An aviation researcher, writer, aviation participant, pilot & agricultural researcher. Author of over 35 scientific publications world wide.


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Aviation view from Canada – A thought for the ASRR

Here is a most interesting introspective into aviation.



Posted by on in General



My Take on Aviation



“Not for everyone”



Fear based on ignorance permeates the mindset of the general public when it comes to aviation, and general aviation (GA) in particular.  To make things worse, it’s viewed as elitist!  Off with their heads, I say!  Unfortunately, the elitist view is correct.  Only a very small percentage of the public has the desire, mental ability, physical qualities, perseverance, and money, to meet the rigorous demands of achieving a pilot’s license. If we look at forms of recreation, flying and scuba diving are the only two pastimes that require more than just money.  It’s no coincidence that they’re the only two that are completely unforgiving of mistakes (stupid or otherwise).


We wonder why we’re always under attack, on security, environmental, and financial fronts. None of these attacks are based on fact, but are instead based on public misconception.  The mainstream media fuels this misconception, because sensationalism sells advertising.  The ultralight and light sport segments in Canada and the U.S. respectively, will introduce a few more people to our pastime.  However, this won’t reduce the pressure on GA. Our only chance is to educate, not only the public, but the lawmakers.  The airlines should be our ally, as the next generation of jet pilots has to come from somewhere.  The European model of strangling GA, and training pilots from zero hours to right seat for the airlines, has left hundreds of plane without pilots, and has reduced the ranks of EU private pilots to the very wealthy.  This has cost the EU billions in lost productiveness.


Of the qualities I listed as needed to become a pilot, only two can be be affected. The flame of desire can be fanned, and the financial burden can be reduced.  Mental and physical ability are inherent, and perseverance can only be inculcated as a trait by early teaching.


The desire to become a pilot was in the heart of every child from 1903 until the 1970’s. It represented adventure, respect, a little danger, and travel.  De-regulation of the airlines gave the public cheap holiday travel, and led to the idea of the pilot as bus driver.  Today’s children don’t want to become pilots, they want to become CEOs, or stock brokers. At least they’ll have enough money to fly.


If slick mainstream ads can sell cheap junk to the tune of billions of dollars annually to the public, why are we still advertising only in media directed at us?  We are already pilots.  Quit preaching to the choir.  We need an ad blitz in the mainstream media that works.


Once we’ve increased the desire, we need to welcome these new acolytes with flight training that meets their needs.  Why are 40 year old $10,000 trainers with tattered interiors, ugly paint, and antique avionics renting for $100 an hour, when $50,000 new cars can be rented for $50 a day?  The whole training paradigm needs an overhaul.  At most flight schools, the neophyte is treated as a cash cow, rather than the flight school’s “raison d’etre”.  Flight schools must stop milking each student for hours.  There’s no reason a license can’t be achieved in 45 hours.


Some will say, “there’s so much more to learn today, with glass cockpits, and convoluted airspace”.  Horsepuckey!  Glass is supposed to make it easier.  If it hasn’t, we’ve all been led down the garden path by the avionics manufacturers.  Speaking of…planned obsolescence seems to be prevalent in all aspects of our lives, and never more so than in outrageously overpriced avionics we’re forced to buy.  There’s another barrier to building a thriving aviation community.


I’m very glad to be a pilot, and aircraft owner.  I couldn’t run my business without my plane, and my plane defines my lifestyle.  Nothing makes me happier than sharing my outlook with non-pilots, and nothing makes me angrier than the current state of affairs in GA.

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