Stop apologizing for GA

Harrison Ford appeared before the Senate General Aviation Caucus Oct. 18 to discuss GA. From the AOPA.org story on the session, “Caucus co-chairs Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) kicked off the session explaining that GA isn’t a luxury and, in some cases, is often a necessity. The lack of understanding of the role GA plays in the United States has placed it in jeopardy, they said.”

GA isn’t a luxury? Really? Of course it is AND there’s nothing wrong with that. We’ve got to stop apologizing for GA! I don’t hear boaters, skiers, gun-owners, motorcyclists, bicyclists, car owners/drivers, soccer players, NBA franchise owners, computer users, etc., etc., etc., apologizing, so why should we?

However, I do agree that most people fail to understand what GA is… and isn’t. And that’s where the crux of the challenges exist.

Any product/service that fills a desire above the physiological needs of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a luxury. Again, there’s nothing wrong with that… so stop apologizing.

A couple of weekends ago, I flew back to Grand Forks, N.D., to attend homecoming at the University of North Dakota (my alma mater). I boarded a Delta Airlines flight at oh-dark-thirty from Seattle after enduring a comically painful security screening. I could have also traveled back to Grand Forks via car, bus, train, or GA (or, if I had enough time, horse, bicycle or just flat-out walk). Among these methods, a GA flight sounds downright luxurious.

To be honest, the trip to Grand Forks was a luxury (go ahead, insert North Dakota joke here). I didn’t have to go… I wanted to go. So however I got there was transportation, nothing more. Some methods just happen to be more luxurious than others.

I can no more justify personally owning a plane than I can justify personally owning a ski boat, a shotgun, more clothes than I can wear in a week, or any other of hundreds of other types of property. If my neighbor wants to own a 1963 Chevy Impala street rod, which isn’t his daily driver by the way, who am I to say he can’t or shouldn’t?

So stop apologizing! I’m not sorry I’m a pilot. Are you?

Ben Sclair is publisher of General Aviation News.

CalPilots Editors Note – Ben Sclair and GAN are and have always been supporters of GA and GAN deserves our support.

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