all of the elements that have come to define AOPA Fly-Ins: amazing aircraft, stimulating seminars, interesting speakers, and more. AOPA Ambassador Jamie Beckett gave a "Maximum Fun, Minimum Cost" seminar at the event, in which he conveyed to attendees how flying clubs can be a perfect solution for pilots looking for access to an affordable aircraft, and a fun social environment in which to fly.
Stay tuned for future AOPA Fly-In dates in 2019!
A Symposium for the Future
You Can Fly's High School Initiative hosted its annual AOPA High School Aviation STEM Symposium on November 5-6 in Louisville, KY, drawing a record number of attendees. The annual symposium draws dedicated educators from across the nation, and allows them to share insights, ideas, and best practices for starting and building aviation STEM programs. Now in its fourth year, the AOPA High School Aviation STEM Symposium is the only high school event in the nation that specifically targets aviation and aerospace content.
The world will continue to need pilots, aerospace engineers, scientists, technologists, and technicians as we progress into the 21st century, and AOPA's STEM curriculum aims to generate interest in aviation careers among high school students, and to provide them with skill sets that will ensure their success in their chosen field.
In addition to expert speakers, breakout sessions, and exhibits, the 2018 symposium also featured tours that allowed attendees to learn about UPS's Worldport hub, its largest air facility. Keith West, AOPA's Sr. Director, Flight Training Business Support, spoke about the importance of these tours. "UPS, a main sponsor, opened their facilities to us and made very clear while we toured how much they need to bring young people into the industry. That importance," West continued, "was underlined again in the keynote by Gwynne Shotwell, President of SpaceX and Matt Desch, CEO of Iridium. To attract the attention of one of the most innovative companies in the world is an achievement in and of itself."