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Bouncing Around the Inland Empire

By Eric McCarthy 

The Inland EmpireI shared in an earlier column that when I moved here to Southern California, one of the first things I did was get to work on my Commercial Pilot Certificate. I joined a local flying club with airplanes at the airport I intended to fly out of, Palomar (KCRQ), and connected to an instructor there. I decided to do this for several reasons: 

First and most importantly, to improve my piloting skills; that’s pretty straightforward – as pilots, we should always be learning and striving to improve our skills, and upgrading my license would provide a great opportunity to do so. 

Second, as a newcomer to Southern California, I needed to get familiarized with the area, landmarks, airspace, etc. Flying around the area with a seasoned, local instructor who understood that this was part of my motivation, provided about as good an introduction to the area as possible. As the weeks of training passed, I grew more and more familiar, and comfortable, with the area, just as I had hoped.

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Thinking About the New Year

By Ed Downs

Here it is, Dec. 31, and this writer is wondering what lies ahead for the New Year. Actually, one should be wondering about the wild party to be enjoyed later this evening, but as the years move on, “wild” may be little more that watching re-runs of MythBusters. Yep, I do believe youth has left the building! But as an active CFI guy who works with some 300-plus students each year and conducts Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics (FIRC’s), this old pilot looks ahead to the hot topics that might make 2019 an aviation year that has plenty in store for us aviation types. So, what are the hot topics? What is the FAA asking FIRC instructors to emphasize? What good or bad things might be out there that you may wish to keep in mind?

Let’s start with the FAA. It would be nice to have a full time administrator who, preferably, knows the difference between an aileron and an ATC procedure. Regrettably, the August establishment generically referred to as “The Congress” (Senate and House, both sides of the isle) have apparently decided that their job definition as contained in the U.S. Constitution and their responsibility to the American people has been replaced by power games and empire building whilst their thumbs enjoy a soothing massage offered by their own sphincter muscles.  

Yep, Congress chose not to vote on major executive appointments, leaving many government agencies lacking in leadership at multiple levels. To be sure, the acting administrator does have true aviation/piloting experience, but even he comes from a background of Washington lobby organizations that certainly do not support business or general aviation. Past years have burdened the aviation community with FAA administrators who are political operators or major campaign financial organizers, not individuals who come to the job with a clear vision of the future of aviation in America. Hopefully, we will do better in 2019.

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