Climbing out into the new year always brings opportunities to make resolutions for personal growth. Here at EAA, we root our goals for the year in growing and sharing our passion for flight, and we encourage you to do the same! Whether you are just beginning your aviation journey or have spent a lifetime with your head in the clouds, there is always a way to grow your participation in the world of flight. Below, five EAA staffers share how resolving to do one or more of the following can take your aviation journey to the next level. No matter what, any of these resolutions will help you become a more well-rounded ambassador of flight and spread The Spirit of Aviation.
Earn your pilot certificate or a new rating
If you’ve always wanted to earn your certificate or have been itching to get a new rating but have yet to take the leap, make 2018 your year. The ability to fly gives an immense feeling of personal reward, and it is also an accomplishment that you can share with others. “Since I’ve earned my pilot certificate one of the most rewarding things has just been to be able to introduce other people to flying,” said Serena Kamps, EAA’s chapter administrator. “Doing things like Young Eagles and Eagle flights has been especially rewarding for me. I love to see the effect it has on people, especially those who haven’t been flying before.”
Introduce a young person you know to aviation
One of the best ways to spread The Spirit of Aviation and keep the future of recreational flying alive is by introducing the next generation to aviation. Flying youth as a Young Eagles pilot, or simply taking a young person to a Young Eagles rally, is one of the easiest ways to do this. Another great way to ignite that aviation spark is by taking them to an aviation museum and sharing some of the cool aircraft and accomplishments made in the world of flight within just the past century. “Personally, that’s how my career started,” said EAA Aviation Museum Programs Coordinator Chris Henry. “I was taken to the Air Heritage Museum in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, and saw the work going on on the airplanes there. There was a B-17 being restored, and I knew right away as a kid that I wanted to be a part of this community and the volunteers there. I knew that I wanted to be involved in aviation. I think the power of going to a local aviation museum, the camaraderie that gets built around there — most air museums are located adjacent to, if not on, an airport, and you’re now in the environment of aviation.”
Take a basic aerobatics lesson or upset recovery training
Whether aerobatics sounds like fun to you, or the idea of upset recovery training makes your stomach churn, this resolution will help make you a safer pilot. It’s great to have these skills in your back pocket rather than learning them for the first time when you find yourself in an unusual attitude. “You don’t have to be an air show or competition aerobatic pilot to benefit from aerobatic training,” said EAA Flight Training Manager Joe Norris, who is a commercial pilot and CFI in both airplanes and helicopters with numerous ratings, an A&P mechanic with inspection authorization, and an experimental amateur-built and light-sport designated airworthiness representative. “Aerobatic and/or upset training will help you more fully understand the capability and controllability of your airplane, which could come in handy if you ever have an encounter with wake turbulence, wind shear, or anything that might place you in an unusual attitude or even upside down. Knowing what to do, and more importantly, what not to do in these situations could be a lifesaver. And besides, it’s just a lot of fun!”
Learn (or learn more) about homebuilding
EAA was founded on the homebuilding movement, and today the experimental amateur-built category of aircraft continues to see steady growth. Not only is it an affordable way to fly, but completing and flying a homebuilt is a great personal achievement. Matt Smith, EAA’s IT database architect, who participated in EAA’s Zenith CH 750 staff build, summed up the reward of homebuilding perfectly. “Participating in a build was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had,” he said. “Flying in and of itself is a thrill but it’s even richer when you know you have played a part in that aircraft coming into being.” Get started with one of EAA’s traveling SportAir Workshops.
Volunteer your aircraft and time
If you want to use 2018 to make a difference, no matter how big or small, consider volunteering your time and/or airplane through an organization such as Angel Flight or Pilots N Paws. If you don’t own your own airplane, consider renting. Last year EAA Senior Editor Hal Bryan checked out one of the employee flying club aircraft to fly the final leg of a Pilots N Paws flight from Kentucky to Wisconsin. “There’s something powerful about flying both for fun and with a purpose,” he said. “Knowing that a fun, full day of flying saved a dog from being put down in some far off shelter had powerful, emotional impact that I wasn’t prepared for. It’s some of the most rewarding flying I’ve ever done.” If you love aviation but aren’t a pilot or would rather serve on the ground, consider volunteering at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. No matter what, you’ll have the incredible experience of giving back to your community and doing good in the world through your passion for aviation.