A Pilot's Perspective.

By Barry Meek.

July 2015 

What Readers Say:  TVSAC NEWSLETTER 

Flying has never been boring or uninspiring, but there are times when the ideas and incidents I need to write about it don’t happen before publication deadlines.   So as I read through various ideas jotted down over the past few weeks, I will also browse old articles, those that have been submitted and printed since starting this work in 2005. 

I also have a file containing e-mails and comments from readers.  Strangely, articles further off the topic of flying, generate the most e-mails.  For example, medical and health issues are important matters that I sometimes delve into.  From professional and personal experience, I’ve become acutely aware that they are serious issues for everyone, not just pilots.  And articles about health bring a lot of mail!   Much of it is sad tales of pilots unable to maintain their medicals.  But some people remain positive. One fellow optimistically stated that he now has time to do all the things he couldn’t do when he was flying!  He discussed how life goes on without the airplanes, and how we all have to roll with the punches to stay happy and productive.

Several years ago, personal stress tended to be a big topic.   If I commented on it, the e-mail picked up.  Testimony and advice came from not just the patients and pilots, but from professionals, like M.D.’s, psychiatrists, and educators.   It’s surprising and at the same time humbling to know this stuff is read by so many fine people from various backgrounds.  The advice and knowledge they have shared is priceless, providing excellent learning opportunities for all of us. 

Next on the list of e-mail responses is from nostalgia stories.  When I write about aircraft we owned, where and when we flew them, there’s no shortage of thoughts from readers.  I truly enjoy reading the memories of how lives have been enhanced and changed by owning and flying airplanes.  Similarly, the coffee-hour discussions at our flying club are entertaining, frequently about planes and adventures from the past.  

Back in 2010, I got interested in John Denver’s music.  Interested enough to find out more about how he died and to write about his life and his accident.  His contributions to the world included more than just the great music.   Here is a line from the article:     “On that October afternoon in 1997, the world lost not just another pilot, but a humanitarian, a singer, performer and actor.  His character reflected the conscience of a concerned citizen, of a man working for the improvement in the life of all peoples, socially, environmentally and politically.  He joined the ranks of other singer/musicians, Ricky Nelson, Otis Redding, Patsy Cline, Jim Croce, Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly, to name just a few who lost their lives in aviation accidents”.

 It quickly became obvious to me from all the e-mails, that Denver had a huge following of pilots who were curious about the truth surrounding the crash that killed him.   It was not really difficult to find.  The NTSB and FAA reports are published on the internet.  The publicity and media reports had distorted many of the facts. 

There have been times when I wrote about achievements in aviation.   One such story involved the two fellows in Nevada who in 1958, flew a Cessna 172 continuously for 64 days!   The flight was a publicity stunt for a Las Vegas hotel, and a story which had been long forgotten or never heard of by most folks today.  That generated e-mails, phone calls, and even an invitation to the aviation museum and Las Vegas (McCarran) airport where memorabilia from the flight is on display.   I visited with the curator at the Henderson museum and came away with much more information than I ever expected, including a documentary video about that flight.  Sometime later, subsequent owners of the 172 came forward and provided me with information on its history.  For a while, the airplane was owned by a Canadian pilot, then was purchased by the families of the two pilots in the story.  They took it back to Nevada, and it is now beautifully restored and hangs from the ceiling at McCarran Airport. 

Contributing writers, pilots and photographers on this TVSAC site have always been largely responsible for the memberships’ love affair with the newsletter.    Most members and other readers say they read  it “cover to cover” each month.  Over the years, we have enjoyed articles from people like editor Camille Villeneuve, Jan Nademlejmsky, Willie Trinker, Dennis Seib, Dan Berwin and others, who have all submitted articles, photos and videos, entertaining thoughts and ideas that readers (including me) look forward to seeing each month.  I consider writing here as one way of supporting general aviation.  If readers find the articles informative, entertaining and interesting, that is reason enough for the writers to continue putting them out.   I have met many folks, pilots and non-pilots, people I admire and learn from along the way, all as a direct result of contributing to this TVSAC NEWSLETTER.  As long as that keeps happening, I will keep the articles coming.

If you care to comment on anything you read here,  I read them all, and try to reply to every one.


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