March/April 2002 BASE TO FINAL

Base To Final

by David R. Aldridge, Editor

The Electronic Age has planted itself firmly at our doorsteps, and it is time for pilots to fully embrace its capabilitites as a tool to preserve and promote aviation.

For those members of CPA who do not posses nor have access to a computer, the limitations of printed matter are obvious. We can’t get news out to you in a timely manner, nor can we communicate with you in a timely manner when such needs arise. The meeting of the California Coastal Commission regarding Santa Barbara airport is a good example.

The costs involved with printing and shipping a newsletter have been a point of debate for some time now. The pros and cons come down to this: What’s the most efficient and effective means of serving California’s aviation needs?

Clearly, the answer leans towards rapid communication capability. It’s the proverbial high ground, and CPA is going to be developing a communications infrastructure over the next few months to accelerate the means by which we share and exchange vital information.

Our goal is this: To establish e-mail contact with each president of every pilot association in California. CPA is divided into four regions, so the task will be broken down into four sections accordingly.

A larger goal requires your individual cooperation: CPA wants to build a member e-mail database to be able to provide you with immediate notifiaction of issues requiring immediate response.

CPA never has and never will sell or provide your e-mail to any commercial operation. Notices will be sent out in a format known as BCC, or blind carbon copy. This means we could have a message sent out to three thousand people, but with only your individual address appearing on you individual e-mail, and no one elses. Hence, the “blind.”

For those members not possessing a computer, a visit to the local library can solve that problem. A pilot can learn how to use just about any tool, and a computer is no different. Ask the librarian to help you set up an e-mail account through Yahoo or Hotmail. They will know exactly what you are talking about, even if it sounds a little peculiar at first. This allows you to come in, log onto the Internet, read private mail, and then go have lunch. No muss, no fuss.

Another alternative for older members who may not have been a part of the computer explosion is to ask your grandkids to help you. They know the stuff cold, and kids love showing their elders how technology works.

Whatever it takes, make it happen. There’s way too much at stake, and it’s not going to be headed elsewhere anytime soon. CPA needs to be able to communicate with now more than ever, and we need you to be able to communicate with elected officials in a similar manner.

For example, suppose CPA found out that a vote in Sacramento was coming up that would significantly impact general aviation. How else would we notify you of the need for your phone calls or e-mails to the elected officials?

Anti aviation groups have already established such sophisticated communications infrastructures. Check out www.pirep.org, Anti aviation groups, to see. Then e-mail us at cpa@calpilots.org to help fight back.

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