As an airport management professional and flight instructor, most people would assume that I am passionate about aviation, and they would be correct. But, as passionate about aviation as I am, I’m equally passionate about sharing aviation with others, especially children!
I believe it is incumbent upon every pilot to share aviation with others, in what ever way they can. As an active flight instructor I would provide discovery flights and actively follow up with first time aviators. Now, as the manager of a seaplane base, my spreading the interest in aviation takes a different form. In Tavares the Community Services team offers summer camp programs for local children. When the camp organizer asked if I’d be interested in providing an aviation lesson for the camp, I was happy to agree!
On July 10th, the campers visited the seaplane base in three groups totaling almost 40 children. From under the wing of a Cessna 206 seaplane, I explained the parts of an airplane, the forces or flight and some simple seaplane concepts. The group of elementary and middle school aged children, was very attentive with many questions. Equally as encouraging the majority of the campers had been in an airplane, and about a quarter of them had been in a seaplane, one of the unique things about working in America’s Seaplane City!
I was extremely happy take time during my day to bring aviation to these summer camp participants. If even one of those children takes an interest in flying because of our lesson, or if the lesson helped to strengthen an already existing interest, then that’s a benefit to the aviation community.
We need pilots… As recently as this month the pilot shortage has come to the forefront of the national conversation as a result of the Congressional debate on ATC privatization and FAA reauthorization. The pilot shortage is even reaching the airport management conversation as managers of airports served by regional airlines are starting to see reduced flights as a result of airlines’ efforts to make the best use of their limited resources. As the airlines demand for pilots grows, there will be fewer flight instructors, which will make it more difficult for the pilot population to sustain itself, or grow eventually. We each need to do our part to help strengthen aviation and the aviation community. Next time you have an opportunity to #ShareTheLoveOfFlying as Aviation Digest puts it, please give it a shot, you’ll be doing a small part in a large effort that requires each of us to contribute!
-Fly Safe, @MTElia1B9