Our Focus on General Aviation Development
In the wake of many surveys, our members have clearly communicated a need for the Association to re-double efforts to appeal to the general aviation community. The National Events Planning Committee has always been focused on our rich history of general aviation, and will continue to make every effort to appeal to this audience in the years to come. Examples of our commitment include:
Queen of the Fleet Static Display & Contest
The NGPA continues the proud tradition of showcasing member aircraft, primarily general aviation, at each of our flagship events. In fact, the NGPA has expanded these events at in both PSP and PVC, and invested more money in higher-quality catering to make the event more enjoyable for all. In PSP, we relocated the event for easier access and to allow for future growth. In addition to just being FUN, the NGPA static display and Queen of the Fleet contest is a perfect way to expose members as well as the general public to our very own general aviation community in the most hands-on way possible.
General Aviation Networking
Beginning in 2015 in Palm Springs, the NGPA has reserved tables at our dinner banquets exclusively for members whose interests are primarily networking with the general aviation community. This experiment has been well received, and we plan to continue it at future events.
Keynote Speaker Series
The National Events Planning Committee has worked in collaboration with the NGPA Board of Directors, the Executive Director, and the Advocacy Committee to make sure our strong commitment to general aviation is reflected in the keynote addresses at our cornerstone events. Some highlights of the last few years include:
• 2012 Cape Cod Classic: Stan Cooper, a general aviation pilot-turned advocate, told the stunning story of how he lost his FAA medical after contracting HIV, a case that eventually landed him in the Supreme Court arguing the disclosure of HIV status to the FAA versus the right to privacy. Mr. Cooper’s work helped pave the way for the foundation upon which current FAA medical/HIV status regulations are based. The presentation also appealed to a very emotional component of the NGPA, affecting every part of our diverse pilot community.
• 2013 Palm Springs Winter Warm-Up: NGPA member and scholarship winner Spencer Conklin presented a keynote based on his graduate degree program related to non-flight activities in the cockpit. The presentation, which was focused on both single-pilot general aviation and multi-pilot commercial applications, touched on non-flight activities that can adversely affect safety of flight such as reading, conversation, listening to music, and personal electronic devices.
• 2013 Cape Cod Classic: NGPA member and advocate Nick Michaels spoke to members about the NGPA’s renewed mentoring program and how we can collectively help other members achieve their dreams of flight. As mentioned above, networking is a critically important mission within the NGPA, and remains focused on connecting general aviation pilots to effective NGPA member-mentors.
• 2014 Palm Springs Winter Warm-Up: Patricia “Patty” Tedesco of The Executive Training & Development Group gave a special presentation titled “Understanding Why Others Misunderstand You.” In this seminar, Ms. Tedesco provided all pilots––from general aviation to commercial–the tools to understand personal behavior as well as the behavior of crewmembers, colleagues, family members, and friends. Many NGPA members appreciated Patty’s presentation as a way to capitalize on their strengths, increase appreciation of different work styles, and improve communication.
• 2014 Cape Cod Classic: Scott Dunham from the National Transportation Safety Board. Mr. Dunham is the NTSB team leader for air traffic control investigations, and began his career in 1979 as a controller at Oakland Center, with special assignments to training and airspace and procedures. In 1997, Mr. Dunham joined the NTSB as an air traffic control investigator where he has worked on numerous major accident investigations and hundreds of general aviation accidents. With a particular interest in weather-related events and search and rescue activities, Scott gave NGPA members a riveting presentation contrasting how air traffic control can impact accidents and incidents and specifically referenced general aviation, corporate and commercial aviation, single-pilot IFR, terrain issues, and pilot-controller communication. This was most certainly a presentation that appealed to every member of the NGPA flying community.
• 2015 Palm Springs Winter Warm-Up: Kathi Durst, one of our members, got her start in general aviation, which quickly progressed to the T-38 at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and onto a commercial career. Along the way she earned a degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and enjoys sharing her love of flight with a broad spectrum of aspiring aviators. Kathi brought a wonderfully diverse appeal to the NGPA including general aviation, military aviation, commercial aviation, and women in aviation.
• 2015 Cape Cod Classic: Jessica Taylor, a transgender pilot based out of Denver, Colo. gave a presentation which was underscored by her diverse resume of flying experience on over 40 different airframes (though the Extra 500 is her favorite). Ms. Taylor is an outspoken advocate for human rights, and has worked directly with the FAA to implement positive regulatory changes for transgender pilots, whether general aviation, corporate, or commercial. She also spoke about the Jessica Taylor Project, her non-profit foundation that helps transgender individuals, corporations, and governments develop and adapt new policy to make success possible. Jessica appealed well to a broad spectrum of NGPA members including general aviation, commercial, aerobatics, transgender issues, and women in aviation.
• 2016 Palm Springs Winter Warm-Up: NGPA kicked off 2016 with a keynote address that truly embodies our commitment to general aviation. Pilot, CFI extraordinaire, and author Rod Machado has taught millions the basics of flying through flight lessons, simulation, and training materials. He started flying at age 16, and is a ATP-rated pilot with all fixed wing Flight Instructor ratings. Since 1973, he has been teaching pilots throughout the U.S. and Europe his unique way of simplifying the complex and making bland topics interesting and educating with humor. Besides a degree in Aviation Science, Rod holds degrees in Psychology, is AOPA’s National Flight Instructor Spokesman, and a FAA-appointed National Accident Prevention Counselor. Because of his vast CFI experience and unique style, he was chosen to write the flight lessons and be the CFI voice on Microsoft’s Flight Simulator. Rod is a columnist for AOPA Pilot and Flight Training magazines and his 10 book titles include Rod Machado’s Instrument Pilots Handbook, a must for those working in the IFR system, and Rod Machado’s How to Fly an Airplane, a must have for CFIs and students.
• 2016 Cape Cod Classic: Lue Morton is an international ferry pilot who has transported more than 14 planes across the Pacific Ocean and more than six across the Atlantic Ocean. On a trip to Australia, Lue encountered disaster halfway over the Pacific Ocean. Recognizing the fuel system of his Cirrus had failed to transfer fuel, he knew he had no more options and declared an emergency, eventually ditching the plane in the open ocean with 30-foot waves and winds over 35 miles per hour. Mr. Morton currently works as a corporate pilot and flight instructor at Boeing Field, and continues to promote aviation within the LGBT community. His keynote will combine a vast knowledge of aviation and travel, coming out, and how it has all helped to collectively shape his past and future.
• 2017 Palm Springs Winter Warm-Up: Mark R. Baker, a longtime general aviation (GA) pilot, and only the fifth president in the 75-year history of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the world's largest civil aviation organization.
A native Minnesotan, Baker earned his pilot certificate in his twenties and has logged more than 7,500 hours of flight time in aircraft ranging from light seaplanes to turbines and helicopters. He holds numerous ratings and certificates, including a commercial pilot certificate, single- and multi-engine seaplane ratings, rotorcraft rating, and type ratings in the Cessna Citation 500 and 525s. Having owned and restored numerous aircraft through the years, his current favorite is a Piper Super Cub, equipped with floats, skis, or wheels depending on the season. An enthusiastic advocate for general aviation, weekends find Baker enjoying the company of his fellow pilots at airports and seaplane bases around the country. Baker believes strongly in making general aviation accessible to more people and has welcomed numerous friends and family members, including his father, son, and two sons-in- law, into the pilot community.
In conjunction with his role as president and CEO of AOPA, Baker is chairman AOPA's Political Action Committee, chief executive officer for the AOPA Foundation, president of the International Council of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Associations representing pilots in 72 countries, and publisher of AOPA Pilot, the world's largest and most influential aviation publication. Baker took the left seat at AOPA on September 6, 2013, following formal appointment by the Board of Trustees at the Annual Meeting of Members in Frederick, Maryland.
• 2017 Palm Springs Winter Warm-Up: AOPA Senior Vice President, Katie Pribyl, hosted a Make Flying Fun seminar at the Palm Springs Airport Signature Flight Support hangar at 2 p.m. PST on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017 where attendees learned about AOPA's You Can Fly program and its work to make aviation more engaging and accessible. The AOPA Reimagined C-152 was also onsite. Katie Pribyl, leads AOPA's Communications division and is responsible for its You Can Fly programs. Under the You Can Fly umbrella, Katie and her team are building programs designed to get lapsed pilots back in the air, provide more affordable access to aviation through flying clubs, support best practices in flight training, and introduce high school students to aviation. Katie earned a degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and flew the Canadair Regional Jet with Atlantic Coast Airlines/Independence Air before serving as the director of communications for the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.
• 2017 Cape Cod Classic: World-renowned ferry pilot Margrit Waltz has over 23,000 hours of flight time and has appropriately earned the title “Queen of the Sky". At the age of 16, Margrit took her first flight in a glider. Under the instruction of Erich Hartmann, the top German fighter pilot in World War II, Margrit earned her pilot's license on her 18th birthday. At the age of 19, she became the youngest flight instructor at the time and also completed her first trans-Atlantic crossing. Ms. Waltz started as a weather girl on German television, but soon realized that flying was her passion. She became a full-time ferry pilot at the age of 26, deciding to stay in the United States with her future husband, David, an American living in Pennsylvania. Not only is Margrit a pilot, she is the mother of two daughters. In the prime of her career, she delivered 45 planes a year. Now, she averages about 25 planes per year. As pilot-in-command, Ms. Waltz has over 820 trans-Atlantic and Pacific crossings in single- and multi-engine aircraft including pistons, turbines, and light jets. On her 50th birthday, she made the decision to no longer fly pistons; only turboprops and light jets. At this point, she's thinking of retiring after 900 crossings. But then again, 1000 is not totally out of the question!
Industry Expo Seminars
As we continue to evolve the extremely successful NGPA Industry Expo component of our Palm Springs event, the NGPA has committed to make sure general aviation is a strong part of the event. This has included:
• 2014 NGPA Industry Expo: ATP, Master CFI, and Long Beach FSDO 2014 Flight Instructor & FAA Safety Rep. of the Year Gary Reeves presented a FAA Wings-accredited seminar on how to use the new ForeFlight Mobile software. The hands-on class was tailored completely for our general aviation members and focused on everything from flight planning to fuel savings, use in emergencies, and other tricks to make IFR safer and easier.
• 2014 NGPA Industry Expo: NGPA member Danny Escola led a forum exploring how the NGPA has been and can continue to be involved with advocacy efforts and outreach within the broader aviation community concerning LGBT issues.
• 2015 NGPA Industry Expo: FAA Safety Inspector Dr. Paul Foster presented “How to Survive a Ramp Check,” an NGPA exclusive FAA-accredited Wings program. Dr. Foster is currently assigned as the FAA Safety Team Program Manager and is a member of the National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees (NBCFAE) where he serves as the Los Angeles Chapter President. In addition, he is an Adjunct Professor with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in aviation safety, management, & aircraft maintenance.
• 2016 NGPA Industry Expo: FAA Aviation Safety Inspector Dr. Paul Foster will present “Beyond the Preflight,” an NGPA exclusive FAA-accredited Wings program designed to assist pilots by enhancing their aircraft preflight knowledge beyond the standard use of preflight checklists. Dr. Foster is the FAA Safety Team Program Manager and a member of the National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees (NBCFAE) where he serves as the the Los Angeles chapter president. He is also an Adjunct Professor with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University teaching courses in aviation safety, management, & aircraft maintenance. An additional seminar will be led by Certified Flight Instructor Peter Lynde, who specializes in building pilot skill and confidence with aerobatic, tailwheel, and upset recovery training. He will present “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Spins (But Were Afraid to Ask)”.
• 2017 NGPA Industry Expo: FAA Aviation Safety Inspector Dr. Paul Foster will present two exclusive FAA-accredited Wings programs for NGPA members:
Compliance Philosophy: The purpose of this presentation is to provide a high level overview of the FAA Compliance Philosophy. We will cover what the compliance philosophy is, why it was adopted, and how the program is administered. We will also cover the Remedial Training Program and how the FAASTeam interacts with airmen or organizations who have accepted remedial training as a mitigating ‘fix’ to a regulatory deviation.
Certification, Registration, and Operation: The purpose of this presentation is to discuss Unmanned Aircraft Systems integration, the who, what, why, where, and how of UAS uses; how the FAA fits into the picture; Part 107 for sUAS (remote pilot certification); and FAA integration efforts through education, compliance, and enforcement.
• 2017 NGPA Industry Expo: (Breakout Session) Homophobia, transphobia, and discrimination in aviation: How can NGPA help? Discrimination against LGBTQ individuals continues to be a problem in many work places. Come discuss the problems you've faced and solutions that might be possible with NGPA members from across the spectrum of career fields. At the same time, work with NGPA leadership to help us understand what we can be doing to better support you and address issues of discrimination.
• 2017 NGPA Industry Expo: (Special Presentation) Dr. David Mirich is a private pilot and psychologist based in Denver, Colo. who specializes in neuropsychological evaluations and provides analysis on behalf of airman for FAA-related issues. As an FAA neuropsychological consultant, Dr. Mirich has performed over 300 evaluations with pilots over the last 10 years. The cases he receives commonly involve impaired pilot cognitive disorders, HIV-related medical issues, head trauma, psychiatric disorders, and alcohol and drug-related disorders which require follow-up analysis for FAA certification. Dr. Mirich will be available throughout the weekend for private consultation.
Focused General Aviation Panels
The NGPA also provides opportunities for additional general aviation education, growth, and outreach through seminars and panels. These have included:
• 2015 Cape Cod Classic: An exclusive forum for members primarily interested in general aviation on Saturday morning. FAA representative David Williams joined NGPA-er Sean O’Donnell to lead a group discussion including preventative maintenance and what is allowed under CFR Part 43 and repercussions of poor maintenance. Additional, Mr. Williams discussed plateaus in training and reaching one that exceeds the private pilot level with regard to skill degradation leading to potential accidents/incidents.
• 2016 Palm Springs Winter Warm-Up: Breakout sessions will be offered at Atlantic Aviation on Saturday featuring: NGPA local groups: How to start and run a great local group; Building networks for corporate pilots; Should the NGPA start airline specific subgroups?; Women and the NGPA: How can we support our female members most effectively?; Weather planning for long cross-countries: How not to use ADS-B weather; Student pilots and CFIs: Meeting the challenges involved in learning to fly.
• 2016 Cape Cod Classic: An exclusive set of forums for members primarily interested in general aviation on Saturday morning hosted at the Provincetown Town Hall. Seminars included NGPA Member Feedback (How do you think the NGPA is doing, where should we be going, and how we can help your flying and your career), NGPA Women (An opportunity to meet other NGPA women to network and discuss the future of the women at NGPA), and NGPA Firsts (Meet other first-time NGPA members and event attendees, talk about flying, and the things we all share in common).
• 2017 NGPA Industry Expo: (Breakout Session) Life on the Step: Flying Floatplanes. Are you one of those pilots who says "those floatplanes sure look like fun! I wonder what it's like?" Come hear NGPA member Kit Warfield of Seattle Seaplanes talk about flying floatplanes, with all of their unique challenges and experiences. Learn about how earning an ASES rating can help you in your land plane flying, too. A native of Montana, Kit Warfield has been flying for nearly twenty years. Kit flies land planes as well as seaplanes, but loves the combo of water and air that seaplane flying provides. She's also the voice of the designated pilot examiner in four versions of Microsoft Flight Simulator.
• 2017 NGPA Industry Expo: (Breakout Session) Business aviation and the corporate flight department are not like the airlines. Differences in company culture, policies, and practices can create unique challenges for LGBT pilots and aviation professionals. Come join your fellow business aviation LGBT peers and company leaders in an engaging community workshop to share useful tools to combat discrimination and develop actions for 2017.
Additional Event Exposure
Beginning with the 2016 Palm Springs Winter Warm-Up, local chapters such as Windy City Flyers and Golden Gate Flyers were given the opportunity to showcase their groups for free as part of the weekend convention. Groups will be given tables in the ballroom foyer all day Saturday, and NGPA members will be encouraged to meet with and explore what the incredible benefit of belonging to and being active in a local chapter. This will be continued at future Palm Springs Winter Warm-Up Events.