This threw a bit more of a delay into the system than I expected, but in retrospect, it’s probably expected. It’s not so much the Sling airplane factories issue at this stage as much as it is shipping. Since the kit is fabricated in South Africa it has to get onto a boat. The shipping industry is experiencing a pretty significant bottle neck, mostly with shipping containers. For more information on this, see https://tinyurl.com/yhxkecs4.
In December I thought I caught a break as my order got bumped up due to another future builder having to back out due to unfortunate health issues. So, for now I have entered into what is likely to be one of many delays during the build process.
One of the things that has been noodling around in the back of my brain during this idle time has been some of the supporting organizational structures in aviation to help people build airplanes in addition to aviation in general. In my most video I talk about this as a bit odd or confusing for me that such organizations aren’t discussed at the entry level to aviation.
When I started flying some dozen years ago, I never had any instructor explain in detail how these organizations help to benefit aviation in general. I suppose some of this may have to do with the fact that a good chunk of folks going through pilot training aren’t into it for the recreational aspect, but more on the career track. Overall, organizations such as the AOPA and EAA have always seem to me to be something to be important to be part of their community. At a local level there is even more of a direct impact with groups such as the local EAA Chapters and in Colorado with the Colorado Pilot Association (CPA). Both of these local groups offer a variety of resources to help make general aviation that much more rich.
Almost as soon as I wrapped up my license I joined both the CPA and the local EAA chapter. I haven’t been very active in the local EAA chapter simply because I wasn’t a builder. But I can tell you that when I have reached out for questions, comments or even participating in a local event everyone has been very welcoming. Granted this is overall the nature of the pilot community, but it’s helpful to have a group to return to with familiar faces. It even started out with their post-Oshkosh pizza party debriefings. This was the first event I ever really heard of Oshkosh.
Having shifted into the build mode for my next plane, I’m attending the local chapters events on a regular basis to get to know the community there better. They have been very open to helping and I am looking forward to getting to know others through this group as my build progress evolves.
The CPA is also one of the best groups I could recommend anyone locally to Colorado to be a part of for at least two reasons - but there are many more of course. The first of which is their very popular Mountain Flying program. This one day ground school event just makes one realize how dangerous flying in the Rocky Mountains it can be. I remember after taking it walking out of the program wondering why on earth anyone would FLY much less in the mountains. However, with knowledge comes power, so I left with more knowledge of what I would want to avoid for sure.
The second program for the CPA gives you a reason to fly; their annual Fly-in events. The point of getting a pilots license is to GO places, not just fly locally. At least that would be the only reason I would think someone to become a pilot (other than it’s fun of course). This Fly-in program with the CPA puts together a series of places to visit through other CPA-member hosted events. My wife and I have traveled to places we would never imagine ever stopping with a group of very wonderful people.
The national level programs also have their benefits, but all of them (nationally and locally) have their places to help make aviation be a great activity to be involved with. Certainly they compete with other recreational clubs supporting different areas of interest, but these groups are one area which could help overall with the retention of folks within the aviation community. I wish this were more encouraged on the onset of flying. I think it’s great for the pilots that maintain their connection to their local community through their membership. What do the folks reading this think? Should pilots be more involved with their local and or national organizations to help keep a healthy and vibrant community?