When viewed from a comfortably detached perspective, the ironies of life can be entertaining. Let’s face it, we all get a lot of good stories from the oddities that happen all around us. Then again, those same ironies can be an infuriating series of experiences if seen from a viewpoint that includes personal involvement.
While watching an episode of Top Gear recently (the English version on BBC America with Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond) I noticed that a familiar American celebrity popped up on screen. Tom Cruise was given the cheery task of being their Star in a Reasonably Priced Car feature for the episode. He did this job in tandem with Cameron Diaz, his co-star in whatever movie they were plugging at the time. But that’s beside the point.
What caught my attention was that Clarkson, a gear-head of massive proportions (and I say that with the greatest respect) was very interested in Tom’s P-51 Mustang. [Read more...]
As regular readers of this column may have noted, I often write about airports and administrative issues that effect the municipally owned airports of Polk County, Florida. Because most of the issues that one airport faces will eventually become an issue for others, there is a certain universality to the topics covered here, even if the focus does appear on the surface to be narrow, including only the four municipally owned airports in this county.
That’s the magician’s trick of it all. There aren’t four airports in my county. The four airports I’ve mentioned here, in relation to the Polk Aviation Alliance for instance, are just the tip of the iceberg. They are the big dogs in a kennel filled with dozens of yapping pooches. You see, although there may be only four municipally owned airports in my county, it is entirely reasonable to say that there are as many as 40 aviation bases of operation.
The saying goes, “You can’t win if you don’t play.” That’s true for the most part. But of course the corollary to that expression is, “If you play you will lose — at least sometimes.” That’s the reality of the situation. Get used to it.
I get no joy out of admitting this, and I certainly mean no disrespect by discussing it publicly, but almost every week I get at least one email that makes no sense to me at all. I feel bad about that, because the person who sent the message almost certainly had something specific in mind. It seems likely they intended to convey an idea that was of importance to them. But they only got half the job done. They sent the email, they just forgot to read it to make sure it actually said what they intended it to before hitting the send button.
Of course poor communication isn’t limited to badly written emails. [Read more...]
Last June I wrote a piece about an airline that had begun service into Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (LAL) here in central Florida. The column ran in this space. It was ebullient, hopeful, and waved a big flashy flag for the potential that comes from having regularly scheduled air service into a mid-sized and growing city. Everything I said there is still true, too. Well, almost everything. The airline unexpectedly suspended operations this week, leaving untold numbers of passengers stranded in far off locations. Other than that…
Here’s a good quiz question for you: What do Stuart Jet Center, in Stuart, Florida, Region Air in Sparta, Tennessee, and Missouri Aviation Center in Warrensburg, Missouri, have in common? They’re all running specials with discounts on fuel for pilots traveling to Sun ‘n Fun. That’s right, the reach of Sun ‘n Fun extends well outside the borders of Florida. Said another way, general aviation has a positive economic impact on North America that is absolutely undeniable. Better yet, it’s quantifiable — and that matters to all of us.
Last Friday evening, while standing at the front of a packed ballroom, with microphone in hand, Mayor Gow Fields announced, “Aviation has reached a new high in Lakeland.”
When’s the last time you heard a mayor say something positive and hopeful about aviation? Wait! Before you reach too far back in your memory banks to come up with an example, there’s more.