Serving Midwest Aviation Since 1960

MnPilots Hangar Flying

Maintain freedom of flight

As pilots who enjoy the priv- ilege of ight, I think we have to be very vigilant as we strive to at least maintain the freedoms our predecessors left for us.

This is particularly true as those of us who are in general aviation sometimes feel that us “little guys and gals” may play second ddle to corporate and commercial aircraft operators.

I am not just talking about how the airspace is being con- trolled, but also how our avi- ation resources are being as- signed.

Recently, Jim Peterson, trea- surer of the Minnesota Pilots Association, was kind enough to represent our organization at a planning meeting hosted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation Aeronautics.

The purpose of the meeting was to develop plans for the future of aviation in our State. One of the take home messages Jim derived from the meeting is that we, as general aviation avi- ators, need to do more to stand up and be counted.

We are at a distinct disad- vantage in that, most of us who operate out of the many airports across the State, do so without much notice. We often y in the evenings, for example, do a few touch and goes at the airport or airstrip, and take the aircraft back to the barn for the night.

Does anyone count our opera- tions? No.

This is not true for commer- cial and corporate operations. Each ight is accounted for; most operate out of controlled airports where each takeoff and landing is documented, and the statistics are tracked. These ights “count”.

When MNDOT looks at allocations of resources, they really have data which pretty much doesn’t count the vast majority of general aviation ac- tivities, it seems. We are thank- ful that MNDOT is interested in counting us, too. This account- ing of our activities is not nearly as precise as those documented by our higher ying friends.

MNDOT is asking that we work harder to be counted. They have devised a tool, in the form of a survey, which has allegedly been posted in FBOs across the State. I was surprised to hear that these existed, having not seen one in my journeys across Minnesota, but apparently, they are out there.

We encourage you to seek them out. We will work to gain better access to these survey forms. We encourage you to stop by the FBO and sign the logbook to let them know you were there. You may recall, the Minnesota Pilots Associa- tion developed small stickers you can carry in your wallet, af xing them to your credit card document, letting business owners know that you “Flew In”. If you have run out of these, please contact us. We will mail out more.

We are certainly not entitled to keep our ight privileges and access to good aviation ser- vices. We are going to have to work at this. We need your help.


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