Getting inspired

One of the great things I enjoy about AOPA Summit is the level of enthusiasm of all involved. Whether it’s the energy that Dave Allen brings to his interviews for Other Peoples Airplanes or just meeting “Joe Pilot” the excitement is noticeable.

I attended many great seminars covering topics from tips on Glass Cockpits from Max Trescott or gotcha’s that we may encounter while using the iPad we all love on an IFR flight. From time to time we need to take in these kind of events to reinvigorate ourselves about the thing we like to do most, FLY!

One of the most invigorating seminars was listening to Brian Shul talk about his challenges to overcome a fiery crash and burns to recovering and passing a physical to return to active duty. Later he was selected to fly the SR-71 and the pictures he took during that time are amazing. His story as told by him will inspire and show that anything can be achieved.

The other cool opportunity was to fly a Redbird simulator and experience two scenarios. One was a partial power loss on takeoff and attempting to return to the runway while managing altitude loss and keeping track of our position. That one wasn’t as hard as what came next.

Next was an IFR approach to minimums with the published missed approach. The Redbird was configured with the G1000 display. These flight training devices are touchier on the controls and it’s hard to just jump in and fly smoothly in IMC. I had a difficult time too and as a typical steam gauge pilot with limited experience with the G1000 I found myself chasing headings and altitudes.

But I started to settle down but I was starting to sweat. It didn’t matter that we were on the ground, I found myself trying to fly well for the strict instructor supervising the experience. She was knowledgeable and demanding like you expect a good instructor to be and also encouraging. She set a great example for me.

Shortly after my session Neil (Pilot_NGB on twitter) had a slot and I stopped by at the end and dropped in on the conversation his CFI was having during the debrief. I learned more then too, and the discussion continued for another 45 minutes as we chatted about flying and our experiences. These kinds of face to face chance meetings are invaluable to us. I meet a wonderful CFI and have contact info to keep in touch. I learned so much talking to him and will strive to pass it on to my students.

The hot topic seemed to be centered around iPad products and flight planning tools and apps to use in the cockpit. Everyone seems to be entering the market and trying to carve out a piece.

Also one everyones minds is ADS-B and the boxes that will deliver the weather and maybe traffic to the various iPad apps and displays boxes. This is still shaking out as some devices haven’t shipped yet so we can’t say how well they say they will do what they say.

It’s an exciting time despite the times and all seem to be inspired to try and grow the population and get the word out to young ones. Doing what he can is Dave Coulier, best known for “Joey” on Full House.

He has been an active pilot since a teenager and is talking about aviation any chance he gets when promoting his shows. His son has graduated Embry Riddle and is among a new generation of pilots.

I say we each take a new person up on a flight to show them what flying is like. Maybe one a month or 1 a year, doesn’t matter as long as we introduce new people to aviation. Someone is bound to get the bug like we have it.

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