Recently, the USA Today wrote a true hatchet-piece on general aviation. My questions include, what was the motivation for this piece? Why is the USA Today out to get general aviation? Who paid for the research and content creation?
In any event, regardless of what the USA Today would have you believe, flying continues to be a very safe activity. Of course our own individual flying can be much more safe than the average general aviation flight if we maintain a high level of proficiency. This requires us to fly regularly and challenge ourselves (see my last post, Fireworks – no, Challenge – YES!).
With my last episode of Aviation Adventures in partnership with Mansfield Cable Access, I explored two topics that are important to me. First, what makes flying so safe and second, what airports do for their surrounding communities.
Think about the last time you got in your car and drove to the store, work, etc… Most people (including myself) walk up to their car, open the door and drive on their way. Occasionally if I am going a long distance I’ll check the tires to make sure they are close to full and glance at my gas gauge before I hit the highway.
Now compare that to your last flight and the preflight inspection that you performed on the airplane. A good pilot will thoroughly check their aircraft, all the moving pieces, fuel and oil levels, etc… Following the manufacturer’s recommended checklist or a reordered procedure that covers all of the important items. Prior to any flight, a pilot checks a great deal more about their airplane than any driver does on their car.
The only similarity between the person driving their car and another person flying an airplane is that in the event of a major problem they end up in the same place. If an individual driving their car runs into engine trouble they end up on the side of the road. If an airplane has an engine emergency, the pilot and airplane end up on the same side of the road, but getting there is a little more interesting.
Luckily, it isn’t too often we see airplane on the side of the road and that is because of all the training and safety precautions that (god) pilots take before they launch for the wild blue yonder!
Then there is what airports do for their community… Aside from being a hugely valuable, yet often under-utilized, piece of national infrastructure airports play many roles for their town/city. First and foremost, airports are massive economic engines. Right now MassDOT Aeronautics is completing a comprehensive Economic Impact Report to illustrate exactly how valuable airports are for the state of Massachusetts. Many other state airport systems have published similar works, I encourage you to look for your own state’s report. Here is a link to the most recently published MassDOT Economic Impact Report…
Many people equate aviation to pollution; again this is one of those items where a little bit of research will show the flaw in this argument. Airports, due to very high regulation standards, are outstanding stewards of the environment. The requirement to dedicate areas as habitats and wetlands ensures that even with the entire pavement there are plenty of grassy areas, animal habitats and wetlands.
I encourage you to check out the series finale episode of Aviation Adventures with Matt Elia. I had a blast producing and recording each of the episodes and am very thankful for everyone that took some time to watch the show!
-Fly Safe, @MTElia1B9