There’s a term I’ve learned this week when it comes to flying: general aviation or GA. This term refers to the civil aviation operations other than scheduled air services and non-scheduled air transport operations for hire. General aviation flights range from gliders and powered parachutes to corporate business jet flights.
In other words, it refers to those flights that are not the typical airline flights that transport people and goods all over the world.
GA would include those enthusiasts who participate in fly-ins, as well as folks who taxi themselves or others around using this mode of transportation that is much quicker and safer than the automobile.
Folks who utilize one of the over 5,000 public use airports, airports like the Russellville Regional Airport.
Unfortunately, due to the expense of licensing fees, fuel, airplane rental and flight lessons, as well as increased federal regulations and lack of flight instructors, the number of people making the decision to get involved in this hobby and/or livelihood has decreased. Some fear that this part of the aviation industry may be well on the path to extinction.
In order to avoid that calamity, changes must be made. First of all, the current pilot population must be willing to embrace new technology, thus working in and speaking the language of young adults who may be interested in flight.
They should also be available to share their experience and wisdom in handling the legal ins and outs of the industry.
Additionally, information about the true costs of flying should be better disseminated. In fact, when compared with other hobbies, such as golf, fishing, or motorcycle touring, the expense is actually similar.
That being said, it would behoove officials to come up with alternatives that would help cut costs, alternatives such as purchasing shares in an aircraft and splitting flight time between several pilots.
If these measures were taken, perhaps a new generation could be counted on in the GA community!