What's Up - November 2013

You are Now Cleared for Take Off, or Maybe Not 

By Larry Shapiro

I am now convinced that those of us that spend more than a little time at our local airport, for whatever reason, either as a pilot, a regular visitor or because the snack bar serves great breakfast or sells “must have” T-shirts… We all become very protective, we challenge every change, complain about every pothole and basically have an opinion about everything but seldom have any facts or involvement in all these “things” happening or not happening.  Hence, my herd of self appointed experts on how to run (or ruin) an airfield, here is a really simple recipe for having your cake and having it turn out the way you want it.


The secret ingredient is simply “involvement!”  Do you belong to your home base pilot’s group or association?  Do you volunteer for clean up day at your airport?  How about all those advertised meetings with the local “baby kissers” that want your vote so they hold some kind cockamamie get-together at the local airplane parking place with the hope of something good happening for them – not necessarily for you – but hopefully for you.

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What's Up - October 2013

That’s Thirty …

By Larry Shapiro

This is a writing expression that I end all my columns with and in simple terms means, that’s all/finished … not the case when it comes to In Flight USA … it’s been 30 years since they turned the lights on and started getting our attention.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you how I came to find the privilege of having my column appear every month, a privilege I’ve now enjoyed for more than 13 years.

It wasn’t a life plan, it was almost an accident, and also some good luck, good timing, and as they say in real estate, it was location, location and location.

A few personal words about Ciro

I remember the shock and disbelief I felt when I heard that Ciro was in the hospital for a simple, low-end medical procedure and that for reasons none of us ever really understood, something went wrong. We lost a great publisher, husband and father.  I don’t think any of us have ever really recovered from that and we keep him alive by telling Ciro stories and making fun of some of his silly collectables still cluttering up the office.  I didn’t get to tell Ciro how much I care about him, so now, Ciro!  I really loved you and you were the man I wanted to be.

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What's Up - September 2013

 … R O S H …

By Larry Shapiro

I know some of you might not connect the dots on this one, but I hope you will try.

I was thinking about what to write this month, that, aside from my computer, meant I would have to use my head.  It reminded me about the Hebrew word “Rosh” meaning head. This was the only lead in I could think of to acknowledge the Jewish New Year that will be celebrated during this month of September.  Without giving your Rosh a Rosh-ache, the two words combined together mean The Head of The Year … hence, we have the celebration of the Jewish new year beginning with Rosh Hashanah and culminating with Yom Kippur, the most scared day for those of the Hebraic persuasion and sometimes referred to as our annual confession. 

We ask all to forgive us for any and all transgressions we may have committed against them and we, in turn, forgive you for the same.  I’ll tell my closest friends (and any of my children that I’m actually talking to), that this is a good time to mess up since I will have to forgive them starting at sundown on the 4th of this month.  They’d better hurry since this special only runs through sundown Sept. 14.

I actually feel at times like it’s a spring cleaning of the clutter in my head and a chance to forgive all of you that did some really dumb things, like blowing dirt in my hangar, took too long in the run-up area, talked too much on your radio, and didn’t send me a card or gift from your last exciting trip.

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What's Up - August 2013

A Few Final Words about July

By Larry Shapiro

Larry Shapiro (right) with his Dorado. Pictured with Eric Lundahl - known as Baja Rico, ovner of Paja Pirates Sport Fishing Company. (Roger Marshall)Wow, what a month! It was the 4th of July almost everyday…the “Love Stories” continued like a Disney series about a little car.   In this case the little yellow Throp “Sky Scooter” we shared the story with you about. This has continued to be a celebration of friends and flying and the story only got better.

The culmination of a simple handshake in front of this little yellow beauty was one of the most spectacular trips of my life … a flight down to La Paz Mexico.  Now I don’t want to bore you with the great weather, great food, amazingly friendly and welcoming people and, most important, those darn marlin that kept eating my bait – now I’m getting even and I’m eating them – they are amazing sea creatures and I highly recommend this diet to all of you.  To describe the thrill of a 100-pound marlin flying out of the water and ending up on your boat, well let’s just say this …OMG! Now I’m hooked as well.

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What's Up - July 2013

The Perfect “10”

By Larry Shapiro

The only thing better than a 10 is an 11 when it’s a little young man around four-feet-nothing tall and carrying the usual ton of new pilot stuff over his shoulder. When I asked him whom he was caddying for, the joke went right over his very young head and he informed with great confidence that he was not a caddy, but a student pilot and whipped out his logbook and flashed his more than a dozen logged flight hours.

I immediately fell to my knees and begged forgiveness and quickly congratulated him on being the youngest student pilot I have ever met during this current life of mine. We chatted about the wait to solo and he said it wouldn’t be a problem … he knew he’d be facing that issue and was fully prepared to do so. With that said Mr. Eleven Year Old, (Whose name I forgot to get) congratulations and many happy landings. Keep me posted when you get to the moon.

While We’re On The Subject of 10…

Larry Shapiro with Eric on moving day for the Sky Scooter. (Courtesy Larry Shapio)It was about 10 years ago that I met a little airplane called a Thorp (Sky Scooter). It was very yellow, very neglected, but very cute. It greeted me every morning when I arrived at PAO, and I said good night to it as I departed the field every evening. I didn’t know then the amazing history and story behind it and wouldn’t for another five years.

Fast-forward five years and as I arrived at the field one morning, low and behold there was some tall dude standing next to the Little Sky Scooter and he was undressing it. That led to cranking it up and making it breath again. Being the shy and reserved gent that I am, I gently slid up to the tall suntanned dude playing with the little beauty and started with a few hundred questions.

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