When I was a young girl, my father would take the family to various airport days and aviation events in California. I grew up with prop tags, airshow hot dogs, and the sounds of warbirds. As an adult, I have loved attending and putting on events at general aviation airports. It is sad for me in 2013 to see the downsizing or cancellation of some of our wonderful airshows and aviation events because of financial concerns from the sequestration budget cuts.
From the cancellation of Indiana’s 2013 Indianapolis Air Show to expected decreases in the amount of military participation at Lake in the Sky Airshow in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., to the postponement of military and small hometown shows, the shockwaves continue. Yet as we remove some shows from our calendars, we can add smaller shows or events instead.
Get involved, support local airshows, fly-ins
If you have a local event that is still scheduled, why not contact the event administrator and offer to volunteer? Volunteers not only provide boots on the ground, but advertising as well. You will be tired after a day or weekend of volunteering, but it will be a “good tired.”
Presently, I am preparing for the Oceano Airport Celebration, May 10 and 11 at California’s Oceano County Airport. This annual event is a salute to those who are serving or have served our country through the military. We collect items for military care packages and make sure they get sent to our front-line troops. From the Friday night Beach Burger Fry and Dance, to the full Saturday airport day, we can attract more than 100 airplanes to our beach-side airport, which in turn helps our community increase tourism, inspires the love of flight, and demonstrates the need for airports in communities.
As AOPA members we can do something! Think about the airport events that you like to attend annually, if they are still going on, and make sure to support them by your attendance. Consider your home airport. What is on the calendar? How can you help?
Perhaps your flying club or group can make a smaller show one of your fly-out destinations for 2013. Use of the AOPA online events calendar to help you find the perfect event.
We all know that the cost of flying is on the increase, so we need to make those dollars count. Yet we also need to support the culture of GA, airport days, and airshows. Please consider making one of your $100 hamburger trips to an airport day or airshow this year.
Jolie Lucas is an AOPA Joseph R. Crotti Award recipient, aircraft owner, and the co-founder of two grassroots aviation groups: Mooney Ambassadors and the Friends of Oceano Airport. She also is vice president of the California Pilots Association.