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What's Up: Creature Comforts...

By Larry Shapiro

I remember many years ago when I was in the midst of becoming a fulltime professional pilot, I flew with a friend who always hung a key ring loaded with “junk” on his panel.

I asked him to explain his collection, and he responded with, “They’re my creature comforts. 

Ok, Ok, I’m getting there . there was a nail file, nail clippers, chap stick, etc. and I felt a little confused … of course back then, I didn’t fly often enough to ever think of things like that. Of course today, it’s a different story.

I too carry my Key Ring emporium, and it has lots of these creature comforts and probably more. The funny thing is that it’s always with me, and I always use it.

Yes, I get asked a lot why it’s there. On a long flight, they become gold.

Remember, duplicates, things get lost or broken … and you’ll kick yourself for not doing that. And do I need to mention water gain? In this case, more is better than less and you’ll have fewer bruises on your legs.

Remember, if you put food in your airplane, be sure to take it out … it doesn’t get better sitting in the sun for a week. Choose what you take carefully and always keep survival in the back of your mind.


I travel alone a lot for many reasons. For one, I can stop when I want, climb or descend when I feel like it, and don’t have to answer a lot of “dumb questions.” Most importantly, I can relieve myself without a long speech of how and what I’m doing.

If the issue of possibly having to RON for the night, I don’t have to ask and then have a boring discussion about which hotel will be our home for the night

There are some pluses, but they’re boring and far and few between. You’ll get better at this the more cross-country flights you do and of course the frequency.


We are seriously moving forward on eliminating the “Third Class” Medical, which means a truckload of wonderful new things for us. (I’m trying not to scream with joy).

AOPA says: 

Urge senators to support third class medical reform


Momentum for third class medical reform is gaining on Capitol Hill, but strong opponents such as the Air Line Pilots Association International (ALPA) have stepped up in opposition to the reform. Pilots who support third class medical reform have a unique but narrow window of opportunity when it comes to getting action before Congress leaves town July 31 for the August recess. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2 is still shy of the magic number of 60 co-sponsors needed to bring the legislation to a vote and action from AOPA members could swing the numbers enough to keep the bill on the table. The bill currently has 55 co-sponsors in the Senate.
Additionally, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.) filed an amendment that would add third class medical reform language to the highway bill now being debated in the Senate. For the amendment too, time is of the essence. The current authority for highway funding expires at the end of the month, leaving the Senate just a few days to pass its own legislation and reach agreement with the House.

Contact Your Senators Today!


(No, I don’t have any numbers for you to call, but I know you’ll find one or more; they are probably right in front of you.)

AOPA has compiled a list of senators who have not yet signed on as co-sponsors to the Pilot’s Bill of Rights 2. Urge your senators to become co-sponsors and support third class medical reform. While contacting your senators, also encourage support for the Manchin-Boozman amendment to the highway bill. Your voice matters, urge your senators to become co-sponsors today!

Aside from the money we’re going to save, appointments we won’t need to make, and the fact that we get to make our own decision as to whether or not we can or should be flying, we’ve been dancing to this tune for many, many years.

This week’s news has many, many comments about this and now they’re trying to piggyback it along with some other items to try and fool the non-flyers. Listen folks, I seldom get too excited about this kind of thing, but this one gets me sweating.

The ramifications are immense and a really great step forward for us all. Talk to me. I’ll make a believer out of you. I’ve been pushing this and singing the song for more than five years.

New Stuff, New Rules plus … and of course ….Drones

So, everyday I read about a new airplane, new material, new engines, and look out … new fuels. Guess who’s responsible for knowing about these newbies?

That’s right, YOU!

The fun part is that many of these things have been around for a while but maybe under a different name. One way or the other … we’re all going to be affected by these goodies.

Final Thought

Meds have grounded almost all of us at one time another. It can be really irritating since the research is very old. I went through hell when I was taking a sleep aid. I started asking about options and actually found many but the most popular was, and still is, and I’m still taking it now and then, with the strangest name – St. John’s Wort. The important thing is that it works.

On Final

Wow! It’s August again. More birthdays, (my wife’s) more new laws, and either no water or too much … The WX has been a hoot and certainly not boring.

It is boring having to listen to everyone telling me about his or her recent vacation to some place I wanted to go.

On the down side, (mostly because of my age) I’m attending more Memorial Services than I care to attend. Lord, stop taking my friends away from me! I will admit that 80 and 90 are becoming more common and familiar numbers. The problem is that you’re taking away some of my personal heroes.

That’s Thirty! 


About the writer: Larry Shapiro is still anaircraft broker, aviation humorist and fulltime grandfather of three (I want more) He’d love to have you share your thoughts and ideas for future articles. Palo Alto Airport Office: 650-424-1801 or


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