By Pat Brown
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Aviation is a fun industry and it’s a great way to make a living. But, it’s not without its challenges! Economic conditions and a myriad of other factors can keep recreational and weekend pilots away from the airport. If you are an airport manager, you know this only too well because it means reduced activity at your airport.
As you are also, no doubt, aware, the pilot population in the United States is in decline and has been for a long time. Over the past few years, AOPA has created a number of programs to reverse that trend. One of them is You Can Fly! That’s where the Texas Ambassador comes in…and I have the pleasure of being the “face” of this effort here in the Lone Star State. So, what can I do to help you bring more activity to your airport? Here are a few suggestions.
Flying clubs make flying more affordable. Period. Flying clubs are not difficult to set up but there are decisions to make and details to handle. Flying clubs provide a social atmosphere that fosters more flying and gets even non-flying family members involved. In addition, students who learn through a club setting are far more likely to complete flight training. AOPA has tremendous resources designed to help start, or grow a flying club, and I am here to help the process. An active flying club will bring additional activity to your airport both in terms of operations and in fuel sales! I have a fun presentation called Maximum Fun/Minimum Cost designed to answer many of the questions that potential club organizers have. If you want me to bring that presentation to your airport, just let me know!
Check out this link: https://www.aopa.org/community/flying-clubs
There are thousands of certificated pilots out there who, for one reason or another, haven’t flown for years! That’s what the Rusty Pilot program is for. Our FREE three-hour seminar will bring them up to date on what’s changed since they last flew, provide a review of all the stuff they used to know and, at the end, they will receive a logbook endorsement satisfying ground school portion of the flight review requirement. This is an excellent way to introduce potential new customers to your airport. If you want to host a Rusty Pilot Seminar at your airport, just let me know. And, let me repeat…it’s FREE.
For more details, check out this link: http://www.aopa.org/training-and-safety/lapsed-pilots/rusty-pilots
Just as with any other business, flight schools face challenges every day. If there is a flight school on your field and it’s having some issues—or just wants opportunities to grow its customer base. Call me and let’s talk about the resources and tools we can offer. As an example, we can bring a Rusty Pilot Seminar to the school. Those attendees are potential new customers!! We can also get the school engaged in our Flight Training Excellence Awards, connect them with other successful schools, and help them with ideas for promoting their school.
Why not start by checking out our research on the flight training experience: https://www.aopa.org/training-and-safety/flight-schools/flight-training-initiative
So, there you have it. As your AOPA Ambassador, I am here to help grow aviation in the State of Texas. Please feel free to contact me directly at [email protected]g. Let’s get flying!
ABOUT PAT BROWN
Pat has been flying since age 16. As an active Gold Seal CFII-MEI-Glider-CSIP flight instructor, he has over 5000 hours of instruction given. He is an approved Check Pilot for the Piper PA46 (Matrix/Malibu) platform as well as a factory-trained Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot. Pat is the former Chief Tow Pilot for the Greater Houston Soaring Association with over 2400 tows under his belt. He contributed a sidebar on radio communications to Rod Machado’s Sport Pilot Handbook, and participated in re-writing/updating the National Association Of Flight Instructors’ CFI Guide To Light Sport and Light Sport Aircraft. He is the co-developer of AOPA’s Rusty Pilot seminar, travels the country speaking to pilot groups as a Safety Seminar Presenter for the Air Safety Institute, and conducts Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics nationwide. In 2013, Pat was named by the FAA as both the Houston FSDO and Southwest Region Flight Instructor of the Year.