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Fri, Nov 03, 2006

ANN's Daily Aero-Tips (11.03.06): Positive Effect

Aero-Tips!

A good pilot is always learning -- how many times have you heard this old standard throughout your flying career? There is no truer statement in all of flying (well, with the possible exception of "there are no old, bold pilots.")

Aero-News has called upon the expertise of Thomas P. Turner, master CFI and all-around-good-guy, to bring our readers -- and us -- daily tips to improve our skills as aviators. Some of them, you may have heard before... but for each of us, there will also be something we might never have considered before, or something that didn't "stick" the way it should have the first time we memorized it for the practical test.

Look for our daily Aero-Tips segments, coming each day to you through the Aero-News Network.

Aero-Tips 11.03.06

Several years ago I was living in western Colorado and had the chance to stop overnight in Colorado Springs. I looked up a good Air Force friend who lived there; I'd not seen Scott in a decade, and had never met his wife Bridgett or their son Jake. In good transient-pilot fashion I got myself invited over for an impromptu barbeque.

Over the dinner table I explained how I began instructing after hanging up the Blue Suit, and was (at the time) a production test and checkout pilot for a small engine modification firm. Almost in passing Bridgett commented she'd always wanted to learn to fly a helicopter. There wasn't any helicopter instruction available in the area, and I told her the costs would be far less to learn to fly a fixed-wing airplane and then make the transition to rotary wing if that's still what she wanted to do. I opened their phone book and found an ad for an FBO that offered a Discovery Flight (then, usually $25 for a half-hour orientation hop), and suggested she call them the next morning. The conversation turned to other things.

Very soon afterward I moved away, and was not in touch with my friends for a couple of years. Next time I spoke to them I was in for a big surprise. Bridgett had taken that discovery flight, and gone back for much more. She earned her Commercial pilot certificate and was aiming for a professional flying career. She had become very active in her local chapter of the 99s, the women pilots association that counted Amelia Earhart as one of its founders.  Bridgett later went to a professional flying program in Arizona to complete advanced ratings, has flown professionally as a local traffic reporter, and won a scholarship from the 99s to complete her flight instructor certificate. Now she's one of the most enthusiastic pilots I know, always encouraging others to take their own Discovery Flight.

Scott won't admit it, but he probably curses me for what his wife started after my suggestion to call the airport. But he and Jake like being chauffeured on vacation flights by his professional-pilot wife!

Aero-tip of the day: If you detect anyone's slightest interest in flying, point them toward the airport. You never know how many people you'll positively affect as a result.

FMI: Aero-Tips

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