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
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.